Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Shanachie Wants to Know

I puttered my way through most of yesterday, reading, doing some computer work, watched the rest of For Whom the Bell Tolls, napped. The weather has been that special Key West kind of good, cool and dry, clear skies, a comfortable breeze. Somewhere along the day, the thought that it's been some time since our last post intruded. I knew that ought to write something. We've been kinda busy, not that I'm making excuses. I began this post almost 24 hours ago.

Here's a link to the Trip Advisor page for Key West. Trip Advisor is this really cool travel planning site with lots of frank feedback from people who've actually visited the places listed.

The page of general advice to Key West visitors is mostly spot-on, good advice on what's good and what's not good when you come to pay us a visit. Remember, we're a small town here in addition to being a world-class destination.

I met a couple of visitors from Atlanta on Wednesday, young(er than me), at the Southermost Point. I went there to take some photos on the morning after the Key West City Commission put conditions on accepting the gift of seven life-sized bronze sculptures from the noted sculptor J. Seward Johnson. This was published by the Keynoter prior to last Tuesday's Commission meeting:

Artist Seward Johnson has offered to place seven life-size bronze sculptures at the popular tourist destination.

?This artwork would be titled ?New Friends' and consist of seven separate life-size bronze sculptures depicting two families on either side of the Southernmost Point buoy. When visitors pose for pictures at the monument, the sculptures would look like they were posing with them,? an executive summary says. ?The individual sculptures would highlight our community's diversity and consist of people from different ethnic backgrounds.?

The Art in Public Places Board supports the resolution.


Peggy Butler describes the back and forth among Commissioners leading up to the 5-2 vote to decline putting the sculptures at the Southenrmost Point.

I chatted with the Atlanta visitor couple for a few minutes about their impressions of Key West (they like it here as it is, it's quaint, not like Ft. Lauderdale or Miami), took a couple of pictures, then headed for home.

Friday I spent a couple of hours with a woman who has custody of the photo collection of Don Pinder, long-time staff photographer and photo-journalist for the Key West Citizen. She wants to establish copyright for the photos in the collection in Pinder's memory andperhaps to the financial benefit of his heirs. She gave me a copy of a small book self-published by a former neighbor of hers, Nilo Lopez, titledMy Memories of Old Key West: '30s and Later Years. Cayo Hueso Begins to Change.

Here's the Foreword:

After my first book was published, some people told me I had left some events out. I explained to them that I wrote about my childhood days in the late '20s and teenage years of the '30s, and that those things occurred in later years. So this book is about many Key West business places, well-known personalities of this city, other events and a little of my autobiography, to please the critics. Nilo Conrado Lopez. November, 1997

Here's a biographical note:

[,,] in 1959, I was arrested on gambling charges. My picture is in a book. The caption says "The Bad Guys". What we did then was what the State Lottery is today -- Cash 3 or Pick 4. We were adults. Sometimes I see minors selling the tickets at supermarkets.

And another:

Ninety percent of the Key West old timers believe in paying our debts. We do not file for bankruptcy. We mortgage what we have or sign notes until we pay what we owe. Also, when the word gets out that you owe money, people who you thought were your frineds give you the cold shoulder and avoid you. I know, because it happened to me. But thank God I pulled through and now I laugh at them.

And this:

I believe someone else should write about the later years and maybe things they remember from the 1930s until 1960.

Who is game? How about the '70s and '80s, even the '90s? If not you, who? If not now, when? The shanachie wants to know.

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