A GOOD MAN GONE

Stephen Edward Attis has passed on. Known to all as Steve. A good man. None better.

I got to know Steve here in Key west. We had somewhat of a similar background. Both born in 1935. We used to joke that I was older than him. By 2 1/2 months.

Manhattan College frequently came into our conversations. I graduated from Manhattan College. Steve attended Manhattan for a time. He used to tell me he attended several colleges before finally graduating.

Steve born and raised in the Bronx. Manhattan College is located in the Bronx. I also lived for a time at 682 E. 141 St. in the Bronx. We talked how things were then and now in the Bronx.

A bocce player. As the years added on and he had some difficulty with his legs, Larry Smith used to help him stepping on and off the court, picking up the ball for him. In spite of his problems, he shot well.

Steve’s wife, Midge. The two married 61 years. The best of wives. Always with him, always watching out for him.

Steve and Midge regulars at Don’s Place. Loved by everyone.

A New Orleans style funeral procession planned. What else for Steve? Saturday at 12:15. Begins at the Dean Lopez Funeral Home. Onward to St. Mary Star of the Sea for his funeral service.

Never been in a New Orleans type funeral procession. I will saturday.

Spent yesterday afternoon perfecting material for last night’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

As much as I disliked it, Trump took up the whole half hour. We talk about nothing else anymore.

The show went well. I am anti-Trump so it was easy.

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is Neil Gorsuch. Appears extremely intelligent. Extremely conservative, also. I do not approve of him.

Not important what I think. His problem is getting Senate approval. The Dems are lining up against him. Properly so.

Stephen Bannon has become the ring leader in the White House. Trump relies on him. A bad move.

Bannon is a Rasputin. He will not fuck Trump as Rasputin did the Czarina. However, he will screw  the United States. Bannon seeks the destruction of government as we know it.

I have never played dominoes. I have never seen anyone playing dominoes in Key West. Nevertheless, there is a Domino Tournament this saturday at the Southernmost Hotel. The first of many to follow. Sponsored by the Sunset Key West Rotary. Named after and honors the well liked Maury Madruga who recently died.

Remember ZIKA. Hit Florida about this time last year. We were told to beware. ZIKA coming in epidemic proportions.

Where is it today?

Instant fear as with Ebola. Everyone gets excited and jumps to do something immediately. Haste rarely required.

A Sons and Daughters of Italy fundraiser 5-8 friday at Bottle Cap. Italian food, deserts, music, silent auction, etc.

Called Buonasera Venezia. Translated, Good Evening Venice.

Our home grown terrorist Harlem Suarez was convicted on terrorism charges yesterday in Federal Court. Took the jury one hour to convict. Suarez planned on burying a nail filled back pack bomb on Smathers Beach and then detonating it with a cell phone.

He is yet to be sentenced. I suspect a significant sentence. Suarez is going to be an old man when he gets out of jail.

A quote in the World Almanac section of this morning’s Key West Citizen worthy of note. Langston Hughes in Dreams wrote: “Hold fast to dreams / For if dreams die / Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly.”

I enjoy doing Go Live with Key West Lou on Facebook. Every day, several times a day. For a few minutes. I can be seen as well as heard. If you have not, take a look. You might enjoy. Go to Facebook and enter Key West Lou. Voila! Me!

A big evening ahead. Dinner with Liz.

Enjoy your day!

SYRACUSE BEATS #6 FLORIDA STATE

So many matters of importance occurred in the last 24 hours. Trump, immigration/refugee ban, draining the swamp, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc.

For me, the most important was Syracuse defeating Florida State 82-72. Florida State ranked #6, Syracuse unranked. A big victory. Students rushed the floor in excitement.

I was alone watching the game from the comfort of my easy chair. I shouted out a GREAT! at the end of the game. No one heard me. I was like the tree falling in the forest. No one hears it.

Worked on rewriting one chapter in Growing Up Italian. Sunday Dinner. A great family time!

The Sons and Daughters of Italy had a fund raiser yesterday. A bocce fundraiser. Excellent attendance. Many who had never played bocce. I served as teacher to two novice sisters from Little Torch Key.

Who would have thought bocce could serve as a fundraiser? Giorgio did. He is to be complimented.

Cold continues. Sixty three during the evening. The high today only 67. Rain big time off and on. Winds 20-30 mph. White caps visible in the ocean. A gray day expected.

Two Civil War events on tap this week. Described as Living History events.

One in the Palm Garden of the Key West Library. Thursday from 11-3. All kinds of information and artifacts re the Civil War.

The other at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Friday and Saturday. Part of Civil War Heritage Days. A mid 1860s encampment.

Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven was published this day in 1845.

Remember Goodnight Irene, If I Had a Hammer, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, and Blowin’ In the Wind?

Peter, Paul and Mary. Hits they sang.

Peter, Paul and Mary did not write the music they sang. They did make the tunes winners, however. Even Bob Dylan benefited. It is said the vocal group made Dylan’s revolution possible. Blowin’ In the Wind was one of them.

Andrew Jackson was our Nation’s first populist President. Trump is a populist President. Trump and many of his followers compare Trump to Jackson.

In 1834, there was a labor dispute. Workers on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. The workers were rebelling because of persistent poor working conditions and low pay. The workers consisted of Irish, German, Dutch and blacks.

Jackson sent in federal troops to quell the disturbance. It was the first time a President had ever done so.

Trump has not sent federal troops anywhere. Not yet. He could in the future. Recall this past week his observations re Chicago, carnage, murders, etc. He suggested the Federal government might have to go in if things did not get better. The National Guard?

Trump’s handling of the immigration/refugee situation yesterday reflects a Jackson type mentality. Overbearing, overwhelming.

A further comment re the immigration/refugee order. Seven countries were named. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Not one terrorist from the seven named nations has ever performed a terrorist act in the United States.

Whereas, Saudi Arabia has. Seventeen or eighteen of the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also gave us $4 a gallon gasoline.

Saudi Arabia not listed in the order. Oil, money the reasons? Whatever, the Saudi’s have had their heads up our asses for years. One arm around our shoulders, the other in our back pocket.

One more Trump issue.

He claimed during the campaign that he was going to drain the swamp. Get rid of lobbyists who come directly from government and end up working for lobbying groups that require government favors. A five year ban.

Trump’s order refers to administration officials. I do not know what administration officials refers to. Merely his immediate White House staff? Does it extend to Congress and the military?

I did a little digging. Could not come up with the answer.

Congressmen eat big when they move from the hallowed walls of government to working for lobbying groups. Recall Eric Cantor who was defeated in a Republican primary four years ago. He immediately was hired by a lobbying group. Starting salary $3.4 million a year. He did not even finish his term. He resigned his seat soon after the election and went to work in the private sector.

Our generals and admirals likewise benefit. Eisenhower warned us to beware of the military-industrial complex. They hire the retired military at huge dollars who then go back to their still in the service friends and work out contracts generous to the military manufacturer/producer.

Yes, the honeymoon is over. I gave Trump a week before criticizing him. I wanted to wait longer. He is our president. Give him a chance.

I figured three to six months. No way where Trump is concerned. He is a dynamo. He has already done more in his first week than any other President. More does not necessarily mean good, however.

He is not qualified for the position. He is a trouble maker.

I worry.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIEND PACKED CHART ROOM

The Chart Room last night was mostly friends. Some old, some recent, some new.

I walked into John, Sheila, Jean and Joe, Tom and Clare, Nanette and Jean Louis. Later, David, Anna and Everett, and Paul.

Sheila, the love of my life. Always happy. Joe and Jean smiling and chatting. Waiting for the Alabama game saturday. Jean will jump off a building should Alabama lose.

Tom and Clare from Aqua a couple of weeks ago. Tom a retired lawyer. Wife Clare, a former teacher and now PhD statistician. Tom and Clare were with friends from Florida’s New Port Richey. Nanette and Jean-Louis.

Nanette a retired middle school principal. Jean-Louis an energy consultant.

Nanette brought to mind a Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy musical film from the 1930s. No, No, Nanette.

Chatted a bit with everyone. I was waiting for Paul. I met Paul at Giorgio’s home the night some of us watched the Michigan game last week. Paul is retired Naval Intelligence. A good time to talk with Paul in view of the intelligence political items on the front burner in Washington. I was not disappointed in our talk. Enlightening.

Saw David at the end of the bar as I was paying the bill. Seated next to him were Anna and Everett from monday night at Aqua. Their boat named Anna Cabana. Nice people.

David, Anna and David Alabama fans also.

Headed home. Stopped at Roostica on the way for lemoncello wings. Lucked out. Sat next to a bocce opponent. His name escapes me. A tough adversary. He loved to roll first. Long. Ninety nine percent of the time, his ball was right on the polina or mere inches away.

Things that surprise me. The number of people familiar with smelts. I wrote about smelts yesterday. My favorite Christmas fish. Many responded. Many aware of smelts. I received an education re where they are available to be harvested. One spot is western New York State. I did not know.

One of yesterday’s items that I did not have room to get to involved Richard Nixon. On January 4, 1974, Nixon refused to hand over tapes subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee. It was the beginning of the end for Nixon. He resigned eight months later.

Another item held over to today involves the Marathon Turtle Hospital. A unique rare facility.

Fifteen juvenile turtles were air lifted from Cape Cod to Marathon. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. An endangered species.

The baby turtles had pneumonia. Brought on from cold Cape Cod waters. Weighed anywhere from 2-10 pounds.

Today in Keys History carries a photograph of the ground breaking for a Masonic Temple in July 1950. The building today The Studios of Key West.

A three story building. Where did the Masons go? Is there a formal Masonic Temple in Key West somewhere else? I don’t think so. Surprising.

William Hackley day. On this date in 1856, he was up and raring to go at 7 in the morning. Rain coming in  from the northwest. Hackley wrote, “It is so dark now in the office that I can scarcely see to write.”

No electricity in those days. Everything by candle light, if possible.

Candle light tough to work by. I recall one of the Key West hurricanes where I was stuck in the house for several days without electricity. Candles only. To this day, I cannot understand how Lincoln studied law by candle light. Reading tough!

Skaneateles restaurateur Dan Reardon back in town. A snowbird. Two to three months a year. A die hard Syracuse fan. We will be watching some games together.

Syracuse played Miami last night. Syracuse won 70-55. Game not televised.

I am pleased Syracuse won the game and in good stead. Miami came into the game 11-2, Syracuse 8-6. News reports state Syracuse’s fabled defense finally worked, the players crashed the boards and their offense was effective.

Pitt saturday at noon.

Roger Kostmayer is a Key West resident. I have never met him. However from his letters to the editor have come to know him. I would describe him a walking conscience.

In a recent letter to KONK E-Blast, he wrote: “Without warning or debate, in the dark of the night behind closed doors, the Republican caucus effectively killed the Office of Congressional Ethics, an act of extraordinary hypocrisy.”

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GATO HOUSE GHOSTS

Key West is home to many ghosts. Key Westers take the ghostly viewings amusingly but seriously.

One of the ghost stories involves the Gato House aka Casa Gato. Located at 1209 Virginia Street. People residing there.

What follows is my installment 12 derived based on a Key West Rotary history.

The Gato House ghost story begins for our purposes with the Key West Rotary luncheon June 2, 1932. The Rotary and Ladies of St. Paul’s Church were involved with the luncheon. The proceeds were donated to the Mercedes Hospital. The Mercedes hospital today the Gato House located at 1209 Virginia Street.

The Gato House was built by one of Key West’s early leading citizens. Eduardo H. Gato. A Cuban immigrant who made his fortune in the cigar business.

He built his Key West home at an end of the island facing the ocean. He purchased the lot in 1887.  Construction was completed in 1890. He brought carpenters from Cuba to build the house.

In 1911, Gato permitted a philanthropic group of Cuban residents to use the building as a hospital for indigents. Gato and his family no longer resided in the house.

Gato had one request. He wanted the hospital named in honor of his wife Mercedes. So done. The hospital was named Casa de la Pobre Mercedes Hospital. Referred to as Mercedes Hospital.

In 1919, Gato sold the property to the City of Key West. He retained title to the building itself. The property sold to the City later became Bayview Park.

The building was still being operated as the Mercedes Hospital. It was moved to its present location at 1209 Virginia Street. Same name, different address.

The Mercedes Hospital was run most of its years by Maria Valdez de Gustens. Addressed as Mother Gustens. Described by all as an angel and saint.

The Mercedes Hospital continued till some time around the beginning of World War II when it closed.

The former Mercedes Hospital  in due course became an apartment house. Commonly referred to as the Gato House. In the interim between being the Mercedes Hospital and an apartment house, the building was empty, windows broken. The rear of building became a popular place for cockfights to be held.

Since becoming an apartment house, it has acquired an additional description. A ghost house.

Jan Stefano was residing in one of the apartments. Night time. She was in bed sleeping with her boy friend. She felt someone touching her wrist. She woke immediately.

She observed a short stout woman at her bedside. Her hair in a bun. Wearing a gray dress with long sleeves and a high collar. Standing next to the woman was a man. The woman appeared to be in charge. Stefano thought the woman was taking her pulse. When she turned to wake her boyfriend, the ghosts disappeared.

Whether the ghosts have been sighted since, I have not been able to ascertain.

Most Conchs and long time Key Westers believe the event occurred and that Mother Gustens walks the house looking after its occupants.

My yesterday…..

Lazy. Some research and writing. Sloan back from Europe. We worked together in the afternoon.

The evening spent at Berlin’s with Liz. An enjoyable and interesting companion.

Bria her usual beautiful self.

I am still dieting. It will be one week tomorrow morning. No cheating yet. Ordered a 2 pound Maine lobster boiled. No vegetables. Only the lobster.

No drinking, either. It was water for me.

I had checked a calorie counter before going out for dinner. A 2 pound lobster has negligible calories.

One problem. I was hungry after consuming the lobster. Most of the 2 pounds is in the shell.

Berlin’s packed. Really packed. Waiting for tables inside A&B Lobster House. Monied people. Otherwise, they would not be able to afford the boats they race and the crews required to maintain them.

Today is the last day of the Powerboatboat races. If you have not seen, go! An experience!

This morning’s Key West Citizen listed voting figures. One impressed me. Monroe County consists  primarily of the Keys. 79.9 percent of registered voters cast ballots. A big number! Upstate New York my home for 70 years. Never anything near that percentage voted.

Syracuse beat yesterday by North Carolina State. 35-20. Not an excuse. Our star quarterback Eric Dungey could not play because of injuries. I suspect Syracuse would have won if he had.

The balance of the season does not look good. Even if Dungey is able to play. Our last two opponents are Florida State and Pittsburgh.

Next Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Several Key West transgenders died this past year. Some suicides. The reason the day is one of remembrance.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS

Today brings to mind three recollections. One well known. The other two personal.

The first not so long ago. On this date in 2008, Barack Obama was elected America’s first African-American President.

A history making date.

The second involves refugees and the Hungarian Revolution. The Revolution occurred in 1956. Hungary was Russian dominated. People unhappy. Protesting in the streets. Nothing violent.

After ten days, things heated up. Rocks and beer bottles being thrown at Russian soldiers and tanks. Days 11 and 12, the beer bottles turned into bullets.

On this date in 1956, the Russians said no more. They sent in the tanks. Blazing away. The so called Revolution was over. Two thousand five hundred killed, 2oo,ooo Hungarians fleeing the country.

Those who fled were refugees. A problem the world knows today.

Where to go?

Some ended up in the United States. How many I do not know. Many were college students. The students were taken in by various American colleges. Every college did its fair share.

I was a senior at Manhattan college. All of a sudden in the middle of a semester, we had a dozen Hungarian students in our midst.

One became a friend. Gergo. He spoke excellent English. We talked evenings after diner. Generally at a bench on campus.

Gergo told the story of the Revolution in simplistic terms. He said no one wanted a revolution. Especially the college students. He said that after drinking beer in the evenings, they would throw rocks and beer bottles at the Russian soldiers and tanks. For fun.

After a while, the Russians no longer consider the throwings a fun activity. They started shooting back.

The students got some guns and returned the fire. At this point not yet a revolution in their minds. Merely tit for tat.

When the tanks came out big time firing, things got serious. One night only. That is all it took. The students retaliated with molotov cocktails. No competition for the tanks.

The students knew they were done and had to get out of Hungary quickly. Here it was two weeks after fleeing and Gergo and I were talking about what happened.

No one argued about taking refugees in at the time. Of course, the number of Hungarian refugees was significantly less than those that have come out of Syria in recent times.

Personal letters from Santa Claus a final recollection.

I came across on the internet an advertisement by Magical Xmas Letters. Send the company $17.94 and your child will receive a personally signed letter from Santa Claus and some North Pole information. The letter printed. The signature written.

Back in the 1960s, two Utica attorneys did the same thing at Xmas time. Pat Bernardi and Jim Zogby. Law partners. Both now long gone.

Pat and Jim were five years older than me. Young lawyers did not make much money in those days. They came up with the idea of sending Santa Claus letters out. Parents wrote. Pat and Jim’s operation returned a handwritten and signed letter from Santa Claus.

The cost was relatively cheap. The exact amount, I cannot recall. Two dollars sticks in my mind. A probable price some fifty years ago. I had the letters sent to my children.

Pat and Jim’s Xmas business took hold. Soon they had to rent space and hire a number of women to write the letters. Even Pat and Jim got into handwriting responses. Business boomed.

A tiring, but banner Xmas season for Pat and Jim. An experience that left them extremely tired came Xmas Eve.

Bocce last night. Don’s Place won 2-1. Not good enough. Needed all three games. Will remain in second place.

Syracuse/Clemson tomorrow. Clemson a top 10 team. Favored by 27 points.

Syracuse has played well the last two games. I see the game closer. Maybe an upset?????

Installment 5 of a Key West Rotary history.

The year 1925.

Nineteen twenty five was a busy year for the Rotary. Today only a partial report. The year will take 1 or 2 additional installments to complete.

Sloppy Joe’s was not Sloppy Joe’s in 1925. It was the Victoria Restaurant.

On October 15, a Cuban Boy Scout Troop visited Key West. The Rotary honored the group at a luncheon at Victoria’s. The Scoutmaster only spoke Spanish. His words were translated by Sebastian Cabrera.

Dr. J. Y. Porter, Sr. was a Key West charter Rotarian, local physician, and the first public health doctor for the State of Florida. A week after the Cuban boy scout event, Dr. Porter was 78 years old. The Rotary threw him a birthday party. Talk, singing, and birthday cake with 78 candles. Porter blew them all out!

Judge Jefferson B. Browne recalled how Dr. Porter had been instrumental in stemming the spread of yellow fever in Jacksonville.

Dr. Porter had returned to Key West after his State service to take charge of the Chamber of Commerce.

Captain Jack Maher was commander of the Key West Army Barracks. At the party, he sang When You Were Young Maggie and The Sunshine of Your Smile. The latter being Dr. Porter’s favorite tune.

The Key West Rotary was conservation minded. Late in October, the Club endorsed a proposal to ban the shooting and trapping of birds and protecting Key deer.

Time does not change some things. We are still protecting Key deer. Dr. Porter spoke in support of protecting birds. He viewed birds as eating disease carrying mosquitoes and insects.

More 1925 to follow tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!

 

BLIMP HANGAR

As you read along the Key West Rotary history portion, keep in mind that which is written occurred some 100 years ago. Some things change. Some no more. Like a picnic involving wheelbarrow racing and tugs of war.

Installment 4.

The year 1924.

Key West High School had a newspaper. The Monroe Tatler. An article in one of the publications wrote about a senior class luncheon picnic with the Rotary. At the picnic, the Rotarians took turns escorting a senior girl to a table and each senior boy by a Rotary Ann.

The blimp hangar was part of the Navy facility at what was then called Trumbo Island. The same Trumbo Base area today in Key West. The naval base was small. Established in 1918.

There was no Boca Chica in 1924 as we know it today. Boca Chica did not become a major military installation till World War II.

Nineteen twenty four was a time when organizations could legally limit membership to men. Such was changed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987. Ladies had to be admitted to membership.

Rotary wives participated in Club activities from Rotary’s 1905 beginnings. Such wives became known as Rotary Anns. The name evolved. Some Rotary Clubs referred to the ladies as Rotary Spouses or Rotary Partners.

The Rotary Ann label was born in 1914. The national Rotary Convention was held in Houston. The San Francisco Rotary hired a special train to make the trip to Houston. Few wives made the trip. One that did was Ann Brunnier who got on the train with her Rotary husband Bru Brunnier in Los Angeles.

During the trip, Ann acquired the name Rotary Ann. One of the Rotarians wrote a song about Rotary Ann. The Rotarians sang the song all the way to Houston.

Philadelphia Rotarian Guy Gundakr’s wife was named Ann. The conventioneers referred to her as Rotary Ann, also.

The conventioneers an exuberant group. At one point, they hoisted the two Rotary Anns on their shoulders and paraded about singing the Rotary Ann tune.

Both Brunnier and Gundakr became International Rotary Presidents in subsequent years.

The Rotary Ann name and concept took hold. Soon Rotary wives everywhere formed Rotary Ann clubs to assist with Rotary activities.

Back to the luncheon picnic.

Alan Clesse was senior class President. He made a thank you speech  to the Rotary.

The Key West Rotary President at the time was Bugs Werner. A playful type. He passed a clock to one of the senior girls. He explained that each time the alarm went off, the girl holding the clock had to make a speech. The clock moved fast from one girl to another.

The alarm rang while held by two different girls. A Miss Perez and a Miss Lowe. Each made a speech. Some Rotarians thought Perez’s was the best speech they had ever heard.

The picnic was a time of frolic. Singing, talking, wheelbarrow races, and tugs of war.

A Louis day yesterday. A manicure with Tammy. The nail emporium a gold mine. Tammy and her husband Ricky have worked hard and have a constantly growing business. I admire their success.

Tammy is good company. We laugh through the procedure.

Last night was dinner at Liz’s Kitchen. So labeled by Liz herself because I love her kitchen so much.

Liz a cook extraordinaire!

We enjoyed cocktails in the garden with tasty pickies. Then inside the kitchen for French Lasagna. A first time dish for me. Outstanding!

Liz had the entire evening planned. Following dinner, we went into her study to watch the World Series and have coffee and desert. Desert home made pumpkin pie.

The woman’s a gem!

Chicago won the game and the series. I did not think Chicago could come back. A feat in itself. Big time winners.

I am confused. The polling numbers have become simultaneously inconsistent. Things tightening up. Trump could win. A disaster!

Bocce tonight.

Enjoy your day!

UPSIDE DOWN PINEAPPLE IN SHOPPING CART

Yesterday, I received a site to look at from a reader. I did…..If you are in a grocery store and put a pineapple upside down in your shopping cart, it means you are into “extracurricular activities outside of marriage.”

I went to Publix. Had to shop anyhow. Rushed to the fruit counters. No pineapples!

Two sunday dinners yesterday within two hours of each other. The second was the problem. I did not want to insult Dee who had prepared it for me.

I enjoyed an early sunday dinner with Rich and Cynthia Boettiger at their home. Both good company. Rich and I go at it politically. Cynthia sits back . Speaks rarely. When she does, it is a pearl of wisdom.

On the drive home, I received a call from Dee. I had not seen Dee in three months. She said she was driving down from Cudjoe with a special meal she had prepared for me.

Dee, a smart woman. She has a PhD. in psychology. Knows the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

In comes Dee with a huge bowl of pasta. Angel hair. Covered in a delicious smelling sauce buried in grated cheese. My people call it sauce. Dee is from Boston where it is called gravy.

I did not wish to offend. Ate the huge dish she put before me. Then a second helping she pushed upon me.

Cynthia and Dee back to back! A little heavy.

Dee left. I collapsed in bed. Watched the end of the Cleveland/Chicago game. Chicago won. Still have a long road ahead to ultimate victory. Going to be interesting.

In the Comments section of this morning’s Key West Citizen was a compliment to the City for the fine clean up job of Duval following the parade.  Seventy thousand at the parade saturday night. Duval a mess afterwards. By 8 sunday morning, pristine clean.

It has always been such. When I was an early morning Duval  walker, I always took note of the clean up. Impressive!

Bocce. Don’s Place now 18-6. Tied for second with Hell’s Rangers who recently defeated Don’s 3-0.

The famous poet John Keats was born this date in 1795. He died 21 years later.

I have mentioned Keats often. Thirty five years ago, the family and I were spending a month in the Rome area. I tripped across Keats’ home. Next door to the Spanish Steps. I was able to view the bedroom, his final resting place. As well as a room filled with his poems handwritten on paper under protective glass.

I recommend any one visiting Rome to visit Keats’ residence. A moving experience.

Now to the second installment of a writing motivated by Wright Langley’s History of the Rotary Club of Key West. This installment covering the years 1915-1919. Note that the history of the Key West Rotary parallels that of the United States in certain instances.

Rotary International was born in 1905. Intended to be an international service organization. Service above self, the motto.

The aim was to bring business and professional leaders together to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.

Rotary International was ten years old when in 1915 Key West was asked to form a Rotary Club. The chair of the organizing committee was local attorney Jefferson B. Browne.

A group of community leaders met for informal luncheon meetings in a Duval Street store between Front and Greene Streets.

The Key West Rotary was officially organized on March 17, 1916. It was elected to membership in the International Rotary on April 1, 1916.

Five officers plus twenty six additional charter members made up the group. Attorney Browne was elected President. Other officers consisted of attorney William Malone, jeweler Frank Johnson, and grocery store manager George A. T. Roberts.

Rotary sought the best men to comprise the local Rotary. Not out of snobbery. Rather to assure that the men  selected had the power and influence to get things done.

President Browne wrote to Rotary Secretary Chelsey R. Perry in Chicago…..We have the best men in the City in our club…..We intend to make our club a strictly high class one.

The influence and ability to get things done was soon evident. They were instrumental in organizing a Key West chapter of the American Red Cross in 1917. The club also provided the leadership in forming the Key West Chamber of Commerce.

By 1916, World War I was raging in Europe. The United States joined the conflict in April 1917 when Congress signed a war resolution.

The War was not the only major Congressional vote in 1917. Later that year, the Volstead Act was passed. The Eighteenth Amendment. Outlawed the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages. The States finally ratified the law January 29, 1919.

From that date forward, Key West’s economy shot upward. Key West became a significant port of ingress for alcohol. Especially, rum from Cuba. Key West acquired the title of rumrunning capital of the world.

Nineteen nineteen was memorable for the Key West Rotary. Two of its members attended the Rotary International Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland as delegates. Drs. William Warren and Joseph Renedo.

Enjoy your day!

 

FULL DAY AND NIGHT

Busy day yesterday. One thing after another. All fun.

Syracuse played Boston College at noon. I figured I could watch till 1:15 before getting ready for Joseph Lyles retirement party at Hot Tin Roof. Got hooked on the game. Stayed till half time. Syracuse ahead 14-13.

Obviously got to Joseph’s party late. People were streaming out as I arrived. Joseph the last to leave. I was able to apologize, hug him and wish him well.

The party was moving over to the Pier House Beach Bar. Walked over with Joseph and Methias.

One end of the bar packed with party persons. Sat and chatted with Jean Thornton awhile. A lovely person.

Only one drink. A bloody Mary. Following which I was off and running. Home to find out how Syracuse did and watch some Alabama/Texas Tech football before leaving for bocce.

Syracuse won 28-20. A good victory. Any victory a good one. Syracuse now 4-4.

Bocce was a make up game with Hell’s Rangers. It had rained the night scheduled.

I would have been better off keeping my date with Jenna Stauffer. Don’s Place lost all three games. A beating! Lost the middle game 16-0.

Prior to last night, Hell’s Rangers had lost 5 out of its last 6 games. They were out for blood. They played very well and we were simply not with it. One of those nights.

The cheeseburgers, hot dogs and salads were delicious. Compensated for the defeat.

The temperature by day yesterday was 82. Last night 75. A very cold 75. The breeze off the ocean makes it feel cold. I was in a sports shirt and shorts. Froze the whole time! When I got home, I turned off the air conditioning, had a hot cup of tea with honey and buried myself under the covers. I did not kick the cold feeling till 3 this morning.

Big night tonight! Jenna! Love her! We have known each other close to 10 years. Early on she produced my TV show for three years. We are having dinner at Berlin’s.

I will not be doing Fantasy Fest every evening. After all the years attending, I now pick and choose. Probably will not return till Thursday night. Toga Party! I go to watch, not participate. It is the voyeur in me.

Fantasy Fest’s King and Queen were crowned Friday night at the Coronation Ball. King Christopher Rounds and Queen Jane Rohrschneider. I know Chris. have never met Jane.

King and Queen are determined by the number of dollars each candidate raises for AIDS Help. Chris and Jane raised the most ever. $368,000.

Chris is much younger than me. He grew up in the Boonville, New York area. Some 15 miles from my home town Utica.

I first met Chris when he bought Antonia’s. Sold it several years later and purchased La Te Da. Three years ago he did a complete renovation of La Te Da.

At all times, La Te Da’s food and entertainment the best. Conversation great. People friendly. La Te Da’ is a gay/straight venue which I believe contributes to its ambiance.

Diana Millikan sent me a site to read. The History of the Rotary Club of Key West. Authored by a Wright Langley in 1935. Covers the years 1915-1971.

Boring but interesting. Every now and then a happening that surprises. New knowledge.

When the William Hackley saga began appearing in the Key West Citizen, I thought it was a waste. I quickly became hooked on it, however.

I think the Rotary history  might result in a similar experience for my readers.

The History is lengthy. I plan on breaking it down into segments based on years. Everything will not be reported. Really boring. I will be picking and choosing. The result will be a history of Key West during the years in question as well as a Rotary history.

Tomorrow will be installment #1: 1915-1919.

Hope it tickles your fancy.

Enjoy your Sunday!

JUDY WOOD MEMORIAL

A pleasant afternoon yesterday. Lay in the shade by the pool. Read and snoozed.

First stop last night was the Tavern ‘n Town memorial event for Judy Wood. Two groups of people. Locals at the bar. Another group in the back of the dining room were special tables, food, photos, etc. had been set up. Knew none. I assume out of town family.

Bobby Nesbitt and Carmen Rodriquez singing. Bobby telling Judy stories.

I believe Judy was in her mid 60s at the end. Age has a way of adding pounds, sagging facial muscles, etc. My body is a wreck at 81.

Judy’s photos from another time shocked me. A knockout! Such a beautiful woman!

May she rest in peace.

Tavern ‘n Town was too crowded. Drove over to Outback for dinner. A small prime rib.

Then to bocce. Don’s Place was playing the Sons of Italy. Don’s Place won 2 and lost 1. The Sons of Italy played well. Don’s Place nowhere near well. Two of the games were close. Don’s Place won  the last game easily.

Don’s Place still in first place alone. The other two top teams lost 1 or 2 games.

Met Jerry. He plays for the Sons of Italy. Not Italian. One human family extends to bocce teams.

Jerry a former Navy reservist. Thereafter involved with two credit unions. Now, totally retired.

Love the guy! He reads this blog! Has been reading it! He asked if my name was Lou and did I write, etc. That is how we got started.

Syracuse/Boston College tomorrow. Boston College a 4.5 point favorite. My fingers are crossed.

Rick Pitino. Famous basketball coach. Successful at his work. Coaching at Louisville for the past 10 years or so. A winner!

Pitino and Jim Boeheim best of friends. Stood up for each other when married, godfather to each other’s children.

I know Pitino. Not as well as Boeheim. Pitino is a horse lover. He owns, runs and breeds them. I spent some time with him in Saratoga over the years. Watching him buy horses at the Saratoga Horse Sale a memorable experience.

The NCAA has been investigating Pitino. The charges came down yesterday.

The issue involves escorts and strippers who were hired to entertain recruits and players. In the same University dorm where the hopefuls were spending a weekend.

The claim is assistant coach Andre McGee made the arrangements, paid the money, etc. There is no charge that Pitino was aware. However, Pitino is charged similarly as Boeheim was. As head coach, it is his responsibility to know everything going on with the team. The technical terminology “…..for failing to monitor a member of his staff (McGee).”

I thought the charges against Boeheim were bullshit. Different from Pitino’s. He was charged after a 10 year investigation. They had to dig to find something concerning Boeheim. The Pitino investigation only took one year.

Sex procurement a no no. No question about it.

I find it hard to believe Pitino was not aware. A hands on person.

At some point in time, there will be a Pitino suspension. Inevitable.

Tonight, Goombay!

Enjoy your day! And evening!

 

 

 

GIBRALTAR OF THE SOUTH

There was a time and a man who viewed Key West as the Gibraltar of the South. It was the mid 1930s. The man, Julius Stone.

The 1930s was depression time across the United States. Key West especially hard hit. It was the end of the world. Hard to get to. Little business. No work. Monroe County had filed for bankruptcy.

Julius Stone was the WPA administrator for the State of Florida. He considered things so bad in Key West, that he opened a WPA office there. Only the second in the State.

Stone saw tourism as the way for Key West to improve its economy. He was a precursor. He saw what men like David Wolkowsky would envision in later years.

One of his efforts to improve quality of life in Key West was to have a play locally produced. The Pirates of Penzance.

The historical goodies I share with you I did not find. Credit belongs to snowbird Diana Millikan. Diana is writing a play about Julius Stone and The Pirates of Penzance endeavor. She keeps me informed.

Diana has discovered a rich source of information. The Kennedy Cafe mornings. Elderly conchs meet every morning for coffee and talk. A breakfast club of sorts.

Diana says it is like pulling teeth to get information out of them. She is succeeding, however. A step at a time.

She met Jesse. A woman in her 90s. Her married name she was not able to get. However, her maiden name was forthcoming. Watkins.

Jesse was in attendance at the play on February 19, 1935. She recalled the event vividly. She said George Wills was the leading man. Handsome.

She attended the play with her two older sisters. Diana reported one of the sisters became President of a local bank. Sounds strange for the times. It might have been the woman’s husband.

The write up in the newspaper the next day listed a Mrs. Joseph Cates as seamstress. Diana is trying to find out if the 1935 Cates is a relative of today’s Mayor Cates.

Burt Lancaster was one of America’s great actors. He died at 80 this date in 1994. Lancaster and Key West touched two times.

Lancaster’s first movie was The Killers. The movie was based on Ernest Hemingway’s short story of the same name.

He actually filmed a movie in Key West. The Rose Tattoo. The movie was based on Tennessee William’s play of the same name. The movie was filmed in a house on Duncan Street. Williams lived on one corner of the block and The Rose Tattoo house was on the other.

The Cannonball Run is coming through Key West saturday. Will be on Duval and Front Streets around 3.

The Cannonball is composed of a group of men who own special cars. They like to drive them on strange roads in strange places. Duval not one of those places. However Key West not the destination. The group is headed for Havana, Cuba.

I have a neighbor down the street who participates. He is on in years. The Run is one of the more important events in his live. He has a 1906 or 1914 Rolls Royce. In tip top shape. When last I spoke with him, he had just returned from a run in New Zealand. The cars at some point are shipped to the final destination.

Screwworms on the move. No longer just on Big Pine and No Name Key. Have expanded into Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe, Ramrod and Summerland Keys. Flies have been found in each place.

The last time there was a screwworm infestation was 30 years ago. Things have become sufficiently bad that the State of Florida has declared a State of Emergency exists.

Tammy for a manicure/pedicure yesterday. Ran into Kate Miano who was getting a pedicure.

Kate is one of Key West’s most dynamic women. Owner of The Gardens. Note that Sunday at the Gardens has opened. Sundays from 5-7. Great music. Good drinks. Excellent company. Mostly locals.

The Judy Wood memorial celebration this evening from 5-7 at Tavern ‘n Town. Sad. Her death continues to bother me. And I did not know her well. Only from the bar.

Afterwards, I shall be off to bocce to watch Don’s Place play. Numero Uno!

Goombay tomorrow night!

The third and final Presidential debate was last night. Trump consistent. An ass. Hillary handled herself well.

Enjoy your day!