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Key West, 1969

It was the summer of 1969. There will never be a year like 1969. It was the height of the love
generation. The beatles were at the top of the charts along with some of the greatest musical
artists of the century. everybody wss following Timothy O'Leary's advice and "tuning in and
dropping out". There were also a lot of "plastic hippies" around.. These were the ones who
were influenced by the gonzo media at the time.
Most of them were just looking to get some hippy nookie. There were other people too, like
charles manson who would soon destroy the summer of love.

I had just gotten married to Carole. We had met in a bar in key west called "the brown derby". It
ws mostly inhabited by navy guys. Carole's father was a navy chief petty officer who piloted ships
into Norfolk, Va's harbor. It was love at first sight. Our eyes locked and we could actually read
each others mind. I was drinking black russians all night and talking to her. We made
arrangements to meet the next day.
I awoke in my hotel room the next day and the first thing I remember is that I had fallen in love last
night but I could not remember where I was supposed to meet Carole.
I got dressed and went looking for her in the streets of key west early sunday morning. Key West
is a small town. We soon found each other on Duvall St., key west's main drag. She had been
looking for me too. We were never apart after that. We got married about a week later. We held
the reception before the wedding at Sloppy Joe's bar, a bar made famous because Hemmingway
used to hang out there.
After partying at the reception for a few hours everybody left and we started a procession of
hippies to the court house on our way to get married. We were married by a judge who at first
seemed shocked to see all the flower children in the marrying room. He sensed that something
was special about us and then married us. I did not have a ring while we weere getting married so
Susie Creamcheese gave me one to use. We have been happily married ever since.
Those were good times in key west. Carole used to go with me on the shrimp boat. We fished at
night and anchored up at daylight. Usuall a bunch of boats would ties onto us and come aboard to
smoke some reefer and eat french toast. I am talking about a lot of french toast and maple syrup.
After that everyone would hit the sack until nightfall, when we would start shrimping again.
It was early in the season and the few shrimp that there were were small. I needed to make the
boat owner, Joe ******** some money. He was my best friend and had just bought the boat I was
running. I started dragging at night in the "nursery". This was an area about 10 miles from the
key west sea buoy. It was forbidden to fish there by the state fisheries. Anyone caught fishing
there would be prosecuted. Nobody fished there because it was also a world warII minefield. It
was loaded with unexploded mines that could easily be caught in the nets.
I fished there, anyway. What I did was set a small blinking light attached to the top of a bamboo
pole to mark the beginning of the drag. I dragged for one half hour in one direction, then set
another blinking light to mark the dragging area. I took a chance but I made the drag without
catching a mine. For the rest of the trip I dragged without any lights on the boat. In ten days I had
the holds filled with shrimp. Everybody at the docks freaked out when they heard about the catch.
Joe wanted to go with us on the next trip which we made a couple days later. We repeated our luck
and success, with another full load of shrimp. That was the last time I fished in the nursery. I did
not want to push my luck by being greedy.
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