A lot of memories from 50 years in South Dade

A lot of memories from 50 years in South DadeDo you remember? If you remember…

Well, Dearie, you’re much older than I!

I moved to this paradise called Florida back in June of 1968? I can remember calling my wife who was still in Boston as we prepared to move, and telling her that I have finally found a place to live with virtually no traffic.

Yes, I am talking about South Florida. Hard to believe, but that was the case, and coming from a congested town like Boston it seemed truly unbelievable. Of course we all know what has happened since, and maybe I should stop talking about it.

I can remember driving from my business on Biscayne Boulevard and heading south to what was Cutler Ridge, Perrine — or whatever they called it at that time. I would simply head south and kept going until I found my home.

I-95 had not been built nor was it needed. I remember looking over towards downtown Miami when the tallest building in view was what is now called the Freedom Tower. Originally it was home to the Miami News newspaper. There were a few other buildings that were visible but most of them less than five stories high.

I must admit that I am quite overwhelmed now seeing the skyline totally covered by huge buildings which apparently have or will have thousands of people living or working in them and trying to find their way through the traffic.

I somewhat envy those with the beautiful balconies from which they can see from the Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean. I think I would sacrifice some of the traffic woes to be able to have that view.

It wasn’t that long ago that Florida’s Turnpike was extended all the way to Homestead from its original termination point at Golden Glades near the Broward County line. When the section south of Bird Road was first opened we were advised that no automobile traffic would be allowed for some time, however there was no reason that you couldn’t ride your bicycle.

I think one of my more adventurous bike rides was going from Cutler Ridge to Bird Road on a new six-lane highway with no one beeping at me or even complaining that I was using the road.

For many years I was a traveling salesman in Florida selling all kinds of electronic stuff. My best customers were (I hope you remember these): Kennedy and Cohen, Kaufman and Roberts, Jefferson’s, Gold Triangle, Jordan Marsh, Jackson Byron, Burdines, Lurias, Richards, and a host of others that perhaps you remember as well.

Have any of you ever watched Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller? One of the best stage creations and movies that I had ever seen. Why was this so important to me?

One day as I was standing in my doorway ready to leave for work, with my sample cases and catalogs ready to go, my wife came by and asked,” Why are you just standing there?”

My answer was, “I simply have no accounts left to call on.” If you remember, Willy Loman in the above named play, you will have a picture of me at that time. Virtually all of the large retailers left in this area did their buying from corporate offices far, far away.

Schools were primarily to serve individual neighborhoods and students weren’t being bused and shuffled to various locations to fit their particular needs or special programs. This as you know has contributed to some of our worst traffic woes.

I still can remember when a telephone was plugged in to your wall at home making it virtually impossible to lose or drop in the toilet as happens with today’s modern phones. I never had to remember nor ask where my phone was, because it was always plugged in to the wall in the same place.

If I wanted to communicate with someone other than by phone I could actually handwrite a letter, place it in an envelope, bring it to the post office, and have a man who carried a little leather bag over his shoulder take it to the person to whom it was addressed.

I never found it necessary to ask whether these people had received my letter because who wouldn’t open a written letter left in your mailbox? Of course now, with the hundred or so emails I receive each day, I can almost assure you that I have not yet looked at your correspondence, Sorry folks, but that is the way it is.

My TV was a simple device with two, or perhaps three channels to select from, a volume control and a power switch. Even I could handle the technical end of operating my TV.

One day as I was walking through Costco, being the wise guy that I am, I called out to my wife and told her that they actually had books printed on paper that you could take home and read. Naturally she made every effort to disassociate herself from me, but fortunately another gentleman standing next to me commented, “What a great idea! You can take them home, copy them into your computer and read them that way.” Oh, well!

Remember when you weren’t feeling too well and you went to visit your doctor who had a full set of medical necessities including a tongue depressor, hammer, thermometer and perhaps a bottle of aspirin.

Now of course it becomes necessary to visit an urgent care center, which is usually easy to find because they are on every street corner in town. Once you go there you will be offered an MRI, ECG, EKG and a few other very expensive tests, plus a prescription for some expensive pills that eventually will make your headache go away.

Give me back my old fashioned doctor…please!

If you actually are old enough to remember some of this stuff, don’t worry, because your memory will soon begin to fail and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.

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