The Gardens Hotel is hidden behind walls and foliage on the corner of Angela and Simonton. One of the Key West’s leading citizens is proprietor. Kate Miano. Charming. Beautiful. An outstanding business person.

One of the events Kate sponsors is a sunday get together for locals and tourists inside the gardens. From 5-7. Musicians on the back porch of the main building. Seating all over. A small bar to the rear. Always everyone greeting and hugging.

There was a time I went every sunday. Then, stopped. Don’t know why. Decided to stop in yesterday. Glad I did.

Chatted with Lynda and Bob Frechette, two people I have not seen in a while. Ran into many other friends and acquaintances.

I had a good time.

Kate was not there. She is somewhere in France.

I went downtown a bit earlier to see the Power Boat Races Parade. As anticipated, magnificent! People standing on both sides of Duval watching. The boats long and sleek. People sitting top side. Locals, boat owners and crews.

There are 40 boats entered in the races.

Following the Gardens visit, I walked over to La Te Da for dinner. At the outside bar. Crispy duck, of course.

I spent my morning and early afternoon yesterday writing this week’s Konk Life column. Dracula in the Operating Room. How is that for a title!

The column has to do with the college student loan program and the government’s involvement money wise. The government makes $40 billion plus a year in profit.

The government is Dracula and the loan program the operating room.

The Key West History section mentioned Alben Barkley having visited Key West to visit with President Truman. Barley was Vice-President at the time.

Barkley was Truman’s running mate in the 1948 election. The election where everyone gave Truman a hard time and no chance of winning. Barkley was Senate Majority leader. He stuck by Truman through out.

People were surprised when Truman selected Barkley. Barkley was 70 at the time. Back then, 70 was considered old for the man who might have to step in to serve as President.

The Citizen rang the bell twice this morning.

The World Almanac section made mention of the November 9, 1965 blackout. The blackout covered the entire northeast United States. 30 million were without power for a significant period of time.

My family and I were among those without power.

It was around 6 in the evening. I had worked out at the YMCA.  Just finished my shower when the lights went out. I looked out the window. The lights were out all over town. Attendants came by with flashlights and I was able to dress.

The streets were dark. No street lights working. No lights anywhere, except for the stars in the sky.

I got in my car and drove home. Radio would not work. I could not call my wife since cell phones did not exist at the time. Intersections were a problem. Traffic lights not working.

When I got home, my wife had candles out. Dinner had been prepared. I told the children we were going to have a party. It was cold. The oil burner had stopped operating.

We laid blanket on the living room floor. Lite the fire place. There we ate. There we slept.

As the night wore on, I was becoming concerned. Could this be the start of actual war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union? Don’t laugh. Serious business back then. We worry today about an ISIS attack. Nothing compared to the fear we had of a Russian attack back then. It would be nuclear war.

Utica was 14 miles from Rome. Rome had a SAC base. SAC would carry our nuclear bombs to Russia in the event of war. Rome would be one of the first places the Russians would hit.

Nuclear war was always in the forefront of our minds. Most of us were alive in 1945 when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.

Rockefeller was New York governor at the time. He had recommended people build shelters in their backyards. A concrete type bunker under the ground. Few did. We did not think they would help if a nuclear weapon were detonated.

The lights went back on the next day. Some non-consequential event occurred in another state that blew a generator or something. Parts of Canada were also affected.

Khrushchev was head of the Soviet Union at the time. A bully like Putin. Perhaps more so.

Khrushchev had attended a meeting of the UN General Assembly two years earlier in 1960. He took his shoe off, stood up, slammed his shoe on the desk before him, and lite into a tirade against the United States.

One of the things Khrushchev is remembered for is his threat to the United States: “…..history is on our side. We will bury you.”

Enjoy your day!




One comment on “GARDENS HOTEL

  1. I was at the College at the time. And we went out and directed traffic. Laugh! Only cause the bars didn’t have power to ring the cash register. Beer was carbonated and would flow. But it was never given away. Funny the stuff you remember. When the power went on, AT&T called us all in because there was hell to pay with the computers. Made a ton of overtime rerunning and reprinting reports. Manually rechecking control totals stunk big time. But the money was great. Personally I was wishing for it to happen again. As a double E, we were in big demand. Now no one wants us tired fat old white guy injineers!


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