Mom and Dad retires and we plan for the move to Florida

In the summer of 1969 we took a trip to New Port Richey Florida. Mom and Dad had retired earlier in the year from Kellogg’s. He sat mom and I down and told us that he would like to move to Florida. He was tired of the cold, snow, and harsh Michigan winters.

Well dad deserved the move. He had worked hard all his life and he deserved to be where he wanted to be and to be warm and comfortable! On the other hand moving to Florida would mean a big change in our lives. It would mean moving again into the unknown. New school. New friends. I told dad that I would go with them as I was only 15 and had no choice in the matter. However I told dad. As soon as I was 18 I would move back to Michigan. Well this never happened as I stayed in Florida for the rest of my life.

So in the summer of 1969 we got in the car and headed for New Port Richey Florida. We had been there once before in the early 60’s. My aunt Zoe had been corresponding with her brother, my father for some time now and invited us to come down and check out the housing market.

We drove the 1700 miles from Battle Creek Michigan to New Port Richey Florida in 3 days as my dad drove about 9 hours a day then layed over in a motel to rest, clean up, and have dinner.

We arrived at my aunt Zoe’s and uncle Ward’s house in Gulf Harbors in New Port Richey Florida. Gulf Harbors is a gulf of Mexico community connected to the gulf via canals.

When I got out of the car I immediately felt the hot humid heat of a typical Florida summer day. I now understand why everyone had air conditioning in their homes and in their cars. How could anyone live in this hot humid heat? It was like breathing clam chowder! Ugh. I was hoping mom and dad would change there minds and return to Michigan immediately!

The next day Ward drove us out to realtors to have a look see. We looked at some already built homes away from the water. They were nice. However dad wanted to be near the gulf. So the realtor drove us to Leasure Beach in Port Richey Florida. All of the lots had a canal in back for access to the Gulf of Mexico. We looked at the models and dad and mom fell in love with one of them. It was a 2 bedroom 2 bath home with a single car garage. No basement. If you dig a few feet in Florida you hit water. There were many lots to choose from.

301 3rd Isle North as it is today.
The Leasure Beach Community with Gulf access

Mom and dad selected a corner lot at 301 3rd Isle North in Leasure Beach Port Richey Florida. They signed the papers and they told us work would begin in a month and that the home would be ready to occupy in the summer of 1970.

I knew that big changes were coming in my life. I was not sure I liked the idea of once again leaving my stomping grounds and heading into the unknown. Would I adapt? Would I make friends and be excepted? These were questions that were in my mind that I had no answers for. However I was taught at an early age to work with what you have. Don’t complain. Work hard. Be polite. Have good manners and to think of others and not yourself. I believe that these basic standards helped me, when we made the move in the summer of 1970, adapt quickly to the Florida way of life.

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