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!!!

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