Time moves on. Things change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
The 2007/2008 recession hit Key West hard. People did not have the money to vacation in Key West. The tourist season has been getting better the last two years, however. Last night it appeared unquestionably better!
I was having dinner at Square One. With the lovely Stephanie Kaple, The Key West Shoe Girl. She wears heels all the time. The tall ones. Even when playing bocce.
Square One was mobbed when I arrived and it stayed that way all night. Standing room only at the bar waiting for a table. Several deep. A spark of excitement in the air. I had not felt nor experienced it for several years.
Carmelo worked hard last night. I am happy for him that the new Square One Restaurant is a success.
The Key West Citizen has a daily historical part on page 2. Happenings from fifty years ago. Two items caught my attention this morning. One involved Arthur Godfrey and the other the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Arthur Godfrey was a big TV star in the 1950s and into the early 1960s. His was CBS’ most successful show.
I met Arthur Godfrey once briefly. In the mid 1950s, I was attending Manhattan College in New York City. One of the many part time jobs was as a messenger delivery boy. No bicycles then. Each messenger had a small several block area. You walked fast!
I was in and out of the CBS Building all the time. Many of which I saw Arthur Godfrey moving around. After making a delivery one day, I was in the elevator going down. Arthur Godfrey was on it, also. Just me and him. He look at me and mouthed a gruff hello.
There was a limousine waiting for Godfrey at the curb. As he was about to get in, he looked at me again. Where are you going, kid? I told him. It was about five blocks away. Get in, he said. I’ll give you a ride. It was an exciting ride for me. We chatted. He asked me all kinds of questions about myself.
An awesome experience for a 19 year old!
The other 50 years ago news item mentioned the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thirteen days in 1962 of tension for the world. We were going to war with Russia! Thank God it was avoided.
When the missile crisis occurred, I was two years into my law practice and had fathered three of my four children. Lisa was down the road.
Kenneth Keating was a United States Senator from New York. He brought the Cuban missiles to the world’s attention. He was the first one! He drummed on it daily in the Senate in open floor debate. The Senate did that then.
Keating was a good man and had done a good thing. No one was ever going to beat him. He could be U.S. Senator from New York forever.
It was not to be. Robert Kennedy claimed a New York residency and ran against Keating. Only a Kennedy could have beat him.
The election was the first time I met Robert Kennedy. I was a young active Democrat. He was speaking in Rome, N.Y. He, I and his advance man (who had slept at my home the night before) met on a stage behind a curtain for a quick five minute strategy meeting while a speaker and a political rally were going on on the other side.
My first impression of Kennedy was he was cold and calculating. His eyes never left yours. He understood the lay of the land and the way he wanted things done.
The Cuban Missile Crisis had many connections to Key West. Key West was the first line of defense. Artillery weapons and the military blanketed Smathers Beach.
President Kennedy came to visit Key West after the crisis was over. It was a short visit. One day. He lunched with the then State Senator John Spottswood. He may have been Sheriff at the time. I am not sure.
The movie PT 109 was in its formative stage. Spottswood suggested to the President the movie be shot in the Keys. Specifically, Little Palm Island. Spottswood owned the island at the time. The movie eventually was shot on the island.
John Spottswood became a powerful figure. He is one of those responsible for Key West becoming what it is today. His family has succeeded him in pursuing the best interests of Key West. I only know Robert and Elena Spottswood. Great people! Key West is their heart and soul.
Lets stay with the Kennedys for a moment. I see from the news that Kerry Kennedy was acquitted yesterday of the DUI charge. It took the jury a little more than an hour to decide. I think the charge and trial were the result of a publicity seeking young prosecutor looking to nail a big one. It would have enhanced his or her career. The whole thing was a disgrace. The woman was prosecuted/persecuted because she was a Kennedy.
Syracuse basketball today. At 4. Against Virginia. A big game! The spread has been moving. Today, Virginia is a four point favorite. I have absolutely no idea what the result will be. It has been that kind of season.
I will be watching the game at Don’s Place.
Enjoy your day!