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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble This!

Happy Thanksgiving to my Dear Readers!

I know you are out there because I do get phone calls and emails from people from all over the United States that dream about buying a place in Key West. I am thankful for those that come to my adopted home and buy from me.  Many of us have become friends after the sale and that is a second benefit of writing this little blog.

I have told this story before, but it is worth repeating on this day when I remember things and people for whom I am thankful.  I am so thankful that I read about Key West for the very first time in my life in a cover article in a long discontinued magazine called After Dark.  The author extolled the virtues and vices of a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean called Key West, Florida. The article was such a good read that I had to get out my atlas to find the place. It took me several years to actually make it here. After two weeks of baking my skin in the March sun and eating and drinking into the wee hours of the night, I had to return to my forever home in Denver, Colorado.  I did not want to leave Key West, but I had to go back to the cold and snow. If only, I thought. If, only. It took me years before I did it, but I eventually managed to buy a place in Key West and it is a decision that I have never regretted. 

I am thankful that I got to see many parts of Key West before so much of our town got so gentrified.  I love the old houses that still do not have air conditioning, or stainless steel, or granite.  I miss the days when dogs could sleep in the middle of Fleming Street.  I remember walking down a sidewalk one night under big mahogany trees. I noticed big old palmetto bugs lying crushed on the sidewalk. Those bugs are almost extinct now thanks to continuing spraying by the Mosquito Control District. I guess the juice they use kills more than mosquitoes-hope its safe for humans and family pets. 
Pool was relocated to waters edge

I am thankful I got to spend hours and hours laying by the pool at the old Atlantic Shores Resort. That place was a hoot!  For those who never got to go there, I'll explain the place like this. Atlantic Shores was located on South Street just a few feet west of Simonton Street. It was an "old Florida" motel with little rooms that extended out toward the waters edge where a huge pool and bar were located. People who stayed at the motel got to use the pool, but so did locals who would buy a lounge chair for the day or who would belly up to the bar and buy drinks and tells stories for hours. There was a long pier that extended further out into the water as well. On Sunday nights Atlantic Shores would host Tea By The Sea between the hours of 8 to 11. Music would blare and guests would dance on the pool deck and smooch on the pier. You could stand out on the pier and watch the lights on shrimp boats and pleasure boats twinkle. And you'd thank God you were in Key West.

I am thankful I had the nerve to leave my comfort zone and buy a place in Key West. I lived in Colorado my entire life, most of the time within a ten mile radius of where I was born.  Some people have no roots. Mine were too deep for my own good. 

 Finally, I am thankful for having met Judge Frank Jamison and his wife Joyce many, many years ago when I was a nerdy seventeen year old kid.   Joyce was the Secretary of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. Frank was running for judgeship along with Charlie Flett and Daniel Shannon.  I started the Jeffco Teen Dems in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson was running against Barry Goldwater.  We ended up having over a hundred members who participated in many different political events. We did a lot of door knocking for the three judicial candidates in addition to LBJ. Jamison and Shannon won, Flett did not.  Five years later after I graduated college Frank offered me a job clerking for him when I started to law school. That job helped make it possible for me to pay my way through law school.  I learned more from that man about being a man than I did the law. I learned how people in stress sometimes do dumb things and live to regret it, and how a man who judges their conduct does not have to judge them as people.  I called Frank and Joyce the day after the recent election. They were very excited and we talked about the old days when they and I were much younger.  I will be forever grateful they became a part of my life because without them, I would have never achieved the things I did in life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. We read it for many months and finally bought a house from Gary. I continue to read this blog for posts like this. I didn't discover Key West until after the gentrification, and while I love the town, I wish I could have seen it a little earlier. Thanks for the memories, Gary!


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.