Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Memories of Times Past in West Palm Beach

The Hut was an iconic West Palm Beach diner.  The picture is just as it appeared in a Saturday Evening Post photo from June 1946.  I loved this place.  I grew up just a few blocks from it and it was THE place to go after a day at the beach, or a trip downtown.  When I returned to West Palm Beach several years after I had gone away to college I was saddened to see it had been torn down due to expansion.  Sigh...oh well, "to everything there is a season" and I am glad the Hut was during mine. My childhood in West Palm Beach was during the golden years.  It was a time when kids still played outside until dark, you walked to neighborhood schools, you could ride your bike to the beach, you had rootbeer floats at the A & W rootbeer stand.  We did a lot of our shopping at the Palm Coast Plaza, especially at Christmas time and it was so exciting seeing all the people there and the decorations.  My favorite jewelry store was The Reef Gift Shop.  My very first charm bracelet and charm came from there and I thought I had arrived. Toy King, Murphy’s, Woolworth’s, Jackson Byrons were happening places back in the day. As whole families we would all go to the  Skydrome drive-in on Friday or Saturday night.  It only cost a few dollars for the entire car to go in.  Before I left West Palm the days of the drive-in were over and it had become a Saturday-Sunday flea market. I remember buying my school supplies at H.R. Davis' 5 & 10, eating breakfast at the Ranch Restaurant or Howlies on Saturday mornings as a treat.  I remember shopping at Fountains on Lake Ave, Burdines downtown,  and I remember when The Palm Beach Mall opened.  It was the very first one I had ever seen in my life and I thought we had arrived.  The first week it was opened my parents and I went to the mall and my dad danced across the little bridge in front Jordan Marshs(one of the flagship stores) with my mom to the Teaberry Shuffle.  I was mortified then...I give anything just to see my dad dancing with my mom today. My dad loved to fish and I remember fishing off the Southern Blvd. bridge and catching my first snook.  It took both my dad and I to reel that bad boy in.  I also remember Lake Okechobee and Lake Osborne and catching some of the largest bass I had ever caught in the deep dredged out holes in the north end. I also remember catching a shoe in Lake Clarke.  My dad laughed til he cried.  I remember taking airboat rides in the Everglades, I remember Topfers BBQ.  OMG that place was to die for.  It was a little hole in the wall place right across from Sears on Olive. She had three levels of heat sauces...mild, wicked and burny burny.  That was my dad's favorite.  We would get ribs and they would melt off the bone right into your mouth.  I attended my first concert at the Civic Center which was called the Leaky Teepee...because it looked like a teepee...and lord did it leak.  I grew and blossomed in Vedado Park, attended Belvedere Elementary, Conniston Jr. High, and Forest Hill High School.  Started my college days with my friends at Palm Beach Junior College.  I learned to surf at Juno beach. I saw movies at the Florida Theater downtown (that is where I fell in love with Elvis in Roustabout) and the Capri, which was right across the street.  I read books at the Palm Beach County Library, I swam at Lido pool in Lake Worth, I went to the beach in Palm Beach, I saw the constellations and Caroline Kennedy's kangaroo at Dreher Park.  One day...I grew up and left...and when I returned...most of it was gone.  The area of town I felt safe and loved in was now kind of slummy.  Everyone moved out past Military Trail (an area we thought of as country).  Now it takes an hour to get to the beach....or what is left of it.  The saying you can never go home does apply to me.  Physically I can return to the place I grew up....but nothing that I remember is there anymore....even the house I grew up in....that neighborhood is part of FAU's(Florida Atlantic Univeristy) sport practice field....sigh...time marches on.  Happy Sunday!


Starry said...

Karen, I just loved reading this post, I have never even been to America, but I would love to have been there at this time. The picture from the newspaper is such a treasure, as are all your memories.
All our nostalgic places will be different, but we do have Woolworths in common, and Woolies in my childhood still had public cafeterias and my parents always took me when we went to Perth or Fremantle. You can't get anything but groceries in Woolies these days, not that their jello cups and hot chips and gravy were ever so very great.... but they were part of many days out with my folks.
Thanks for sharing your special places, and for getting me thinking about my own.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I remember Woolworth's too!! Ours had an ice cream counter and I remember thinking they sold "everything".

I really do think it was better....way back then!!

Sharon Stefani said...

Hi...I remember 99% of what you went to the schools I did....I haven't been back....I remember them building the mall ...watching from a lock-up room at 45th street children's home.....great article....good for me to hear all the roads and stores and everything that I remember...thank you