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REMEMBERING Key West in the early 1960's


When money was scarce and you had the weekend off we (John Skondill, Richard Brown & et al) headed to Smathers Beach, across Roosevelt Blvd. and the Key West Airport. All you needed were a Swim Mask, Fins and a Hawaiian Sling (spear gun). The water there was shallow (waist deep) for approximately ¼ mile (give or take). After that it dropped off to an unknown depth, but there among the crevices were numerous Longouste’s …also referred to as Spiny Lobster I only knew them as Longouste by the locals. With a pound of butter and a couple six packs of beer, some drift wood you could have a FEAST. What a time that was. Somehow now if & when I order Lobster at a restaurant (which is VERY, VERY rare) it doesn’t taste the same as in back on Smathers Beach. Plus it was a hell of a lot cheaper back then. Things were so different in those days. In the evening you could also take a flashlight, net & pail and walk among the Mangrove Swamp Land, shining the light in to the water in the Shrimp’s eyes, paralyzing them and scooping them up in your net. Another cheap dinner on the beach. On a side note while shrimping with John Skondill we came neuromas FOR SALE signs in the SWAMP LANDS. We both laughed…who the hell would want to buy this land. At the time we both had the money. Years later when I took my wife and daughter’s on a week’s vacation trip to Key West those for sale signs were replaced with HIGH RISE CONDO’s… Che cosa mai sarà sarà.

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