A Florida Rescue Mission [1978-79]

He’s got a gun

For a combination of reasons I ended up spending Christmas 1978 in Florida.  1.  I’d already decided to put my political roots down in Minnesota instead of South Jersey.  2.  My best South Jersey friend, Bob, had finally accepted the year-old break-up from his girlfriend, and felt it was time to move on.   3.  Our dear friend Leslie needed a ride to Miami.   4.  My sister Fred (real name Stephanie Jancis Nancy Nicholas Dawkins*) had moved to Madeira Beach, Florida, and somebody needed to deliver the family Xmas presents.  Last but not least, Carol Finlayson had asked us to rescue her sister.


*Mom & Dad thought Fred was going to be the last Dawkins kid and gave her all their favorite names still left over to give their kids.  However, Fred’s Uncle Bob – who already had heard her name was Stephanie Jancis Nancy Nicholas – peered into the bassinet upon her arrival home from the hospital (as a two day-old) and announced to the assembled clan “Looks like a Fred to me.”  She’s been Fred ever since – all her teachers called her Fred  and her husband does to this day.


There were many great things about Bob (who’s sadly passed on).  He was a clutterer and tall.  He was rich and he was kind.  He was a good frisbee and tennis player and taught me most my pool shots.  And he made me LOL.  The reason why tallness was a great thing has to do with the cluttering.  He was a pack-rat and the dashboard on his ten year-old Volkswagen Van was like the rings of a tree:  If you went ten layers down you’d find things from ten years ago.  By 1978 you had to be tall to see to drive.  The reason richness is on the list is because his wealthy family had insisted on buying him a new Volare station wagon for the trip as they didn’t believe the Volkswagen Van was safe.  Kindness because what finally got Bob to leave town (and give up on re-uniting with his ex) was Carol’s request to rescue her sister from a cult in Ormond Beach, FLA.

The cause of an upcoming domestic quarrel

The cause of an upcoming domestic quarrel

Eventually I ended up Amtraking it to Minnesota (from Seattle) because Bob was literally driving to the Ends of the Earth until he found a new place to settle down.  When we ran out of perimeter to the country in Seattle, and Bob was planning on continuing to Alaska, I bailed because – unlike Bob – I did know where I wanted to end up.  And it wasn’t because of a girl.  It was because Minnesota has had – almost forever – the best politics in the nation, and I had a Ten Year Plan to get elected to the Legislature.  Politics was my girlfriend.

Tomorrow:  First a Detour


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