The morning after the night before.

Last night was spectacular!

The Key West Christmas Boat Parade!

An annual event. The parade takes place on the gulf side of the island. Schooners Wharf sponsors the event. It is also headquarters for the event.

The gulf side of the island was covered with people. A mass of humanity. I am surprised the island did not tilt into the ocean on that side.

The parade consists of 50 to 70 boats. All are decorated as one would decorate the outside of their home at Christmas. Sparkling bright lights.

Without the lighted boats, it would be pitch black over the water. The lighted boats provided a new dimension for a brief period of time.

No matter how you cut it, it is always cold on the night of the Christmas Boat Parade. Especially out on a boat. I have done it three times on a boat. A fun time! But cold!!!

Last night I did it from the shore. A first time for me.

I started off at the back of the Pier House. Just behind the Wline Galley. It was crowded. Primarily tourists. I knew no one. So I decided to move on.

My intent was to go to the Hot Tin Roof. I knew Jean Thornton would be there. However the mass of humanity on the balcony of the Hot Tin Roof made it impossible for me to get up there. So I continued walking and went directly to Mallory Square. The place where tourists and locals alike go to watch the sunset. The place where entertainers swallow flaming sticks and swords, where cats jump through hoops of fire.

Mallory Square was packed, also. But the Square is sufficiently large that there was room to stand and watch. I enjoyed my time there.

The boat decorations are always unique. Last night was no different. Besides Santa Claus’ and Christmas trees, there were huge crabs, stone crabs and lobsters. Even an octopus or two. Some crosses. Every year there is one tiny boat to celebrate Hanukkah. Everyone participates!

My intent was to get home as early as possible. I wanted to watch the Republican debate at nine. I arrived home a little after nine, in time to catch most of the debate.

My opinion has not changed. The array of candidates for the Republican nomination are disappointing. Persons of  inadequate stature. Our country is in trouble. Some believe Obama has not done as well as he should or could have. We need a vigorous debate on the economy and other issues. Such a debate can only take place if a  Republican candidate with intelligence and understanding is selected. I did not see one in the group last night.

Poor Cat Lady. She is a kind and gentle woman. Loves animals. Especially cats and dogs. She is always picking up stray and sick animals and caring for them. She has something like 13 cats and a dog at her home and brought four to Key West with her.

In the past 48 hours, two of her cats died. One in Key West and another back home. She is in pain. As she wrote me, she has many little graves everywhere and a part of her is in each one.

World War II and the buses!

This is another in the ongoing list of recollections from when I was a young boy during World War II.

Everyone took the bus!

You have to understand. Prior to World War II, there was a depression. The big depression. Very few people working. No money. Then came World War II. World War II reopened old factories and opened new ones.. Factories were retooled. All to make machinery for war. Jobs became abundant. Everyone was working.

Before World War II, few could buy new cars. They did not have the money. After the war began and there was full employment, everyone had money. Except there were no cars to buy. The automobile industry had retooled to make guns, planes and ships.

American society traveled by bus. That was the only mode of transportation, if one was without a car. My recollection is that it cost either five cents or dime to travel all over the city of Utica. One got on a bus, paid the fare and asked for a transfer. The transfer permitted a person to get on another bus when you got off of the first one. This could go on  indefinitely. You could take several buses in one day for the price of the first bus.

Since everyone traveled by bus, everyone on the buses knew each other. It was a place for socialization. People were warm and welcoming to each other. Conversations were plenty. Most people smiling. Men got up to give women their seats if the bus was crowded.

It was a happy time riding the bus. Not like today when people rarely talk to each other or smile.

World War II came to an end in 1945. Everyone had money. Four years of working in the defense plants had made for large bank accounts. There was no place to spend money during the war. People were forced to save. Returning soldiers had fat bank accounts, also.

The first thing everyone wanted after the war was a new car. Detroit had to retool first back to making automobiles. When that was accomplished, Detroit could only produce so many cars a day. The demand far outweighed what could be produced. Dealer lots for new cars did not exist. They were not required.

I recall my father wanting to buy a new car. He put his order in immediately in 1945 at the end of World War II. Everyone ordered new car from several different dealers. They purchased whatever one came in first.
My father’s car finally arrived in 1947, two years after he had placed the order. It was a Nash Ambassador.

My father was all excited. The dealer called him. My father drove the car home for us to see  with the paper still on. In those days, a new car was delivered to the dealer with something that resembled butcher paper stuck to the entire automobile. My dad’s new car was two tone green. I could see very little of the green. All I could see was butcher paper.

Air conditioning for automobiles had not been invented. In fact, I am not sure whether air conditioning of any type was even available at that time. However, the Nash had three vents on the car. One in the middle of the hood in front of the front window. The other two on the side of  the front fenders. If it was a hot day, you closed the windows and open these three vents. The hot air from the outside blew in. No different than driving with the windows open. My father thought this was terrific. He could not stop talking about this new feature.

I found it all strange.

Such is the tale of buses during World War II. A place for transportation, socialization, warm greetings and communication. Lest I forget, the bus business was never that good again. Even to this day.

It is Sunday. I have to complete this blog with a bit of rapidity. I want to watch Meet the Press this morning. I am anxious to see what the media thinks of last night’s Republican debate.

Enjoy your Sunday!

One comment on “

  1. Wish I'd been there for the parade, you paint a great picture!

    Agree on the GOP contenders. If this is all they have, they should give up now! I have to believe there are better people however they don't want to subject themselves to the vicious attacks of today's politics.

    Awesome WWII memories of travels on a bus and the auto industry. Love the recollections!

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