I was born in West Palm Beach, but my family moved to Miami when I was six - in 1940. Our first home was a downstairs unit in a 4 unit apartment building on Northwest 3rd Street near 19th Avenue. A long block down the street was the smallest store I have ever seen - what we would call a convenience store today, hardly bigger than my living room. It was a friendly place where neighbors went, but what I most remember was a bottled soft drink that you could get for three cents.

About two blocks the other way was where I went to school for the first nine grades - Citrus Grove. In those days traffic was light. It was safe for a 6-year-old to walk to school, which I did. They had a big field, maybe two blocks long, where we played sandlot football from maybe 3rd grade till we left for high school. We played tackle, but I don’t remember anyone ever getting hurt. We used to pretend we were famous high school or college players. I remember everyone wanting to be Johnny Lujack, who played for Notre Dame.

One of the guys in the school had an older brother named Yvonne Gunn who used to ride down 3rd street on his Harley Davidson, standing on the seat, no hands - arms spread wide. We’d always pause in our game to watch when he went by.

When I got to be 10 or 11, I used to roam a mile or two north and east of where we were living on Flagler Street and 18th Avenue every Saturday morning. I had what we called a “croaker sack”, which was a burlap bag like potatoes come in. I’d collect coconuts and load them in the sack. Coconut trees were everywhere, so it wasn’t too hard to find them. When I got 10 or 11, I would head back to Flagler Street. There was a tiny store across the street from where we lived and we called the Cuban proprietor “The Turtle Man”. This guy would pay me three cents for each coconut, so I usually had 30 cents. Maybe even 33 cents. That big bag of coconuts was heavy for a little kid.

But 30 cents was enough to go to the Flagler Theater, about a mile into downtown. In fact, it was enough to take my sister, Barbara, with me.

So, most Saturdays we’d walk down there to see a double feature - always cowboy movies. Tom Mix, Bob Steele, Gene Autry, Johnny Mack Brown, and Wild Bill Elliott were the usual offerings.

Mangos grew eveywhere. The good ones were called "Hadens" and the not-so-good ones we called "turpentines". Avocados were also around. And there were guavas, and kumquats and sour oranges with thick skins. You could usually find something to pick off a tree and eat if you were hungry enough.

Bugs were a problem. My mother was a most fastidious housekeeper, very, very clean. but still we had roaches and the occasional spider.

As I got a little older, about the 8th grade, I discovered girls. Our school held dances at the Republican Headquarters. You got to dance cheeck-to-cheek, and more important, body-to-body. It was very....stimulating.

Gene Autry


Plus, we got coming attractions, a cartoon, and a serial. The serials were the best part., They were always 12 or 15 episodes, and each one left the hero in desperate peril. I remember a bed of spikes being lowered, and when they were just inches from Smiling Jack’s chest the episode ended. We had to come back the next week to see how he escaped - which he always did.

Admission to the theater was only 9 cents. That was 18 cents for Barbara and me. Since I had made 30 cents collecting coconuts, we had money left. Next door to the theater was an ice cream parlor where we could get triple dip cones for just 5 cents.

This was long before television. Movies were the major form of entertainment. After we outgrew the Flagler, we started going to the Tower on southwest 8th street. Or the Tivoli, which, like the Flagler, was on Flagler Street, but closer to home.

I remember one night in particular. My parents and Barbara and I walked to the Tivoli to see YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. This was in the early days of World War 2, and I felt more patriotic after leaving the movie than I probably have ever since.

The Great Gildersleeve - Harold Peary

Fred Allen

William Bendix - The Life of Riley

In those days, everyone was patriotic. We saved tin foil. Meat was hard to get. Lots of things were rationed. We bought savings stamps that would be converted to war bonds when we had enough. We saw lots of war movies.

But, war or no war, we were still kids. Play went on. When summer came the sandlot football game turned to softball. We didn’t have teams - not enough players. So we played “work up”. You would start in right field and when the batter made an out - usually a pop fly - you moved to center field, then to left field, third base and so on, till it was your turn to bat. Often, there were not enough to have a catcher, so as the batter, you had to also serve as catcher.

We even played softball in the alley behind our house on Flagler Street. Third base was the trash dumpster.

Radio was big, too. Afternoons boys could listen to JACK ARMSTRONG, THE ALL AMERICAN BOY, or HOP HARRIGAN, or I LOVE A MYSTERY. Nights we listened to comedies like Jack Benny, Fred Allen, The Great Gildersleeve, The Life of Riley, Amos and Andy, Duffy’s Tavern and too many more to mention here.

Television was just coming in when I was a teen.  I remember standing on the sidewalk outside Mercer's hardware store on NW 7th Street at 27th Avenue and looking in the window at this little square box about 89 or 9 inches wide and seeing a blurry picture.  When I joined the Navy in 1952, at age 18, my family still didn't own a TV, but when I came home on leave, they had one.


Jack Benny and cast

Football was king at the Orange Bowl

The Orange Bowl

Girls played hopscotch, jacks, and skipped rope. Boys played dodge ball. We all played Kick the can. We played a game where we called out “Allee, allee in free” and everyone was supposed to come running in. I think it was some kind of hide and seek game, but I remember we would play it till dark and our parents made us come in.

When I was about 11 I started becoming aware of the sounds from the Orange Bowl, which was a couple of miles away. They were playing football and it wasn’t long before I persuaded my parents to let me go. I didn’t have the price of admission, so I had to go under the fence, or find some other way to sneak in. Lots of other guys were doing the same.

In fact, one of my proudest accomplishments was sneaking into and Orange Bowl Game on New Year’s Day. Security was so tight that I had to go hours before game time, then hide in the men’s room. Every seat was taken, but an Army colonel let me share his seat.

A few years later I sold Coca Colas at football games in the Orange Bowl. I got to wear a white coat. I would get a bucket of ten cokes for 85 cents and sell them for 10 cents each. I had to pour the Cokes in paper cups, then bring the bucket and empties back for another bucket of ten. I could usually make $2 or even $3 on a good night.

A 1948 Cushman like mine (but mine was blue)

A Whizzer motorbike like mine

About this time my dad bought me a bicycle and I got a paper route, delivering the Miami Daily News every afternoon except Sundays, when I had to get up about 4 in the morning because on Sundays it was a morning paper. Because the News was not nearly as popular as the morning paper, The Miami Herald, they frequently had contests to get new subscribers. More than once I won all the ice cream I could eat at the Puritan Dairy on Flagler Street at 14th Avenue. After getting my fill of ice cream, I could walk across the street where they had peacocks you could view through a fence. Once, I even won a ride on the Goodyear blimp.

Delivering papers was fun, but trying to collect the money was a chore.  It was seldom men that I dealt with, usually the housewives.  Often they would tell me to come back - they did not have the weekly charge of 40 cents to pay me.  Sometimes they would get behind, but I had to pay for the papers every week.  I made 12 cents a week for each customer.

It was dark in the mornings at 4:30 or 5 o'clock and in those days people had milk delivered to their front door in glass bottles.  Sometimes, I'd throw the Herald and hear the glass bottle breakl.  Made an awful noise when everyone else was sleeping - and it was something I had to apologize for when I made my weekly stop to collect.

When I was 12 I joined the Boy Scouts and learned to swim by swinging off a rope tied to a pine tree and dropping into a canal, then flailing about to grab a large airplane inner tube. From that point, swimming became a favorite recreation - a respite from Miami’s ever present humidity. My buddies and I swam in canals, in rock pits, in the Miami River, and we rode our bikes, quite a distance to Matheson Hammock, a scenic salt water beach, actually a cove off of Biscayne Bay. And a favorite spot was the beautiful Venetian Pools in Coral Gables. The last time I was in Miami, the pools were still there, looking as beautiful as ever.

When I started delivering newspapers, first for The Miami Daily News, and then for The Miami Herald for several years, I quickly developed an urge to own a Cushman motor scooter. I saved my money and got one. I was one of only a few guys at Citrus Grove that had one - which made me feel important. Nights, I would hang around with a crowd of teens on NW 34th Avenue.

After about a year, someone stole the Cushman. I quickly replaced it with a Whizzer motorbike, which I soon traded for my first car - a barely running 1931 Chevrolet. It was a real jalopy and I was only 15 (or barely 16).

Football was king in Miami in those days. I had dreamed of playing for Miami High since I was a little kid. There were 6 public high schools in the area but only Miami High, Edison High and Jackson High were considered important in the football realm. Coral Gables High, Tech High and Miami Beach High were only “also rans”.

Miami High was thought to be the premier football school in the state. Players like “Pistol Pete Williams” who went on to star for Navy, and Arnold Tucker who became the quarterback for .Army hailed from Miami High. Miami High usually played at least one team from out of state,

Miami High played Edison High every year on Thanksgiving Day in the Orange Bowl, and when I went there they had not lost to Edison in something like 50 years. But the game was a classic and every year drew huge crowds away from their holiday dinners. I don't want to forget to mention Miami High's "Million Dollar Band". They provided our fight songs and halftime entertainment and were so good they won lots of awards.

After the football games we had dances at Miami High, in the patio, under the stars. The Taylor Twins, two handsome young men, were the best dancers - fun to watch.

Miami was a much, much smaller city then. 67th Avenue was the end of the line on Flagler Street. There were no professional sports teams other than a minor league baseball team that never attracted big crowds. It was long before television. And the Orange Bowl was a famous venue, where one of 4 classic New Years Day games were played (along with the Rose Bowl, The Sugar Bowl and The Cotton Bowl). But we had the Orange Bowl Parade as well. And while the Rose Parade in Pasadena may be the granddaddy of parades, the Orange Bowl Parade was pretty special too. Unlike the Rose Parade, ours was held at night, so we had the benefit of spectacular lighting. It was a must see on New Year’s Eve for a great many Miamians.

But I digress. What I was getting to was that high school football was big. Crowds of 20,000 or more were common at the Orange Bowl for high school games. In fact, the year that Miami High finally lost a game to another city team was 1951, when I was a senior at Miami High. Andrew Jackson High beat us that year before a crowd of 48,000!

So, I yearned to play football at Miami High. But I only weighed 105 pounds when I reached 10th grade. I knew there was no chance I’d make the team there, so I went to Tech High, which was in downtown Miami. They put a uniform on me, but I never played in a game.

I took cooking and baking at Tech. I didn’t much care for it and I don’t think I learned a thing. I used to skip school frequently with the Reeves brothers. We would go to the Royal Theater in downtown Miami and enjoy a double feature.

In the eleventh grade I switched to Miami High. It was, and still is, a beautiful school, only now the large block in front of it, alongside Flagler Street, has long since been made a parking lot. In my day it was a lovely park with green grass and royal palms.

The architecture was stunning. Spanish style, I think, with archways, open walkways, patios, a real showplace. And they had lots of girls, something missing at Tech. By then, I had gone through the old Chevy and a ‘36 Plymouth coupe and graduated to a ‘39 Nash 4 door sedan. I had wanted a ‘40 Ford coupe which was a much desired car in those days, but my dad talked me into the Nash. It was kind of like being one of the few kids in junior high to have a scooter, because very few high school guys in those days had their own cars. I may not have been an athlete or in any of the clubs or student government, but I had a car. Good for my ego.

After school, at 3 o’clock, I’d meet with a couple of my buddies who also owned cars, Cliff Smith and Wally Wnurowski, to talk about cars and girls and football, but not for long, because by then I had finally quit getting up 7 days a week at 4 in the morning to deliver the Miami Herald, and had taken a job delivering telegrams for Western Union. I had to go to work.

For several months I worked out of the Western Union station on Flagler Street. I delivered telegrams in most of the office buildings downtown, but I often had to go into “colored town”. This was long before integration and the area between 6th Street and 14th Street, between about Northwest 2nd Avenue and Northwest 7th Avenue was where only black people lived. It was a little intimidating for a slightly build 17 year old white boy on a bicycle, but nobody was ever unkind to me there. I guess they realized I was only in their territory to do a job.

After a while I got transferred to the Miami Beach office on Sheridan Avenue. That was a better scene. I mostly was delivering telegrams to big fancy hotels like the Fontainebleau or the Eden Roc, and to a few wealthy homes from time to time. Once, I delivered at telegram to Ed Sullivan, but that was before his Sunday night TV show, and he was not quite as famous.

That was also when I discovered hotdogs steamed in beer at Lum’s. They later became well known at many east coast cities.

In the 12th grade I enrolled in a program called Diversified Cooperative Training, DCT for short. The idea was to take regular high school academic courses half the day, and to work somewhere in the business world the rest of the day to get practical on the job training. They got me a job at First National Bank in downtown Miami. I worked from 1 to 5 every afternoon, Monday through Friday. But all they had me doing was wrapping coins. I was making the money I needed to keep my car going and have fun, but I surely wasn’t learning anything. Finally, after several months, I went to the teacher and complained about my “training”. Apparently she said something to the bank, because they then had me sorting checks, which I did until I graduated. Some “training”.

But something good did come out of DCT. They asked if anyone would be interested in a job working Saturdays and Sundays at the Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village as a guide. The job would be to take groups of tourists, many who came up the Miami River on the “Seminole Queen”, through the village and explain the Seminole’s customs. But the big thing was to describe the alligator wrestling. It meant working seven days a week, five at the bank and two at Musa Isle, but it was a great experience that gave me confidence in public speaking that was beneficial the rest of my life.

One day, after the place closed, one of the Seminoles, Petus, asked if I would like to learn to wrestle an alligator. I agreed and climbed over the concrete wall and into the sand pit with Petus - and about a dozen other lethargic alligators. He selected one and showed me how to straddle it and hold its jaws closed. Then he told me to pull the jaws open and hold them open the way you did to show the tourists. At that point, I declined. I told him that was enough for the first lesson. I never went back for any further lessons.

At Miami High we had fraternities. They were illegal and secret, but we had them. My friend Wally Wrunowski was in one called Sphinx. Then there was one called Gremlins. I joined Phi Beta Lambda. You had to be a plege, just like for a college fraternity I suppose. You were tormented a bit by the brothers till initiation, when they took us out to a field and dumped old used motor oil on us. But the payoff was the houseparties that the fraternities and sororities had at the end of the school year. They were held at hotels on South Beach, which now is a very "in" place. My fraternity stayed at the Haddon Hall Hotel.


Musa Isle Seminole Village - artist's rendering

Musa Isle Seminole Village - photo

I finally got my ‘40 Ford coupe. But I only got to enjoy it for three months. Then I graduated, sold my car and joined the Navy.

But, before I end my reminiscing, I want to tell about downtown Miami. We always took the bus down Flagler Street to First Avenue. That’s where the dimestores where located. There was Kress and Woolworth’s and maybe one other. Dimestores were, I think, more or less the forerunners of K Marts.

On the corner of Flagler and First Avenue, the bus made a turn and went to Southeast First Street, where the bus stop was for heading back out of downtown - over the Miami River and headed west. At that corner, probably the busiest in Miami in those days, a police officer Sullivan, who came to be known as “Smiling Jimmy Sullivan” directed traffic. He became so famous from that seemingly simple job that he ran for sheriff of Dade County - and was elected.

My fondest memory of downtown Miami is the ROYAL CASTLE. It was located, if memory serves me correctly, on Northeast First Street around first or second avenue. It was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just a little walk-in place with a counter and maybe a dozen stools. No tables and no air conditioning, but a perfect place to stop in for a late night snack. The big draw was their hamburgers. They were small, grilled with onions and served on a warm roll. The price was 15 cents. They smelled heavenly, and they were delicious. You washed them down with “Birch Beer,” (root beer) served fresh from a tap in a frosted mug for five cents. No sales tax in those days . Twenty cents bought you a tasty meal.

There were six Royal Castles in Miami then, and I also frequented the one on Flagler Street near 12th avenue. A great place to go before or after delivering papers.

The most popular movie theater was the Miami. On Saturday nights they ran midnight movies. It was a very cool thing to go to one - although nobody said “cool” in those days.

Another theater was the Olympia. They had stage shows. I remember seeing my first life entertainment there, plus a movie, all for 25 cents. Then there was the State theater. I know it was on Flagler Street - most everything was in those days. I believe it was on the corner of First Avenue. They played a lot of detective movies. I remember the Charlie Chan ones. Charlie and his "Number One Son" were supposed to be Chinese, but were played by caucasians made up to look oriental. Couldn't get away with that in these politically correct days. And there were "Whister" movies. I think the star was Richard Dix. You never saw his face, just his feet walking.

And there was the Royal Theater, I think on SE First Street. In the 10th grade the Reeves boys and I frequently skipped school and went there to see a double feature.

Nearby was Jan the Magic Man, where you could buy all kinds magic items and tricks and gags like fake vomit or dog poop. Also close by was Mayflower Doughnuts, where their slogan was “Always keep your eye on the doughnut, not upon the hole”.

Burdines was the premier department store . It was great to go in there just to enjoy the air conditioning, a great reprise from Miami’s heat and humidity. And it always smelled so good in there.

A few blocks away, on Miami Avenue, was the town’s other main department store, Richards. Not as snazzy as Burdines, but their merchandise was cheaper. And, on Miami Avenue there were always a number of small shops. Some of them seemed to continuously be holding a “Going Out of Business Sale” for years on end.

There was a movie theater on Miami Avenue, too. I can’t remember the name, but I went there when I was only 14 to see “The Outlaw”. It was banned by the catholic church and my mother would have been very upset if she knew I had gone to see it. By today’s standards it was pretty tame, but in those days, Jane Russell’s cleavage was scandalous.

By the time I got to high school and had a car, we went to drive in movies. I remember one was on LeJeune Road. These were "passion pits" where we "smooched" - if the girl was willing. Mosquitoes were a problem at the drive-ins till they started spraying DDT.

While I'm remembering drive-in movies and smooching, we also used to drive down to Coconut Grove to "watch the submarine.races". That was a great spot for more "smooching", but again, mosquitoes could be a problem. Coconut Grove also had a movie theater where I went a few times on a Saturday afternoon, hoping to find a girl.

Burdines - Miami's favorite department store

Photo courtesy of Don Boyd
Photo courtesy of Don Boyd


A few other memories: Hanging out at drive-in restaraunts, particularly The Big Wheel on SW 32nd Avenue, where the car hops were on roller skates, Herald Boy picnics at Greynolds park, Beach parties at Baker's Haulover, Snapper Creek Boy Scout Camp, discovering country music at The Little Rebel on NW 42nd Avenue (LeJeune Road), discovering pizza at The Red Diamond, also on LeJeune Road, playing pinball machines at Bill's Breeze Inn on Beacom Boullevard, milkshakes in metal containers at Sheehey's Pharmacy, fraternity house parties at what is now the famous South Beach, Shirley's, next to Miami High, a favorite after-school hangout, and lots more.

All in all, I think Miami was a wonderful place in which to grow up. But in 1952 I joined the Navy. After four years I came back and went to The University of Miami, then on to The University of Florida. But after graduation and looking for work in Miami and not finding what I thought were ample opportunities, - I moved on to California. I still go back from time to time, but like Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “You can’t go home again”. Miami has had enormous changes since the 40s, but it is still a great city.

My Book

If you enjoy nostalgia, and if you are interested in motorcycles, you might like my book, OVER THE HANDLEBARS. It is a collection of short stories and articles most of which were first published in motorcycle magazines in the 1960s. I also have written two other books about motorcycling available from  You can read them on your computer for just $2.99.  Go to

And, if you enjoyed this hub, you may want to check out some of my others. I have now posted over 50 "hubs". Go to hubpages//dongately. To see them all, click on more.

Old Miami Photos


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Comments 63 comments

Julian Land 6 years ago

Don- that was a fantastic recalling of what I, too, experienced much of while growing up in Miami. Citrus Grove Elementary, the Royal Castle, the games kids played, the Reeves boys, as well as the history that occurred there, all came back alive to me. Thanks for a refreshing trip into the past that MADE MY DAY! Your now long-ago and far-away friend, Julian Land

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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for the kind words - I'm glad it brought back memories for you.

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Seen On TV 6 years ago

I grew up a Dolphins fan in Central Florida and my first game was in 1976. I recently watched a show about the early Dolphins and Canes and never realized how terrible they were. I think I came along at the right time. Thankfully I was never eaten at Lion Country Safari. Remember that place in WPB?

Candace Fuller Pfau 6 years ago

What awesome memories. Born in Jackson Memorial Hosptial in '46. My Mom went to Miami High and then Tech High or Lindsey Hopkins art school. That was in '40 a bit older than you. Do you remember the kids radio show that sang the song, That's the Day the Teddy Bears have their picnic?

Candace Pfau 6 years ago

Not sure why my url did not work up there. Thanks again for the Miami Memories. I remember my Grandma who lived near Flager taking me downtown and having tea on the rooftop of Burdines in the tea room. I remember a kosher deli downtown that had great Pastromi sandwiches. And I always got my photo booth pictures in the five and dime store. I have old Miami photo's on my facebook.

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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for sharing more Miami memories. I guess I'm older than you and younger than your parents.



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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

My high school was Miami High. Every year on Thanksgiving they played Edison in the Orange Bowl. MHS always won but it was a great rivalry and a great tradition. I would not have missed it. High school football in Miami then was BIG!. I remember one year when the MHS Jackson game drew a crowd of 48,000!

Don Moore 6 years ago

Gesu primmer to grade 5. Andew Jackson, Gables elementary, Ponce de leon thru grade 10, Gables High grad 52, US Air force Aviation Cadets to Command pilot until 63, Eastern Airlines early retire 87. No college, caint spel. Had a wonderful time reading your windings. Grateful that I happened upon your hub.

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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub. I had a friend from jr high and from Miami High named Pete Scott who was a pilot. I think he may have flown for Eastern Airlines. Perhaps you knew him.

Rabun (Ray) Harper 6 years ago

I was a Senior at Miami High during Fall 1947 and Spring 1948. I was President of the DCT Club. Miss Bush was our DCT leader. I won a scholarship to U.of Miami. We have many things in common. I am retired and live in Chatsworth, CA. not far from Santa Clarita. I have much more to share. Call me at 1-818-341-2099 and let's talk.

Rabun (Ray) Harper 6 years ago

Don,I was a Senior at Miami High in Fall 1947-Spring 1948. I was DCT Club President. Miss Bush was our DCT leader. You & I have much in common. I won a scholarship to U.of Miami. I'm retired and live in Chatsworth, CA. not far from Santa Clarita. I have much more to share. Call me at 1-818-341-2099 and let's talk. Ray

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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Hi Ray, Thanks for looking at my hub. I will call you.

gwen lightsey 6 years ago

What memories you brought back to me. I am 72, first job was paramount theater, then after work, mu usher boyfriend wld tke me to Royal Castle. I lived on 10th st and many other places as we were quite poor. I loved Miami. I worked at another close theater,it was a twin, can't been trying to locate kenneth heller, helen holder and few others. Thanks for brightening my life.Gwen Lighsey/palm harbor fl.on facebook

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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I'm glad I could stir up memories.

RL 6 years ago


Looks like we were neighbors. In 1945, my family moved from NYC to 1861 NW 6th Street in Miami. So, you were at 19th Ave and 3rd St and we were at 19th Ave and 6th St.

I started first grade at Citrus Grove in 1946. I guess you were entering the seventh grade at this time. Doubtful we knew each other, but perhaps you knew my brother Mike Lopez who was five years older then me.

My teachers at Citrus Grove were: 1st-?; 2nd-Ms Brown; 3rd-Ms Hutchinson; 4th-Ms Edwards; 5th-Ms Kroger; 6th-Ms-Campbell; 7th-Ms King. I cherished my years at Citrus Grove. During the 7th grade, my family moved west to 37th Ave and 11th St. I had to transfer to the new school in the area, Kinloch Park Junior High. I was not happy.

Your memories have sparked some of mine similar in nature. Like parking cars in the lot next to our house for many Orange Bowl events and frequenting the City Line grocery on 22nd Ave across from the school. Send me an email and we could share other events of those years.


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dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub and for your comment. I don't remember your brother but I might have known him. although I have a lot of memories of Miami and of Citrus Grove, at my age my memory is not as sharp as I might like. Of the teachers you mentioned, the only one I remember was Mrs King.

Arden (Art) Jensen 5 years ago

I grew up in Miami, born there in '46. I went to Citrus Grove elem. and jr. high. Then to Jackson. I spent a lot of time in motorcycle shops--my dad bought me my first motorcycle, a new 1962 BSA Bantam at Longs, where I later worked and raced with John Long the younger. I still have the Bantam. I also worked at Dade Cycle, which used to be Miami Indian. I remember Herb Neale, the Mustang shop on 54th st., the Triumph dealer on NW 7th st., etc. I now have a Yamaha SR500 bored and stroked to 585 and made into a sort-of imitation Brit single of the '50s. When I raced in the '60s and '70s, my favorite bumper sticker was "I do not care how they do it in California." It was good to read your memories

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dongately 5 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub and for sharing your memories. I had forgotten all about John Long. Was his shop somewhere near the river and maybe around 12th avenue? If you bring your Yamaha single out to southern California I will take you on some fine motorcycle roads.

Marilyn Clavelo 5 years ago

I love this account of your Miami..I grew up at 1937 N.W. 4th St. I went to Citrus Grove Elementary . My mom always took me downtown and we would eat at a Royal Castle on 1st street..right in back of Burdines. You brought all these wonderful memories back..and that little store...I was always there getting my cold Yoohoo..and candy. Are you on Facebook? I was born in 1961 and my parents arrived from Cuba in 1954. Thanks

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dongately 5 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I'm happy I brought back some memories for you. I was in Miami a bit before you, having lived there from 1940 till 1952 when I joined the Navy. Yes, I am on Facebook, but to be honest, I never look at it.

Steve McDonald 5 years ago

Thanks for your recollections. My memories started in Coral Gables in 1940.

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dongately 5 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub. Miami is still a great place, but I moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

chet skinner 5 years ago

I remember and did most of what you did on Sat. great times Royal Castle was the best We were always SAFE and free, in 1940's

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dongately 5 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub, Chet. Sometimes I wish I could turn the clock back for a little while and relive some of those wonderful times.

Ronald White 4 years ago

Don, we may have been 4th grade classmates in 1943-1944 in Ms Edwards' room at Citrus Grove. I lived at the corner of SE 20th and 1st Ave and walked every day to school with a classmate named Kay Creamer (or Kramer). Did you know her? Like you, I was a Herald boy (yes, collections were tough) and later was an usher at the Mayfair Theater on Biscayne Blvd, the only theater in town that had an intermission.

Shannon wiseman 4 years ago

Hello don, did you know a Delores bell back growing up?

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

No, as a matter of fact, I don't remember ever knowing anyone named Delores. But thanks for reading my hub.

Paul 4 years ago

Dear Don,

WOW! What a treat to come across your "Miami Memories". It took me roaring back to one of the greatest times in my life....growing up in Miami. While you were a few "semesters" (years) ahead of me, your details of your young years in Miami were spot on with my memories. I was moved to Miami from Mass when I was 4 with my mother, father, two older sisters and one older brother, The year was 1948. Lived at 321 NE 58th Terrace which at the time was a 50 year old 2 bedroom, 1 bath home. Very cramped as I recall, but we wanted for little. My father went to work for MacArthur Dairy as a milkman. I can vividly recall getting to go with him on his route on Christmas mornings so he could finish a little early to get home so we could open presents. The truth was we actually slowed him down instead but those memories of digging bottles out of the ice and carrying them to porches is so clear. Yes, it was Miami, but it could be damn cold in December.

My brother & I both did the Miami Daily News and Herald thing. Remember the big wooden baskets that slipped over the handle bars? And, occasionally packing them so full that you could barely navigated the bike, often tipping over and having to repack it.

While you were a diehard Stingaree, we were Red Raiders through and through. My older siblings graduated from Edison in the late 50's and I was there until 59 when my Mom & Dad moved to SoCal. I was heart broken as I was living my life long dream of playing football for Edison. I played on the JV team in my sophomore year and was devastated when I had to leave for California.

Of course, as with many things, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I finished High School in Van Nuys (Grant), went to Valley College for 2 years, met my wife, bought our first home in your current area (27954 Carvel Drive, Saugus) worked for Litton Industries from 64-78, moved to Oregon to start an electronics company, sold it in 1999 and retired here in Bend, OR.

But, back to Miami......I used to love The Venetian pools. It had to be the coolest pools ever. I recall riding the bus(es) out there for a special treat a couple of times a year with my sisters and brother. In the mid fifties, my sister contracted polio and my mother was convinced it came from the Venetian pools so that put an end to those trips. Do you recall a very unique theater called The Edison located on NE 2nd Ave around NE 62nd. I realize it was on a different side of town from you were but it was unique as it was an open-air theater with one half of it open to the skies while the other half was under cover. They only had shows at night and I recall tickets were $.04 on Sunday nights and the whole family went.

Thank you Don, for posting your Miami Memories. I was a wonderful place and a wonderful era. Stay well.

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Hi Paul, Thanks so much for sharing your memories, and for reading my hub. sorry to say, I don' t think I ever knew about the theater you mentioned. If you lived in Saugus you also spent time in another neat place.

Ronald White 4 years ago

Don, you never responded to my earlier post about a 4th grade classmate at Citrus Grove. Would you happen to recall any names from that group? I remember a boy named named Jerry and another named Kelly, and I really liked our teacher, Ms Edwards, but hated the flash card competitions when we were learning the multiplication tables.

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Sorry I slipped up on replying to your previous comment. I do remember a teacher named Mrs Edwards - probably the only pretty teacher we had.. I don't remember flash cards but I do remember memorizing the mulitplication tables up to 12 x 12

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

contiuing from my last comment which I inadvertently ended: I do remember a guy named Kelly Geiger. I also remember other teachers - Ms Proctor, Ms King, Mr Paige, Coach Greg. Classmates I remember were my life-long friend, Duke Reeves and his brother Herb. Also, Alvin Jones, Barnette Gunn, Phil George, Jack Wooten, Lou Albert and Billy Russell.

Ronald White 4 years ago

How about that, Don; we were 4th grade classmates at Citrus Grove! I can't recall many names, but I do remember Kelly Geiger; he was the boy who wore his cub scout uniform to school. Also a Jewish boy named Jerry, who was the first person I ever saw razzed because of his religion. (Where do 4th graders learn prejudice?), and a cute dark-haired girl named Kay, who was my next-door neighbor.

An earlier comment mentioned the Edison Theater. I went there often when we moved to NE 64th St. Only open at night, it was like a drive-in theater, but without the cars, and located in an area then called Little River.

I still remember listening to the kid's radio serials and their sponsors: Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy (Wheaties), Terry and the Pirates (Kellogg's PEP), the Lone Ranger (Merita Bread), and Little Orphan Annie (Ovaltine).

Thanks for stirring up Miami memories!

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for reading my hub and thanks for more memories, espcially about the radio sponsors - I made my living selling and writing radio advertising for many years.

Pat 4 years ago

I'm so happy to see your story. I was born in Miami and lived on S.W. 10th Av. and 9th St. We went to the Tower Theater on S.W. 8th St. It only cost 9 cents to get in and 10 cents for a paper cone of pop corn and a coke, also in a paper cone cup. We got 2 full length matinee movies, serial (Tarzan, 3 Stooges, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, etc.), cartoons and newsreel. We stayed the whole day. Once in a while we walked over to Flagler St. to the Tivoli Theater. One of my best friends dad owned Flynn's Drugstore on the corner of the Tivoli Theater. I'm sure you remember the newsreel showing scenes of WWII. We collected empty beer and pop bottles to get the money for the movies. We got a 2 cents a bottle. I could fill a page or two, but will have to stop for now.

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I collected coconuts and sold them for 3 cents each to take me and my sister to the Flagler theater on Saturdays for double features, cartoon, serial, etc. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Pat 4 years ago

I guess I'll have to keep coming back. I'm glad my first post was accepted. I wonder if there is anyone out there who remembers Conk Hill. These were the lobster fishermen who lived down the block from me. They were located at S.W. 11th Av and 9th St. They're traps were always in their front yards and I hung out with some of their kids. When they came in with extras we sold them door to door. We put them in old Easter baskets and charged 10 cents for 1 or 5 for a quarter. They would give 25 cents at the end of the day. I think what made it harder is, we only had ice boxes back then and you had to eat them quick, let alone sell them quick.

Jack Stivera 4 years ago

I am writing a novel and would like to know what reading primer was used in Miami schools in the early 1940's. Dick and Jane?

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dongately 4 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Sorry, I have no idea.

la China 3 years ago

Love the site. Does anyone has any pictures of the 1958 Orange Bowl

Parade? I was on the Richards Dept store float but have never seen any

photos of it.

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dongately 3 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I have no pictures but I am pretty sure that was the year that I sat with a few guys on the roof or somewhere near it of the Olympia theater to watch the parade. A guy I knew slightly, Butch Rice, has just bought a

new Chevrolet hardtop.

Bob77 3 years ago

Great memories. The radio show with the themesong about teddy bears was Big John and Sparkie.

Bob77 3 years ago

Still thinking about the old days in Miami. How I loved it. We moved to Miami in 1945 when I was two. We lived on sw first st near tenth ave. I went to Riverside elementary and Riverside baptist church. Danced an indian dance in the Orange Bowl with a bunch of other kids. In the evening we would walk over to Flagler st and watch a tv in the store window. They had an outside speaker for viewers like us. I loved Kress store downtown. They had a cafeteria on the mezzanine and you could sit up there and overlook the whole store. Also remember taking the jitney over to Miami Beach for a quarter. Even loved it when the draw bridges on Flagler or First st opened and we could watch the boats go along the river.

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dongately 3 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for sharing - you brought back more memories.

penelope lubar 3 years ago

Good Grief, Gately. It's you. I was looking up something else and came upon your HubPage. I was sorry you were not at last year's reunion. I was really looking forward to seeing you. Are you well? I remember you so well from our evening hang-outs, the Cushmans, motorbikes and the occasional car. We had the best of Miami. Sorry it is not the same now. Love Penelope, (Penny)

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dongately 2 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Hi Penny, yes, I am still alive and kicking - and riding motorcycles.. I'm glad to learn you are too.

It would have cost a good bit to come to the reunion at MHS and I did

not think I would see anyone I knew. My buddies all died. The last one,

Wally Wronowski just died last November.

I don't know if I ever told you this true story: When my second wife and I moved in together I proposed a toast to the greatest gal I ever knew.. Her name was Lin, and naturally she, and the friends who had been helping us move, assumed I would be toasting her. Instead, I said "Here's to Penny Becker, my girlfriend when I was fifteen."

She had a good sense of humor and we laughed about it for years.

Marcia Sperber Arrendale 2 years ago

Hi Don, You really hit home with your article. I moved to Miami when I was 4 yrs old (1945) with my Mom & Dad and 2 yr old sister to Miami Beach. When I was 6 yrs old, we moved to and spent a number of years living in a hotel in downtown Miami. It was the Rice Hotel located above Kirby Tuttle Store, Philpitts Music Store and Roland, your Hatter just up the street from Walgreens. My sister and I went to Gesu church and to

the Royal Castle, caty corner from the church. Our playground was all over downtown Miami from Bayfront park and the 5th Street Pier to Lummus Park. Channel 4 WTVJ was a favorite of ours and Ralph Renick was a good friend, who always had a welcoming smile when we would pop into his office. We knew Alec Gibson and Bonnie, and also remember when some of the women broadcasters started. Ann Bishop was a favorite also...

The holidays downtown were a thrill, especially the Santa on the outside of Burdines and the rides on the roof. We watched the New Years Eve parade every year on the porch of the Rice Hotel. I went to Riverside Elementary by bus every day from the back of Woolworths 5 & 10 up until the 6th grade, when my parents rented an apartment on NW 19th Ave and 3rd St.(sounds like the same one you lived in) in 1953. I went to Citrus Grove 6th through 9th grades even though after 2 yrs in the apt, my parents bought a duplex and we moved to 20th Ave and NW 4th St.

By the way, that little grocery store was Bob's. I loved the neighborhood and City Line Grocery with Sunny and Art. I also worked at the Sundry on the corner, as a soda jerk... I continued on to Miami High and had a wonderful time. I graduated in 1960... Regards, Marcie

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dongately 2 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for sharing your memories. So, where do you live now? Not many oldtimers stayed in the Miami area.

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dongately 2 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Thanks for sharing your memories. So, where do you live now? Not many oldtimers stayed in the Miami area.

penelope 2 years ago

Hi Gately. Sorry you are not closer so we could re-live

all those great memories of our days at MHS. I don't often

go to the monthly alumni meetings. They all seem to have

the same mind set as in the 50s, racist, sexist, anti-Semite,

and anti gay. Most of them do not remember me as I, like you

worked all through high school. And the only boy I ever dated

from school was Allen George! Go figure. Anyway I am in

pretty good shape for an old broad. Hope you and yours

are all well and happy. And I tell that story of yours about your engagement party often. What a great wife you have.

Love to you, Penelope (Penny).

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dongately 2 years ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Actually, that was my second wife - the "good one". I am now on the 3rd wife - "the great one" Been with this one 25 years so I guess she is a keeper.

penelope 2 years ago

Good for you guys. Keep on keepin' on. Stay healthy, take your vitamins and let's show 'em what we octogenarians

can do!! Good grief, we're octogenarians! Love, P.

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bayshore1932 21 months ago

Hello Don, Stumbled on your site and love it. At ten years old in 1942 family moved to Miami. My Aunt went to work operating a day care nursery for Tycoon Tackle owned by a family friend, Frank O Brien. Tycoon Tackle was converted from fishing tackle company to producing wing struts (I think) for the war effort. Tycoon Tackle received numerous awards from the navy for excellence The nursery was necessary for the children of mothers working for Tycoon Tackle. The nursery was named Childrens' Cottage.

We lived temporarily in a two story apartment house close to the corner of SW 8th and 12th Ave before moving to 1260 SW 5th St. I went to Riverside Elementary and Ada Merritt Jr. High. and one year at MHS.

We loved eating at an outdoor restaurant called "Kitty"s with a large awning, counter and stools. It was next to a Margaret Ann's grocery store on SW8th where we shopped.

I made great friends with several fellows who all lived on SW 12th Court across from where we lived. Chip Rogers who became a Lieutenant on the Miami Beach Police Dept and Butch Rice who flew for Eastern Airlines and several others and Buster Wooten of whom I have lost track.

Butch's dad was a captain of the Miami PD. Mr. Rice had several slot machines in basement that were confiscated from illegal gambling operations that were common in Miami at that time. The three of us remained close and in touch even though I moved to California in 1950. They have since passed away.

Like so many others I had a Miami Herald route and picked up my bundle early every morning at the Royal Castle on Flagler and 12th Ave. I have never forgotten the Royal Castle. I loved that place. One of my Herald customers was Jack Kramer (a very famous tennis player) who I remember gave me a very nice tip at Christmas. I had the wooden basket for my papers and I got pretty good at folding triangular biscuits which made it easy to toss to the customers doorstep.

We kids would go to the Tower Theatre on SW 8th st on Saturdays to see the monster movies. When the monster (Frankenstein) crashed through a door or a wall someone would always shout "Collect for the Herald" and it made everyone laugh hysterically.

As we got older we had Cushman motor scooters and naturally we raced them. We shaved the head and changed the gear ratio to get more speed.

We went all over and of course chased girls at the Venetian Pool. We spear fished on the keys with a piece of Bamboo and surgical tubing and metal spear. We spent a lot of time at the beach at 21st and Collins next to the Shellborn Hotel. The Roney Plaza was just two blocks away.

There was so much more but time forbids. It was the best childhood anyone could have and I had the very best of friends. I'll never forget my time there. Thank you Don for making this site available. I live now in Santa Rosa, CA


Andy 21 months ago

Hi Don,

Your memories are really interesting and you may be the right person to answer a question for me. In the 1960's there was a hotel where Indian Creek and Collins Avenue almost meet, a couple of blocks below the Fountainebleau. lived in Miami Beach, bumming around after high school in New York, from 1963 to 1965. I spent a lot of time at that hotel (thanks to an old girl friend,) but can't recall the name. Does it sound familiar to you?



(845) 633-2044

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dongately 21 months ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I left Miami in 1960 and before that never spent much time in Miami

Beach. If I had to make a guess I would say maybe the Eden Roc.

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but thanks for reading my hub.

Penelope Lubar 20 months ago

Hey Gately,

Things are pretty much the same here in Miami. Too hot and

too dry for June and dreading July.

Last month I went to the monthly alumni meeting. I sat

next to Al Quentel and Phil George. We actually had a

good time until some jerk stood up and disparaged our

President by calling him a black baboon.

I don't think I'll go again this month. So sad.....

Love, Penelope

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dongately 18 months ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

Monthly meetings - that's a surprise. I would not think there would be that much interest, or that many people still alive. Are these meetings

just for the class of '52? If you see Albert Quintel and/or Phil George Please give them my regards. I still ride motorcycles frequently. I have 3 - two Triumphs and one Yamaha. And this week I am going on a

waterski trip. I don't ski anymore but ride the wakeboard and really enjoy a water toy we call an Air Chair or Sky Ski. For more info, go to my hubs -.

Penelope Becker Lubar 18 months ago

Hi Gately, Penelope here. Sad to say that I did go back to the

lunch meetings and I did sit with Al Quentel who was not well, and Phil George.

However, Al died a few weeks later. I have not seen Phil since then. The lunch meetings are for all years and some of the later graduates do hold an alumnus meeting after the lunch. There are fewer of us old timers each month. However there are still some real old timers who come every time. Some from the thirties. And I did sit with Pistol Pete at a dinner we had

at Miami High last year. He was in good form.

Keep well and keep writing. Love, Penelope

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dongately 18 months ago from Sana Clarita, California Author

I assume the "Pistol Pete" you were with was the same "Pistol Pete Williams" I referred to in my hub. If I remember correctly, his number was 33, and he made me a football fan. He must be close to 90 by now. I would love to meet him. If you would like to communicate further, I suggest you use my email This hub should be for more general use.

Bob McFarland 3 months ago

Hi Don,

Your story is amazing. It could almost have my name at the end of it. I have read it twice including the comments. You had a 40 ford coupe, I had a 40 ford sedan. We went to the same theaters, parks etc. You went to MHS and so did I. Pete Williams was a senior the year I started. Arnold Tucker and Bruce Smith had both graduated by the time I started. I went to Shenandoah Junior High School in the 7th grade and Shenandoah Park was just a few across the street. The coach at the Park was a young man named Al Rosen who later became the 3rd baseman for the Cleveland Indians.

I was born in Miami in 1930 at Jackson Memorial Hospital. I worked as an apprentice printer at the Miami Herald. I moved to Houston Texas in 1950 and still live there. I wouldn't trade my years growing up in Miami for anything.

Once again, thank you for the in-depth article you have written and thanks to all of the people that have responded to it.

Don Gately 3 months ago

Thanks for reading my memories. It is nice to know there are others who also Cherise the same memories. Miami was a great place to be in those days.

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