BIRTHDAY CONTINUED

My birthday continued into last night. Donna and Terri invited me to dinner. I did not realize they were going to do Happy Birthday.

I was greeted with Happy Birthday as I arrived. Imagine Terri’s crescendo! Drinks followed by a home cooked meal by gourmet chef Donna.

After dinner, Happy Birthday cake. Unexpected. Home baked brownies topped with whip cream. And two candles: One an 8, the other a 2.

Happy Birthday sung again!

Gift, a bottle of Beefeaters.

Received an e-mail from Joseph. Biblical. He thanked me for letting him participate in the “Feast of my Nativity.”

Joseph is 69. Ailing from a back surgery more than a year ago. Not perfect yet.

Joseph is 69. Short and thin. A white beard and mustache. Needs a cane. His cane is a rod. A six foot wood pole.

I refer to Joseph as John the Baptist since he began using the pole.

I spent yesterday doing nothing. Laid around all day. I was beat! Moving and unpacking had taken its toll. Shot!

My new neighborhood is a delight to behold. Cute single family homes. Greenery everywhere. Trees arching over the roadway.

Decided I would try to walk again. The peaceful surroundings called out to me.

I walked this morning. Early. Out of bed, into shorts and sneaks. Before I said, screw it!

The walk delightful. Once around a block. All of 10 minutes. I am starting off slow. Want to succeed this time.

Three popular Key West events on going or imminent.

Mel Fisher Days began thursday and end today. The event is to commemorate Fisher’s discovery of the Spanish galleon Atocha.

Mango Fest next saturday July 15. Bayview Park. All kinds of activities and mango foods. Sponsored by the Key West Police Athletic League. The League supports and participates in all kinds of children’s activities.

Finally, one of the best. Hemingway Days! Ten days of Hemingway fun beginning July 18. Including the Running of the Bulls, the Hemingway Look Alike Contest, and Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway Birthday Party.

The things I learn from William Hackley’s life. His diary for this day in 1856 records Hackley paying the rent on his Key West home. Paid for six months with a $450 Treasury warrant. Works out to $75 a month.

Can’t rent anything for $75 a month anymore! Hackley’s rent today would be at least $3,000 a month.

Hemingway. One of Key West’s most famous citizens.

On this day in 1918, Hemingway was 18. World War I three years old. The United States not yet in the war.

Hemingway wanted to participate. He joined the American Red Cross and was stationed in northern Italy as an ambulance driver.

While serving on the front, a mortar shell went off near him. Hemingway was seriously injured. Spent quite a while in the hospital because of shrapnel wounds. One leg especially beat up.

During his hospital stay, he fell in love with a nurse. A serious romance. After he returned home and was arranging for her to follow him, his loved dumped him for a lieutenant of royal lineage.

While living in Key West, Hemingway worked on his manuscript A Farewell to Arms and had the book published.

The book  reflected on northern Italy during World War I, the experiences of a Red Cross ambulance driver, his love affair with a nurse, and the tragic ending of the love affair. The nurse love died in the book.

Hemingway’s actual war time life experiences formed the basis for his first best selling novel.

In 1962, the movie PT-109 was filmed on Munson Island in the Keys. Pt-109 was the war time story of John Kennedy and his heroic experience following the sinking of PT-109.

A lot of local background.

Munson Island was owned at the time by Sheriff John M. Spottswood. Subsequently to become a Florida State Senator.

Kennedy was visiting Key West if my memory proves correct for a meeting with Great Britain’s Prime Minister MacMillan. Spottswood was close to Kennedy. He suggested a good place to shot the movie was Munson Island which he owned. Munson Island became the place.

Munson Island today is Little Palm Island.

Spottswood had five children. He was the patriarch of the family. A Key West icon. His children all successful today and respected community leaders. I only know one. Robert and his wife, Elena. Two fine people.

Cliff Robertson played Kennedy in the movie.

I met Robertson 12 or more years ago at the Mel Fisher Museum. The Museum was kicking off a national fund raising campaign. Robertson was honorary chairman.

The good looking young vital man of PT-109  days was now aged. Never the less, dapperly dressed and sharp of wit.

A Trump observation. He is out of his class at the G20 meeting in Hamburg. In over his head. Especially with Putin.

Enjoy your day!

 

VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE

Dallas last night. St. Anthony and Baton Rouge a few days earlier. Multiple black killings by police officers the past several years.

You know the facts. I want to share a few sayings that from my perspective apply to the Dallas killings: Violence begets violence. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You hit me, I’m going to hit you back harder. What goes around, comes around.

The problem is now totally out of hand.

One positive: Cell phone cameras.

A couple of items involving Key West notables.

Ernest Hemingway. Beloved Key West resident for ten years. Hemingway was wounded this day in 1918. Severely wounded. He was 18 years old. An ambulance driver with the Red Cross. Stationed on the Italian-Austrian front.

A mortar shell landed nearby. Some were killed, others wounded. Though severely wounded, Hemingway carried one of the other wounded out of danger. Hemingway had no recollection of the event afterwards. The Italian government awarded him a medal for valor.

John Spottswood. A Key West icon. His name will be remembered for all time as one of those who made Key West great.

Spottswood was a four term sheriff and a four term state senator. Also, a big Democrat. He owned at one time the Casa Marina and La Concha hotels.

He fathered four sons. All successful business persons today. All contributors to the Key West scene.

I only know one. Robert Spottswood. And, his wife Elena. Two better people do not exist. First class in every respect.

Interestingly, the Spotswoods today own the Marriott Beachside. One of Key West’s finest hotels. Robert is responsible for the management of the Marriott Beachside.

PT-109 was being filmed in 1962. The story of John Kennedy during World War II. The movie was filmed on Munson Island. Today known as Little Palm Island.

John Spottswood owned Munson Island at the time.

As a side note, Cliff Robertson played Kennedy. Many years later, I was privileged to meet Robertson. He was ancient in appearance. Clear in mind. Dapperly dressed.

He was in Key West to head up an international fund raiser for the Mel Fisher Museum. He was Honorary Chairman.

Oxitec. The British company that wants to test their genetically modified mosquitoes in Key Haven. They found another guinea pig. The Cayman Islands. The testing begins next week.

This does not mean the Key Haven test is dead. Don’t know.

Yesterday morning, it was a haircut with Lori. Her husband’s name is Jamie.

Then a walk. I did it in Home Depot. Air conditioned. The humidity outside too heavy.

My column in KONK Life this week is Who Pays for Booze and Balloons? The financing of national political conventions. It is estimated each convention will cost $100 million this year.

The column hit the stands yesterday. It was linked to my Key West Lou website this morning. www.keywestlou.com. It also was run in this morning’s KONK E-Blast.

Enjoy your day!