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GREATER NORTH MIAMI HISTORIAN
Volume VI Number 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - JULY 2003

PRESIDENT SCOTT GALVIN - VICE-PRESIDENT GLENN O'HEARN - TREASURER BILL VALENTINE - SECRETARY MIJ SEZZIN
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JACKI BIGGANE, SETH BRAMSON, RICHARD BURR, BLAIR CONNER, INEZ COUCH, GWEN FERNANDEZ, RICK FERRER,
CAROL HELENE, TYRONE HILL, JOE LEONARD, TAD MOZYNSIU, JOYCE MUMFORD, BURNHAM NEILL, JANE QUINN,
JOAN QUINN, MACY SEZZIN, PENNY VALENTINE, ROSIE VOYCE
EDITOR BLAIR CONNER - RESEARCH GLENN O'HEARN AND JACKI BIGGANE

"Moon Over North Miami"

Compared to the activities of today, a 14-year old boy in 1944 did not have much to do for excitement. Today a kid opens the door and steps out into the today's world of the flashy skateboards and now the electric scooter. There are now motor scooters that can whisk you off to a game room, a fast food stop, or even a one on one basketball match at the park.

There is, however, one remaining 1944 mode of transportation that still moves the teenager around. Its use is not as intense as it was in 1944 but it still gets the job. That item is and was the bicycle and it is the instrument that gives the teenage boy his first real taste of freedom. He can nose the bike out into the wind and cruise out into the neighborhood far beyond the sound of the parental vocalizations. With his free wheeling bike he is entering uncharted waters and challenging the social environment from a new perspective. FES own! The bike will introduce him to things that he never thought about and it will take him places he had always wanted to go.

In the spring of 1943 the bicycle introduced me to the world of economics with a paper route. This era was a different world and the social circumference of the teenager may have been expanded further out then than it is now. It was not unusual for a North Miami bike rider to go as far as the Sunny Isles Beach. It was a different time and a different world. There was no big traffic problem and pedophiles were executed or sent away for life and not sent to retraining only to return to the streets.

Going to the beach on a bicycle had little danger and it was a common occurrence. I was on one of those bike and summer beach excursions when I came to understand why someone would write a song like "Moon Over Miami." The words to that song really don't get the job done, but if you have seen the full moon on Miami Beach you can appreciate the need for such a song.

Oh, I was an avid bicyclist; everyone was a bicyclist during the war. If you weren't, you were on foot, as the three gallons of gas a week for your car did not go very far. As a matter of fact kids, as a general rule, did not have a car for school. Would you believe that there was no parking for students on the school grounds?

Sunny Isles was a great beach and it was bereft of hotels. Howard Johnson, I believe was the first one and it did not arrive until after the war. Except for the county beach at Bakers Haulover there was nothing but unencumbered open beach. There was more to do at the beach in those days than swim and picnic. Beachcombing had become popular and there was a lot of open beach between the Sunny Isle's pier and the cut at "Haulover".

The German submarines were sinking tankers and freighters within a mile or two of the Florida coast. The night lighted Florida coast provided a backlight that set the ships up like ducks in a shooting gallery. At this time -1942-44 -- it was not an unusual sight to see a ship on fire and sinking somewhere along the Florida coast. After the war the German Submarine Commanders who worked the Florida Coast said all of the efforts of the defense programs to dim lights on shore was of very little value. They also said that the cloudless skies and the majestic moon over the Florida coast aided the Nazi raiders and the Florida coast was a long circus of lights from Jacksonville to Miami Beach.

My buddies and I, on several occasions, did a little beachcombing for the junk and the freight that washed ashore after a sinking. I would believe that every household in North Miami had a supply of six to eight life preservers from the many ships that went down off the coast. One time we salvaged several cases of Scotch whisky that were crated up in large wooden containers. My uncle took over the final part of that salvage operation with the tow truck from his auto repair shop in North Miami. We received about twenty-five dollars for the find and effort. I think we got short-changed. Maybe not? We did not have the transportation or market knowledge to unload the stuff.

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