really excited me was: Wow! She really had asked me to ride with her; this was a
new experience for me, as I was usually the one who was pursuing the lovelies.
Mostly I was pursuing and panting, never really approaching the point that I was
fervently thinking about. That evening we pedaled along 125th
westerly toward the grassy knolls along the waters edge of the canal.
Oh, I had seen her almost everyday and I knew she was the loveliest girl around. She did not go to school with me at Edison High; she went to St. Peter and Paul all the way across and on the other side of Miami in the high rent district. She was from another world, not because she was a catholic but because of the social status. They had just moved up to Biscayne Park from one of the ritziest section of Miami that was next to Deering Estate and now called Vizcaya. North Miami had a lot of Catholics. All of my cousins and most of the other north end Catholics went to St Mary's School. Come to think about it, I hung around with more catholic kids and near Catholics than the Baptist and the Methodist ones. I classify myself as a near Catholic as my grandmother was one but some of her children had lost the thread.
Howard and this bike ride, however, were responsible for my introduction to the most gorgeous girl I had ever seen. My cousins were trying to recruit her for St. Mary's school and they had her over to their home regularly and were doing togetherness on a daily basis. I joined the togetherness program on my cousin's suggestion, hoping that maybe I could help influence her to join in with our (cousins) group of Catholics and us near Catholics.
From there we (the cousins and that certain other) had an afternoon fudge party, just friends, no real dates. What's a fudge party? That was when the neighborhood girls spent an afternoon using up their mother's chocolate, butter, and sugar and some times pecans, making delicious chocolate fudge. Sometimes this was a problem because the girls were blowing away sugar that was severely rationed because of the war. In the late afternoon as the fudge cooled, the boys appeared. I never knew how they (the girls) did that; bringing the boys around as the fudge cooled. Then, maybe I should ask, how did the boys know the fudge was cooling?
Like I said before, after the morning bike ride and later afternoon fudge, she said, "Why don't we bicycle over to the park after dinner?" I asked, if this was a group outing and she said, "No dummy, just you and me." Lightning had struck and I was paralyzed for an instant and I am sure I muttered something in the affirmative.
It was to be of those perfect nights. I had no idea that there was going to be a "Moon over North Miami" that night. Even the "Celestial Fates" above were watching over me. I was almost paralyzed, but my brain had not shut down. I had the newspaper carrier bags over the bike's rear wheel and a nice beach blanket in the carrier bags. It was a beautiful yellow moon and if we had been on the beach that evening, it would have been magnificent splendor. Even on the grassy knoll of the park it was breathtaking.
What really was breathtaking was that shortly I would be on the blanket with this beautiful girl. Don't get any weird ideas about kids laying around in the dark on blankets in the park after dark. This was summertime and dark wasn't until late, maybe 9:00 PM or so. As the evening moved along the beach blanket was spread and we sat and talked. Talking was such sweet rapture. She did not really talk but sort of whispered everything. I have no idea what she said but I still listened intently while being short of breath; that may have been mistakenly identified as panting.
I was somewhat stunned but I knew I was hearing the sweetest voice that I had ever heard. Near the end of the evening our faces were so close and then at this one instant, she turned a little so that our lips met. Oh My God, it happened, we kissed. What more can I say; the evening was wonderful and the ride home memorable. I really can't say memorable, as, I don't remember the ride home at all. This was not to be the last bike ride after dinner. It was to be the first of many, and that whispering voice on occasions haunts me still today. As the summer rolled on I became more relaxed. The end came, the summer was over and she was gone. She was gone to a school for rich (and this case so sweet) Catholic girls. It was called "Our Lady of Something" and was somewhere near Atlanta. She still remains an apparition and she moves through my mind every time I drive along Memorial Highway and the Park at West Dixie Highway or I step out and there is a full moon in the sky over North Miami.
Blair D. Conner 2003 and Printed Courtesy Conner Family History Association.
and directions for making "War time Fudge" by North Miami girls in 1944: Do not use this RECIPE unless you have a group of hungry boys and a few girls to sweeten the cluster. Active Ingredients: 2-Cups of granulated Sugar, 1-60z can of evaporated milk-, 2-1Oz squares unsweetened chocolate, a dash of salt, 1- teaspoon light corn syrup, butter the sides of a heavy pot (2-quart saucepan). Pop the above ingredients in the pot and cook over a medium flame (heat), stirring constantly till the sugar and chocolate dissolves and mixture boils. Cook to a soft ball stage (236 Degrees). Immediately remove from the pot from the stove/burner; cool to lukewarm (110 Degrees), without stirring, then add 2 tablespoon of butter without stirring. Cool to lukewarm 110 degrees, add a teaspoon of vanilla. Beat vigorously till it stiffens and loses it gloss. Quickly stir in pecans or whatever you like. Howard Bell used to like cherries but usually he got pecans. If you don't have any pecans or cherries don't worry it still will be good. Spread in a long buttered pan about 9X13 or what ever you have. You may need two pans of this stuff to keep the boys happy. In order that the sugar will not be missed, each girl should bring a little. Use a home where mom won't be in the way or one where she is out. Moms don't like boys hanging around and leering. Clean the kitchen immaculately and have some one smoke a cigarette or two to kill the chocolate odor and sweaty boys.
The North Miami Library is still in a growth pattern and space is becoming critical. As the incoming books, publications, and other media arrive, there has to be a constant assessment of space. Someone assess what needs to be maintained and what must go to make room for the demand of the current material. The Gissendanner collection with reference to the Interama Tract has gathered a lot of dust but very few scholars. It had to go into deep storage, or to the GNMHS. You guessed right. The GNMHS now has the collection and it is a great research source. Dr. Elton Gissendanner the former Mayor of North Miami kept a relative good personal file on what was happening as it happened with the Interama Project. We also have Gissendanner's collection or file on the Munisport activities as well; this came in at earlier date. We are expecting a historical room in the expanded off-site library that is in the preliminary plan of the project of Biscayne landings. With a historical room, the library can accommodate papers like the 'Gissendanner's Papers'. These are seldom-used files but they are important to research and are full of details.
Files such as these need to be housed in settings that can accommodate reading and writing. At this point in the GNMHS archive room that City of North Miami has so graciously permitted us to use, the problem is, "It's just archival." A scholar would be hard pressed to use it for study and note taking. We are up to our ears in files, photographs and other historical collections. It is hard to turn around in the place. On top of, the lack of space, water is seeping in with rains and we are bailing out constantly. What we have is appreciated. The City has treated us well. We need, however to keep in the forefront of this future "Biscayne Landings" development and the plans for a historical room with the new library project. It would not have to be as big and all-inclusive as the Miami-Dade's "Florida Room" but it may require more area than the Historical Room at the Miami Shores Library. We have a lot of records that need to be preserved not only for the scholars but maybe for attorneys. Our aerial photographs, the index of city ordinances and other data found in the old North Miami News Paper from the twenties could attract attorneys now and again.
Our new member register shows two new members this quarter, City Councilman, Michael Blynn and Ethel Heiss.
If the Greater North Miami Historical Society is to be successful in putting together a museum chronicling our past, we would be wise to take notes from the success of the city of Coral Gables. Recently, I read in Miami Today of steps being taken by their city to have the Coral Gables Museum up and running by the end of 2004.
Coral Gables is restoring the Municipal Building at 285 Aragon Avenue to house the museum. The 30,000 square foot building was constructed in 1939 as the old police and fire station. It will take close to $3 million to complete the project. _American Bankers Insurance Group has made a $1.25 million donation already.
More than just a traditional museum, the facility will have meeting rooms, book rooms, and galleries. The museum will wind through the entire building with a "storyline exhibit." The Museum Division of the Department of Historical Resources will manage the museum. This same group oversees Fairchild Gardens and Merrick House.
Though they still have much work to do, we here in North Miami can learn lessons from our friends in Coral Gables. As a new North Miami library is constructed in coming years, we will attempt to replicate some of their ideas, while creating a home for the priceless ephemera we have collected to date.
While we are on the Library, lets give them a little notice or yell about their big 'Annual Book Sale" that will be coming up on August 9th through August 11th, 2003, that's on a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. According to Mrs. Pat Manfredi with the "Friends of the Library" there will be for sale thousands of hardbacks and paperbacks at bargain prices; many like new. In addition there will be LP records, videos, puzzles, and other items for sale.
The categories of the books are varied. There is something for every one. If you have any books that you want to donate bring them in to the Library at 835 NE 132rd Street or call 305-891-5535 before August 9th, 2003. You won't get a better deal on a book. Some of big expensive books will be going for peanuts, of course, that's figuratively speaking.
During the 'Thirties and Forties' the moonlight and the spell of a tropic night lured sailboats and the Model A folks to the palm-fringed edge of Biscayne Bay at 123rd Street where night sailing and bird watching had become an increasingly popular sports" only later to be ruined by the developers of the concrete boxes and high powered "Three Holed Buicks of the "Fifties, Sixties and Whatever." You could break a bike wheel here at night and the land crabs would share your blanket.
Go To Greater North Miami Historian Volume VI Number 2 July 2003