My college days in Florida USA-ERAU

I was visiting Florida since 1973 from my home state of New Jersey. When it was time to choose my university studies, leaning towards a career in aviation ,hopefully with an airline, and by reference from a friend who was going to the US Navy, I heard of ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida ,USA.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship or love with the state of FL. I was admitted to the school fairly quickly and arrive at Daytona Beach, ERAU campus by August 24th 1977. In time to get me into dormitory No I (later call Doolittle) and began freshman classes.

I was totally new to the place, the area, the habits, so my first year spent going to the beach, “the worlds most famous beach” almost daily, becoming a beach bum ::) Going to the Daytona Connection, Mocambo, Big Mamma, and Oyster Pub greatly enhance my feeling for the area.  Seeing my first Spring Break in the spring of 1978 was awesome, never seen so many girls in one place !!!! I quickly learn the best way to enjoy the area is to have your own place off campus. The school has limited space on its campus dormitories so changing was easy and the area landlords were nice to us, we had a nice “reputation”.

My second year or sophomore, I was already renting a house by Winchester St, Holly Hill an inland community just to the north of Daytona Beach. This was a 3 bedroom home so I found myself 2 roommates to share the cost, and have a whole room for myself, plus lots of more freedom. Great place to study too, the school demands were very heavy, focus on learning and little space for entertainment or sports inside of it. I was on the Aviation Management degree curriculum for a BS=bachelor of science degree.

While hanging around a field that look like a soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and ask me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower divisions, played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately sign me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran,Portugal, Venezuela, Spain,etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played NCAA div 1 and 2 team on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools. I did played in the Central Florida Soccer league out of the Daytona Beach YMCA complex (which was actually in the city of Holly Hill).

My third year began at a new rental house closer to the center at Magnolia Avenue and Charles Street. It had two bedroom and the other was rented to a friend from the soccer team so we both can have same interests. School was taken its toll as the subjects became more complicated and more study time was needed, however , the soccer continues and trips to the beach and other parts of Florida. the Razzle disco was on as well as the country music place Finky’s on Grandview. The weekend trips to the Nickels alley place in Gainesville home of the Univ of Florida was great escapades with lots of fun dont want to go into it ::) I was checking out the same chain Nickels alley in amelia ave, Orlando too as well as going down to Miami at Tiffany’s in the Sheraton at Bal Harbours, and Limelight by the Hollywood dog track area. Participating in spring break activities was great, in addition to our Spring FLing festivities on campus, I visited the Univ of South Florida River riot festivities by the Hillborough river. As well visiting my family in the Miami area for the weekends, the Christmas breaks were still spent in New Jersey with my parents, and some summers too.

My last year or senior year, again was the time to try another housing, and closer to the action, so I moved to a two bedroom house in Hollywood ave and Main Street, Daytona Beach surrounded by bikers Lol! My neighbors were the Pagans gang from NJ and I guess my car plates were from NJ so they were friendly ::) I could use their hoses to clean my car Lol!!! I was by this time very involved in the school with the Management Club, and was its Treasurer my last year there. Under me and with the help of Professors Rudi Knabe , our club advisor, William Chamberlain ,our accounting prof and Peter de la Rosa, our Finance prof; I was able to implement a scholarship doing fund raising events to help pay our members book expenses while investing the proceeds with Merrill Lynch, and did established the club as a non-profit organisation.

The soccer/football continues at the club level playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in FLorida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.  Playing with the Daytona Beach team in the amateur league as well. Another popular activity was playing intra mural volleyball and softball where we finish second place on both sports as the Management Club team.

The school had gone thru some transformation and new buildings were erected, the student body reach 5000 on campus and they had purchase another campus in Prescott ,Arizona, (near Phoenix). The city had some lesser crazy spring breaks as the city fathers decided to put more efforts on family vacationing. Of course, the Daytona International Speedway was always a great event to go to, and my Chevy Monte Carlo was a sight in fire red in and out Lol!!!

Graduation came eventually on April 24 1982 at the Peabody Auditorium ,Daytona Beach, where 396 of us graduated with college degrees. What it seems so yesterday, it became a reality we were now going into the “real world”. I went back to New Jersey for work at EWR  Newark International Airport, Newark, with an outfit called Butler Aviation an FBO doing ticketing for charter flights from England and Greece as well as the UPS second day air delivery contract. This only lasted for about a year, as I realised I missed Florida !!!!!

The following summer I took myself my spring break visiting the area alone, and then on January 5 1985 arrived for again this time living at Seaside Drive, Ormond by the Sea (North peninsula) on a house my parents had bought for their retirement ::) Beach bum boy was using it first Lol!!! Living was great as I could use the school library ,and became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986.

My jobs went from the initial stint at the ABC wine and liquor store in Yonge st, US 1, Ormond Beach under the able JD Brandy as store manager. Great group of people and lots of experiences especially with the wine, as I was in charge of stock and orders for it. Finally my break came while being hire by the Aqua Sun Investments Inc timeshare condo builders/management as assistant to the controller Mike (who crashed his Ferrari on Anderson Drive against a tree !!)  and later collection manager, Arthur ,whose wife was my bank counselor at Barnett (today Bank of America). This took about a couple of years before moving on to Senior Supervisor with the Equifax ARS in Holly Hill (part of the Credit bureau organisation in the USA); working with a group of people who donated a Bond EE for my son’s birth I never forget it the folks like Barbara,Terry, and Angie. Once they closed the office I move to Miami with Equifax and thats another story.

While living in this beautiful area of Daytona Beach where by now its a sweet history for me, I encounter in one of my trips a nice lady from Meaux, France, we were married  December 26, 1990 at City Island govt building in Daytona Beach. We had our first son at the Halifax Hospital on March 9, 1992. We all moved down south after Equifax office closing.

So even thus I am now far away, I want you all to know, I love you Daytona Beach, you have been very good to me and my family and we always mentioned you, never forgotten all the folks we encounter there and many still keep in touch,so if you read this; this post is for you. some photos I can come up with,,,,,

some links, like Daytona Beach tourist office at http://www.daytonabeach.com/

Daytona Beach welcome center at http://www.daytonawelcomecenter.com/

ERAU Daytona Beach campus at http://www.erau.edu/db/index.html

ERAU alumni link at http://www.eraualumni.org/s/867/splash.aspx

Volusia county where the cities mentioned are in Florida, official webpage at http://echotourism.com/

Daytona, Flagler webpage for the YMCA at http://hollyhill.vfymca.org/HollyHill/HollyHill_1.htm

The Daytona Beach area newspaper, DB news  journal webpage at http://www.news-journalonline.com/index.html

One Comment to “My college days in Florida USA-ERAU”

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    Like

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