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I did come to Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1947. My mother woke my brother and me one night and said, We are running far away from your father. He was very abusive and would beat her black and blue many times. Mom was afraid that he would kill her one day when he would come home drunk. She saved us all. To all you boys, please remember that a good man will never strike a woman or hurt her in any way! Many of these experiences are taken from my early years in Daytona and Ormond Beach. Harold is my lifelong friend. Susan is my cousin. She never had any of these experiences. I just think she is a great girl, and I wanted to include her as a main character to share in this story. Please, I do not recommend that any of my young readers try to catch snakes or alligators. These are wild things. To my older readers, what are you thinking? They are extremely dangerous and can and will kill you. Do not do it! Growing up in Florida was great. We had no air-conditioning and no TV. We had just a radio, and the mystery stories came on at night. That was our only entertainment. The movies cost nine cents, popcorn was ten cents, and sodas were five cents; and you could earn extra money by collecting cola bottles for the two-cent deposit. We only wore shoes when we went to church and school.
It was a cold and stormy February night in Detroit (1939) when Joe was born. Joe was eight years old in 1947 when his mother ran with her two boys from an abusive husband to Florida, where they would be out of his reach. It was then that Joe vowed that he would never treat a woman like that. Growing up in Daytona Beach was the best. This area offered everything that two boys could wantthe ocean, the beach, a river for fishing, and the woods for hunting and camping. As a young man, Joe completed high school and was active in the drama club. He won the best actor award in the state of Florida in 1958, the year he graduated. Joe took up scuba diving to explore Floridas underwater caves and offshore reefs. Then Joe and a couple of diving buddies went to Cuba. A week later, Fidel Castro rolled into Havana with the full rebel army. They were glad to get out of there. Joe took two years of college before the open road called. He and his best friend took off in Joes MG sports car, heading for California. This trip lasted three months. Joe decided it was time to get serious about life when he came back. He started an import auto parts business. He met Madalyn, and he knew she was the girl for him. He later sold the auto parts store and started working for Southern Bell Telephone Co. as an account executive for thirteen years. He was successful in opening the largest fireplace store in sixty-nine countries for thirty years. Joe is now seventy-seven years old and retired in Ormond Beach, Florida.