Archive for January 14th, 2021

January 14, 2021

Sunshine State, Florida !!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in the Sunshine State, Florida!!!

My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1974 when I went from New Jersey to visit my father’s side aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey lol!

Then in August of 1977,  I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Spring Break is an event all American college students need or do go thru in their life,and its not to be missed. At those times Daytona Beach was it, over 500 000 of them collapse the beach all of its 23 sandy miles with a party atmosphere tops in the USA. Dont get me wrong, I did my studies too, and finally graduated in april 24, 1982 with a graduation at the Peabody Auditorium on the beachside and a class of 396 students.

I went back “home” to New Jersey, and began my working life at the Newark International Airport EWR with Butler Aviation the following month May 15 1982. However, my heart was left in Daytona Beach, on my first year vacation in the summer of 1983 ,I came back for a visitor spring break time, and reunited with old friends and students.  Then ,finally it set in ,and made the decision to move to Florida. I did on January 4, 1985 arriving in Ormond by the Sea, North Peninsula, just 150 meters from the Atlantic ocean and 200 meters from the Intracoastal waters of the Halifax River. I had the Oceanside country club to the south and Bicentennial park to the north. Heavens !!!!!!

The pay was less, but the feeling was great. My first job was in the wine department of the ABC wine and liquor store by Yonge st US 1 Ormond Beach, under JD Brandy as store manager; the rest is history as I was able to get back into my accounting career with 5 resorts timeshare condominium builder/manager called Aqua Sun Investments,  with Finance Director  Mike (who crashed his Ferrari on Anderson Drive against a tree !!)  and later collection manager, Arthur ,whose wife was my bank counselor at Barnett bank (today Bank of America) , then the career took off into the Commercial Credit (citibank) with good person assistance manager Marc and Manager Bill; and Equifax AR as Senior Supervisor with the branch in Holly Hill ;  working with a group of people who donated a Bond EE for my son’s birth I never forget the folks like Barbara,Terry, and Angie.  While living in this beautiful Ormond Beach area  where by now its a sweet history for me, I encounter in one of my trips to Paris 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.

While working for Equifax, the Credit Bureau office in Daytona Beach, the company decide to close several sites, and was offered a move to North Miami city at the entrance to Williams Island (Elizabeth Taylor owned there ::)). So this cause my move to South Florida, and it was fantastic, job wise and activities wise. Once they decided to close the North Miami office as well! , I took off into computer distribution to Latin America based in Miami with CHS Electronics (at the time the 3rd largest in the world and NYSE), this allow me many travels in Latin America and my future looks bright. We, the family and I eventually moved to the Silver Lakes division, Sapphire Bay subdivision in Miramar, Broward County, to the west of FT Lauderdale while continuing to work in Miami Beacon Center area. Before the move to Broward County, my twin boys were born at Hialeah Hospital , Hialeah city near the fame horse racetrack in 1993.

We have continuosly made trips to France every year since my marriage in Daytona Beach City Island municipal government building on December 26, 1990 with my frenchie , Martine. Our boys went there since been 6 months old at each time.

The Daytona Beach tourist officehttps://www.daytonabeach.com/

The Miami and the beaches tourist officehttps://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area tourist office: https://www.sunny.org/

The State of Florida tourist officehttps://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

Florida was very good to us, and we have great memories of our stayed there, all in all, I lived 18 years in the State of Florida. Finally in August of 2003 the family made the decision to move permanently to France, and the saga continues. Never look back, all forward with always keeping the memories of the places and people, especially those no longer with us.

I hope you enjoy reading a bit about me from my blog. It has been a fantastic ride going back to these old posts and bringing to life again, Florida will always be there for us; thanks for reading along.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

My college days in Florida –ERAU!!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in ERAU – Florida!!!

I was visiting Florida since 1974 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 Florida. 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 for the general) and began Freshman or 1st year 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, 600 North Club, Mocambo, Big Mamma, Daddy’s, Razzles, and Oyster Pub (the last two still there!) 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 bedroom for myself, plus lots of more freedoms… 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, fyi I got it!

While hanging around a field that look like a football/soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and asked 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 signed 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, Mexico, Spain, etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played against 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.  Sadly, if you now read the story on the school webpage no mention of this history is shown!! and has the soccer program started in 1986!!! writing to them made no moves so I am completely away from all university activities now as Alumni. 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 (did not see it seems new construction there now!!)  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 (no longer) at Bal Harbours, Limelight (burn down no longer) by the Hollywood dog track area , and the 747 by Miami Springs. Coming down I stayed at the Don Sebastian motel (no longer there) in North Miami Beach for ease on driving after a long night dancing away, a great souvenir indeed. 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, Tampa. 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 4th 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 Vineland 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. This is still without recognition by the school who simply just asked for donations!

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 1977 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 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 1983,  I took myself my spring break visiting the area alone, and then on January 5 1985 arrived for good, 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!! It was easy as my team was made up of women from the Univ Central Florida (rank in top 10 in USA soccer) and resident guys from England , Greece, and Germany!

The ERAU university Daytona Beach campus webpage: https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/

The ERAU Alumni office: https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/bp20/home.aspx

So even thus I am now far away, I want you all to know, I love you Volusia County, Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach area in Florida. You have been very good to me and my family and we always mentioned you, never forgotten all the folks we encounter there and some still keep in touch, so if you read this; this post is for you.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA!

The name is not on anyones travel page, nor in the main news, nor in most people’s mind. The name is of a small central New Jersey town of about 50K inhabitants right off the Raritan river,and the bay to New York city; the main corridor tri state area. However, this is where my life in the United States began as a young teenager.

I had no English, no money, and only the clothings on my back. Arriving from Madrid, Spain with my mother in 1974 to reunite with my father who was already there. Quickly I went to school at McGinnis Middle School on State Street, and she went to work; within a month we were all on our way to a completely new life in a new country. The country embraces us very nicely, Perth Amboy nurtured us, feed us, taught us how nice it is to live in a democracy , learn the English language, and play baseball and soccer/football in summer leagues.

The years went by and my English improved a lot as like a native! My parents went into small businesses such as a grocery store, restaurant, fine mens clothing store, nightclub ,and misc sundries line throughtout New Jersey and into Philadelphia ,PA. I graduated from Middle school and went on to High School, Perth Amboy Panthers !!!! I had my varsity soccer/football story,and the sneak out days, the girls, and the trips to Florida. I graduated there in June 1977 from high school. I became an American citizen in December 1980 at New Brunswick municipal courthouse, Middlesex county . Finally leaving the city for good in 1985 heading to my next step in life ,at Florida.

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin,who was a royalist. The Propietary House (see post) in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independance movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancras old Church Cementary. The Propietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy.

The City Hall (see post) is the oldest continues in use city hall government building in the United States, built during 1714-1717 or 1718.  It burn down several times and rebuilt while for a time it serves as the  Provincial Assembly . It  was in City Hall that the State of New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights. Many sections still dates from 1717 today.

The city once had a ferry service to New York city that is in the works to re established again.  You can read in my posts  some of the historical things that was done or happenned in Perth Amboy. It is now a major marina with pleasure and fishing boats docking.

The Rudyk Park complex underneath the Outerbridge bridge to Staten Island, NYC was used by many to play summer league soccer/football sometimes with as many as 40 nationalities playing!  The wonderful tennis courts by the waterfront was entertaining, and with great views of the bay of NY all in Bayview Park. It has a vibrant downtown or city center area around the Five Corners as five avenues coincide at this junction. The roads are very easy as it is at the crossroads of the NJ Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Routes 1-9, 35, and 440.

The Newark Liberty Internatinal airport is only about a 30 minute car ride. There is a train station to take you to New York city Penn station from the airport call AirTran. Amtrak train site for train travel in the US and train station in Perth Amboy at trains now stop at Iselin.  For bus connections NJTransit No 116 takes you to New York City. These needs to be verify at time of travel as with the virus they may have change.

The city is ,also, the gateway to the Jersey Shore area, full of beaches and history like the Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen areas etc, lots of beautiful beaches such as Asbury Park, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, Ocean City, the Wildwoods; that were my favorites while living there. 

For lodging in the area I have used the Holiday Inn Express Woodbridge-Avenel, 874 Rt 1 north in my last visit there in 2007. Very nice clean residential and close to all roads. webpage: https://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/fr/fr/avenel/ewrwb/hoteldetail

The area is full of all types of accommodations but this one I have stayed personally. As for restaurants, the old reliable still there, Portuguese Manor, as I play soccer/football with the Portuguese community there, this was an almost daily routine; and keep coming back as late as 2007.  You will be in Portugal or Europe here ,great food, (last info I have it has closed sadly) ; another old favorite is the The Barge, by the waterfront, just wonderful seafood while overlooking the Arthur Kill bay to New York City, its an institution in the city,  The armory is another jewel of historic significance as class reunions and graduation parties are held here, as well as a restaurant, The Armory Restaurant.

As for shopping, the best is just outside the city in the towns of Edison and Woodbridge, Menlo Park  Mall and Woodbridge Center Mall (one of the biggest in the USA), Downtown area has lots of stores but very difficult parking best head for the malls above.

Hope you enjoy this little bit of historical showcasing of a small city so close to my heart. Go Panthers !!! I came back last in 2007 for my High School 30th reunion but was unfortunately canceled at last minute and I end up going around the city for 3 days alone!!! Flashing back memories of a wonderful landing at last in democracy. Perth Amboy lovely dot in my world map. Hope you have enjoy the story as I.

The city of Perth Amboy webpage: https://www.perthamboynj.org/

The State of New Jersey tourist office on Perth Amboyhttps://www.visitnj.org/nj/perth-amboy/attractions

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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