Well my family had made the move to Florida. It was sinking in. I was not happy about it. However I made the best of it. People talked funny with a southern drawl. But all in all things were okay. Dad was having a dock and some davits installed on the seawall out back so we could put the boat in the water. It had been a week and our furniture had still not arrived.
Earlier that week mom and I registered for 10th grade at Gulf Comprehensive High School in New Port Richey.
One day the doorbell rang. It was Betty Bateman with a welcome to the neighborhood gift. The Batemans were one of the three homes in Leasure beach that were occupied. The Batemans had just moved to florida from Oak Lawn Illinois. They were in the Aluminum business and were hopeing to set up a bussiness here in florida.
The Batemans had a son my age. Brian Bateman was his name. Brian would become one of my closest friends in Florida, He was one year behind me in School. That made no diffenence and we would become the best of friends.
One day Betty Bateman brought Brian over to meet me. We talked and found it easy to do so. We asked for permission to roam the new neiborhod and got it. LIke I have said the subdivision was very new. Canels were still being dredged out to make room for all the homes as all the homes had access to the Gulf of Mexico. It was very interesting boys of 14 and 15. All the machinery and building going on is iresistiable. We made our way around the place and stopped off at his place on 1st Isle North. His home was a similar florida home like ours. It had a different layout than ours and had a Florida room, somthing we did not have. Dad in a few years remedied that by adding on a florida room.
I said my goodbyes to Brian and headed home. It was so hot and humid! I still was not used to it. i made my way home and stood under an air contioning vent panting like a rabid dog! However I was glad I had a friend. I missed Michigan. However I know I could not change what had happened. We were here. No use to fret over it. I was taught to use what you have right in front of you. Happiness is not always obtainable. However cheerfulness is somthing you have control over. I choose Cheerfulness over Happiness every time Hands Down!!
In June 1970 we made the move to Florida. I was 15 and had my learners permit, so I could help with the driving. We had 2 vehicles and a boat that we were going to bring with us.
Early one morning in the first week of August 1970 the moving van pulled up to our home at 114 Beaumont drive.
My friend Carlos Washington and I watched as the movers loaded up the moving van with all of our worldly possessions. We talked and in our minds we knew that this was goodbye. I had known Carlos and his sister Carol all my life. It was hard to say goodbye. I did not want to go. However we said our goodbyes and Carlos drove off home.
The time came for us to go. The cars were all loaded up and the boat was hitched to the Chevrolet. I took one last look around. The backyard with the garden and basketball hoop. Inside the house. The kitchen with the built in kitchen nook. My room. It was indeed hard to leave it all behind. However we did. I took one last look back and got into the car. Off we went!
It is aproximently 1700 miles from Battle Creek Michigan to New Port Richey Florida. We made the trip in 3 days. About 600 miles a day. We enjoyed the stops at the motels and the meals eaten.
Before we got to our new home we stopped at the realtors office to let them know we were there and to get the keys to the house. Then we headed for our new home.
At last we pulled up to 301 3rd Isle North, our new home in Leisure Beach. We were one of the first to build in this new subdivision so there was a lot of construction going on.
We entered our new home and looked around. As you know, I was not keen on moving to Florida. However I loved the house. It had a single car garage. 2 bedrooms. 2 baths. I had never seen a house with 2 baths. A large living room with an adjacent dining room and a functional kitchen. And best of all a canal in the back with Gulf of Mexico access!
There was a problem. The moving van had not arrived yet. In fact it would be 2 weeks before it arrived! Dad made calls to find out what had happened. We had no answers. We would have to make do. So we went to K-mart and bought some dishes. Some cooking utensils. Some lawn chairs. Some tv trays. And sleeping bags and pillows. This would have to do until our stuff caught up with us.
We spent a lot of time inside as it was so hot and humid outside. All homes in Florida at that time had air conditioning.
The time we spent together without television and everything that we took for granted was good for us as a family. I believe it drew us closer together.