Buying Books in the 1970s, pt. 2

the book that launched my search for a thousand other books

This is the second part of my mini-memoir of buying books as a kid in the 1970s in North Miami and North Miami Beach (to go to part one, click here). With the immanent closure of 400 Borders Books stores, which will change the book buying habits of tens of thousands of readers around the country, I felt like a little memory journey to the bookstores and newsstands of my childhood might be in order.

In yesterday’s post, I described the motley collection of places I bought some of my earliest science fiction books and books about science fiction — a Burdine’s Department Store, a cigar shop, a newsstand, and an independent bookstore. In today’s post, I’ll talk about a place where I went hog wild, where I spent the bulk of my weekly allowance, and where I blew goodly chunks of my bar mitvah gift money. What follows are the places where I went from being a reader of science fiction to a science fiction fan — as in fanatic.

A&M Comics and Books: If there was a geographical center to my childhood (apart from my bedroom), this was it. I probably made more trips to A&M, or Arnold’s, as I called it (that’s what the A stood for, the owner’s first name; the M stood for the name of his wife, I believe) than I did to all my other bookstores and comic shops combined. The place opened in 1974, when I was nine, at the corner of South Dixie Highway and 12th Avenue, about a thirteen block bike ride from my house. It’s still in business (although relocated to Bird Road in Miami and now run by a guy named Jorge, who hired on with Arnold around the time I graduated high school in 1982) and claims to be the second oldest continuously operating comic book store in America. Arnold, a retiree from New Jersey, was the owner-operator, a crusty, irritable, Sam Moskowitz-kind of guy who decided to run a comics shop and used bookstore as a second career. The comics were displayed on freestanding wire racks at the front of the store. The other four-fifths of the place were taken up by a barely organized menage of used books, a good portion of them science fiction paperbacks. Arnold wasn’t into neat, nor was he into mint; his stock was stacked haphazardly on shelves, the tops of chairs, in boxes, on stools, and on the floor, and many of his books were on the ratty side. On the other hand, he made up for those possible foibles with quantity. Arnold always had a lot of books, and he bought more all the time. Finding something good within that huge mess was a good part of the fun. You could never search for something specific; you had to stumble across your treasure. And you generally did.

I can’t recall whether my father found Arnold’s first or whether I did. In either case, we soon fell into the habit of stopping by there on Sundays so I could spend my allowance. As a nine year-old, I received one dollar a week allowance. That year, Marvel comics (unless they were Annuals) retailed for twenty cents. Thus, I could theoretically buy five comics a week, assuming I could scrape up four extra pennies for tax. Usually my father would spot me the extra four cents, saying it was an advance on next week’s allowance. But he always forgot by the time the next week rolled around. So five comics a week it was, and what a treat. Marvel had started publishing lots of books with horror heroes, like Tomb of Dracula, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night (I had a subscription to that one), and Ghost Rider. I bought them all, plus my favorite superhero books, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Iron Man, and Marvel Triple Action (the early adventures of the Avengers, reprinted). Every week, my father would ask me the same question: “Andy, are you sure you want to spend your entire allowance on comic books?” And every week, I’d reply with a polite version of, “Hell, yeah!

At first, I never ventured beyond the comics racks, especially not when my father was with me (he wanted me to make my selections fast so we could get out of the dusty, overly warm, and poorly ventilated store). But I soon started visiting Arnold’s on my own, either on Saturdays or after school, riding my bike down 12th Avenue. On those more leisurely visits, I began exploring the other four-fifths of the place. And I quickly discovered that some of those old paperbacks were really cool. So I gradually transitioned from spending my entire weekly allowance on comics to spending most of it on comics and some on books, to splitting it fifty-fifty, and then to spending the majority of it on used paperbacks. The turning point came shortly after my bar mitzvah, when I used some of my Walden’s gift certificates for a copy of the new reference book, The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by Brian Ash. (That I bought at the Walden’s Books in the 163rd Street Shopping Center, a store I’ll have to save for tomorrow’s installment.) This was the book that forever changed me from being a casual reader of science fiction to a determined, driven, systematic reader of science fiction. The book that made me a fan.

The Visual Encyclopedia, quite simply, blew my mind. It was the Internet before there was an Internet. It featured an illustrated chronology of all the seminal stories and books in science fiction, chapters on enduring themes in the literature, and highly detailed archival articles on subjects like the Hugo Awards and fandom and the history of the magazines. It had a fabulous index that let you track mentions of your favorite writers or books from themed chapter to themed chapter. I spent hours and hours pouring through that book. I could read the chapters and articles dozens of times, getting something different out of them each time. Of course, I began compiling my dream reading list, drawn from forty-five years’ worth of magazines and novels and anthologies.

I found a good portion of my dream reading list on the shelves or in the piles at Arnold’s. Every visit became a treasure hunt. I found A. E. van Vogt, Robert Silverberg, Edmund Hamilton, Leigh Brackett, Ursula K. Le Guin, J. G. Ballard, Barry N. Malzberg, Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon, and Anne McCaffrey. I stumbled on names and books I’d never heard of, which I’d then look up in the Visual Encyclopedia as soon as I’d pedaled home. So long as the Encyclopedia gave its seal of approval, I went back the next day or the day after and bought the book.

I became more than just a regular at Arnold’s. I was virtually a resident. Arnold and I developed a sort of love-hate relationship, or at least he developed one with me. I’m sure he didn’t mind that I was spending a good bit of money in his store, but he never seemed to enjoy my company. Maybe he didn’t enjoy anybody’s company. I don’t remember any of our conversations, but I’m sure at least some went like this:

Arnold: Don’t you have any other place you need to be?
Me: Not really. . .
Arnold: I mean, don’t you have after-school activities, or something?
Me: I ride my bike over here. It’s exercise.
Arnold: Don’t you have any friends?
Me: I see them at school.
Arnold: How come you’re always in here?
Me: I like it in here.
Arnold: Don’t you have any other place you need to be?

That place imprinted itself on me. If I could print out a map of my mind, it would look a lot like the interior of Arnold’s. I still don’t feel entirely comfortable in a home unless I have some clutter around me. Preferably clutter with books mixed in.

Arnold, you old, balding curmudgeon, rest in peace in that Big Used Bookstore in the Sky.

Yipes! I’ve already posted almost 1400 words, just on A&M Comics and Books. Looks like I won’t get around to Starship Enterprises and Walden’s Books and my first, unrequited love in this post. I’ll save them for part three (which can be found by clicking here).

71 comments

  1. Michael Kronenberg says:

    Nice reminisce. I worked at A&M (Bird Rd. location) on Sundays during 1978-79. Arnold was an SOB, but his wife Maxine (the M in A&M) and his daughters were the polar opposite. They were very sweet and sincere. Thankfully, I rarely dealt with Arnold. A&M was a magical place while I was growing up. I still have many of the comics, books and movie posters I purchased there. Nothing but great memories of that place. And what do you know, now I’m a graphic designer for Marvel. Its been a long strange trip.

    • Andrew says:

      Michael, thanks so much for dropping by to visit. I’m very sorry to say I never had an opportunity to visit the “other” A&M on Bird Road; otherwise, I’d be able to say, “I remember you! You’re that guy who told me to stop reading the Marvel Giant-Size Annuals in the store!” A&M in North Miami was a simply gigantic part of my childhood and adolescence (no matter how grouchy Arnold was; I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed being his employee!). I schooled myself in science fiction there, and bought the great bulk of my comics from Arnold’s racks. Overall, I much preferred the dusty, cluttered ambiance of A&M to the somewhat sterile and certainly snobby atmosphere over at Starship Enterprises (but I bought plenty of stuff there, too). How fun to learn that you’re now working at Marvel! Please give my very best to everyone in the mythical Bullpen. I hope I’ll hear back from you on other occasions.

  2. Michael Kronenberg says:

    Arnold was a craggy SOB. I worked at the Bird Road A&M Comics from 1978-79. Arnold’s wife Maxine (the M in A&M) and his daughters were the polar opposite of Arnold, very sweet and nice. Luckily, I didn’t work with Arnold much and mainly dealt with Maxine. A&M was a great store and I still have many of the comics, books, and movie posters I purchased there. Great memories! The last time I saw Arnold and Maxine was in 1982 at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair while I was going to art school. I’m sure they’d be surprised that I now work for Marvel Comics and I’m friends with Jim Steranko and Neal Adams (my two heroes while growing up). What a long strange trip its been.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, I also remember that mural! The last time I visited Miami, in 2005, I drove along 163rd Street in North Miami Beach and noticed that there is still a comic book store in the location where Starship Enterprises once sat. The employee behind the counter wasn’t clear, however, whether the then-current store had any connection with the original Starship Enterprises.

      • Mirtika says:

        The store you’re referring to (VILLAINS) was purchased from Vince Menella by Glenn Lightfoot (who used to frequent the store when Vince was owner, best I recall). I met my hubby at a movie premiere where he got a pass via Starship Enterprises, so it has a warm place in my heart. I hung there for a while round 79-80. I haven’t dropped by in two or three years, so I don’t know of Glenn sold it or still owns it. Back in Vince’s day, David (very cute young guy, ebullient and gay) was usually behind the counter when I dropped by.

        • Andrew says:

          Thanks so much for the great info! I always love learning more about the South Florida of my younger years…

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I think I may have briefly met Maxine on one or two occasions when she stopped by the North Miami location. Otherwise, I recall only Arnold himself sitting behind the counter near the front of the store, making infrequent, usually rather rude comments to me during the hours I spent prowling through his untidy stacks.

  3. Michael Kronenberg says:

    Andrew-Do you happen to recall Arnold’s last name?

    Thanks,
    Michael

    • Andrew says:

      Michael, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I ever learned Arnold’s last name. I checked out the few articles on A&M Comics and Books on the net and didn’t see his last name mentioned in any of them, unfortunately.

    • william says:

      Arnold Square passed away around 1985. Maxine sold the store after they had moved to Bird Road.

      • Andrew says:

        William, thanks for sharing that information. I never knew what had become of Arnold. He couldn’t have been that old when he passed away in 1985; not older than his late fifties, I’d imagine (although my memory may be faulty).

  4. william says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I was also a big fan of A&M at 135 street NE Dixie HWY. One day in the fall of 1980 after going to the laundry mat with my mom I saw sci-fi posters on the front window and went inside. It was dark , musty and Arnolds daughter was there. She had long dark hair. I loved the place though and started my comic book collecting there. I lived only 10 blocks away on 13th avenue and 143 street. They moved to 163 street and 15th avenue in 1981 and then to Bird Road in late 1982. I lost track of them till 1984 when I found out they were still open. I miss Arnold RIP and Maxine and their daughters. Their presence really made a difference in my life and influenced me to become a visual artist which I am today. Now in NY and Miami.. Let me know if you ever photographed the store back then. Would love to see pics.

    • Andrew says:

      William, thanks so much for sharing your memories of the wonderful A&M Comics and Books. I’m afraid I never photographed the place, but I have its layout and overall look etched in my memory. It was a tremendous part of my childhood. Every kid should have a “store of wonders” like that somewhere in their extended neighborhood. Take good care, and please come back and visit my site often.

  5. william says:

    Thank you Andrew.. I actually also used to hang out at Bizzar Bizzar Comics on 125 street and 7th avenue (corner) circa 1982-1985. They moved around the area /altered name and finally folded around 1988. Also, a great bookstore around 1980-84 was an older guy who ran a new and used book store on 125 street and 10 avenue. He sold many sic-fi books and Star Trek Bantan Novels. I have all of them still in mint condition.

    • Andrew says:

      Was the store on 125th Street and 10th Avenue called the Arts and Sciences Bookstore? That’s the only bookstore I remember being on 125th Street (but I don’t recall them selling used books; although I’m remembering them from the 1970s, so it’s possible the ownership may have changed, or their stocking policies may have changed by the 1980s).

      • william says:

        the book store may have been Arts & Science. it was owned by an older man with books stacked and littered all over, circa 1980-83. He sold The Who 1982 farewell concert booklet so I know it had to have been till 83 that he stayed open. You also had to walk down a few steps into his store which is rare in Miami. The other was Books of Pages on 125 street and 4th ave. She sold tons of Sci Fi novels and other works.

        • Andrew says:

          Thanks, William. I never heard of Books of Pages on 125th Street. I guess it must’ve been opened after I was no longer spending much time in North Miami any longer (I went away to New Orleans to go to college at Loyola University from 1982 to 1986 and only spent the summers back in North Miami Beach; I guess I must not’ve gotten down to 125th Street too often during that time, or I would’ve discovered Books of Pages. By the way, do you remember the Lums Restaurant in the same neighborhood?)

          • william says:

            yes, Lums across the street from Central Photo and also Jimmy’s Dinner. Loved the place. Also, went to Cuba in 2012 and met a Cuban sci-fi / magic realist short story writer; Ivette Vian. She gave me a flash drive with a PDF collected short stories all sic-fi from the past 30 years. It was amazing read. They were cinematic and profound. Wish I had brought a hardcopy. Lastly, I also went to Loyola U. but for a fellowship. Small world. By the way did you attend Natural Bridge or North Miami elementary?

          • Andrew says:

            What years were you at Loyola? I also went on a Presidential Scholarship there. I attended Oak Grove Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Junior High, and North Miami High Schools. I also loved Lums and greatly miss the chain (I believe they’re all gone now; there used to be one up here in Virginia, where I currently live, but it closed before I got up here). I remember the Ollie Burger!

          • william says:

            I went to Loyola in 2011 but it was an academic fellowship research project not degree. I went to Yale for my MFA. I attended Oak Grove in 1981 for summer school. But went to Natural Bridge for 5th and 6th grade. Moved to Liberty City in 82 and attended Miami Central for high school. It was really great experience and my writing excelled there. I wanted to be a writer but ended up doing visual arts which is my practice today. I enjoyed it and also enjoy writing but its mostly academic. Virginia is an old stomping ground… many friends and also DC area more friends.

          • Andrew says:

            Wow, it looks as though we have tons in common, William. What kinds of visual arts are you doing presently?

          • william says:

            hi Andrew, am currently a visual artist and work in NY and Miami. I exhibit my work nationally and abroad. My focus is transitions, transmissions and traces of past, present futures. You can put my full name in a search engine and see my work. Also, stopped by A&M this past saturday and spoke to the current owner who worked for Arnold. The gentleman used to work for Arnold in the early 1980s and said Arnold’s wife is still alive and in South Florida. It was nice visiting and feeling that energy again… I asked him for Pics of the original place but he didn’t have any. I may seek to reach out to Maxine. Also, the current owner told me about the original Starship Enterprise comic book store on 163rd street. He told me the owner invested in a large collection of Golden Age comic books but accidentally sold them via a family member for very little and had to sell the business thereafter. The store is still there but it is a shell of the once iconic comic book store it once was.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I remember Starship Enterprises well. I used to buy a lot a back issues from them, as well as a nice set of Star Science Fiction Stories collections from the 1950s, edited by Frederick Pohl. I recall the owners and operators of Starship Enterprises as being a lot more “snooty” than Arnold over at A&M, who, while curmudgeonly, was always welcoming. I did far more shopping at A&M than at Starship Enterprises, even though the latter was much better organized than the former (Arnold’s place was always a big mess, which made it a fun challenge to find stuff).

          • william says:

            hey Andrew, yes, I was just speaking to my friend Warren about Enterprise. It was well organized but they were a bit elitist and pricey. I opted to wait for Comic /Sci-Fi conventions at Howard Johnson’s Hotel on 167 street across Golden Glades Interchange. I used to get bargains at that place. I found a great vintage 1929 copy of The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel. Great early sic-fi ala Mary Shelley’s The Last Man story.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I used to play miniature golf with my father at the course right across the street from that Howard Johnson’s. I never went to a comic book or science fiction convention at that location, but there was another Howard Johnson’s, off 125th Street, not far from the 125th Street Causeway across Biscayne Bay, which also used to hold conventions. I went to a Star Trek convention there once as a kid and briefly met James Doohan (Scotty of Star Trek).

          • william says:

            Yes, of course the Miniature Golf I remember.. The 125th street hotel is now the Holiday Inn across Biscayne. They don’t have conventions there anymore. I simply drive to Orlando for the Star Wars and comic con conventions. I wish I had known of the Howard Johnson on 125 street back in the 1970s and early 80s. Things changed but its okay I like to drive to Orlando or fly to LA for these conventions. Let me know when your next presentation is at one of these conventions in the east coast. I might be in the area.

          • Andrew says:

            I certainly will, William. My attendance at conventions over the past year and a half has been cut back a lot by family concerns, but I’ll likely be at Capclave in Southern Maryland, just outside of DC, this coming October. Have you ever met my friend, the writer Adam Troy Castro, at any of the Orlando conventions? He lives in South Florida and typically makes the shows in Orlando.

          • william cordova says:

            hey Andrea

            have not heard of Adam Troy Castro nor did I see him at the last Orlando convention. Am preparing to go to the Miami Beach comic con but am a bit weary of the spectacle driven atmosphere that precipitates in these events today. I wish they were more like the subculture of my youth. Will keep an eye out for him.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I was wondering if you recall the 161st Street Shopping Center. It was about ten blocks north of the house I grew up in, so I used to bike up there all the time. Sometime around 1980 they roofed it over and started calling it the 161st Street Mall (while it was a shopping center, it had some enclosed, mall-like spaces, but most of the stores, which included a Richards Department Store, a Burdines Department Store, and a large Woolworth’s, were arranged around an open courtyard). Before they changed it into a mall, it had a small amusement park attached, with kiddie rides and sheds for birthday parties and pinball games. I celebrated several birthday parties there as a little kid. Do you recall it as a shopping center, or only as the mall it got transformed into? In both incarnations, it had a good WaldenBooks, where I did a lot of my book shopping (especially at birthday times).

          • william says:

            hey Andrew, yes, the mall is on 163rd street NE 15th avenue. It was an open air shopping center and just like you described it. It was indeed roofed over with a canvas in late 1980 and stayed like this until today. I remember my first time going there in 1977. Yes, Walden Books was in the west side entrance by the parking lot. There was a second book store under the ground where I bought Space Wrecks by Stewart Cowley in 1979. Great hardbound book, kept it till the late 1990s. I used to hang out in the Woolworth’s toy section visiting the Star Wars figures and also the fish tanks. My father worked as a maintenance man at Burdines. Zayre across the street also had some great Sci-Fi novels and comic books. Lastly Walden Books moved across the street next to Firestone. The Walden Books is now a Pizza Hut. I used to walk from 143 street to 163 street and read all day in that book store because I could not afford the books. Most my weekends were spent sitting at Walden’s. I look at it as early college and life investments because those moments contributed in stimulating the creative drive and passion for the arts and literature I have today. I miss the open air shopping mall. The mall itself is a shell today with most stores closed. It stays open because of Wallmart but I don’t have a reason to stop there. I tend to spend most my readings New Age Books and Things in Fort Lauderdale and Books & Books in South Miami. By the way I remember going to Oka Grove for summer school 1981 and won a water color set on my first day of school. I still have that same water color set though the watercolor itself is all gone.

          • Andrew says:

            William, the last time I visited Miami was in 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina (my family and I were living in New Orleans and got trapped in Albuquerque, New Mexico at a science fiction convention — long story — but we ended up in Miami, staying in a friend’s uncle’s condo in Surfside, for two months). Back then, the Mall at 163rd Street looked and felt like a ghost town. I think the Wal-Mart was still on the way. I sort of had the impression that the entire original mall was set for demolition, but it sounds from you as if it is still standing, although mostly empty now. I had no idea that the WaldenBooks had moved across the street next to the Firestone Tires. Was that the building which was once a big record shop? Do you remember another place called International News and Books, further east on 163rd Street, almost across the street from Starship Enterprises?

          • william says:

            Andrew, the 163rd street mall is still running. It would be fine if the presence of past stores didn’t echo so strongly in its cavernous space but it is unfortunately true that it has been a ghost mall for the most part. It is gaining some considerable amount of businesses today but mostly low end mega dollar stores. Aventura Mall’s expansion attracted many retailers. The Hallandale Mall and Skylake Mall also became shadows of their former selves due to Aventura Mall. Walden The record store you speak of was Blue Note Records which was first near the A&M location and then moved across to the east side of 18th Avenue NE 163 street. They closed as well and now only do record conventions. I used to go there allot in the 80s and 90s but they expanded too much and opened a live music section and coffee shop etc.. then lost it all. Yes, I remember the International Book Exchange. They were open for years until one day they closed and is now a bakery. There still is the paper Back Book Exchange on that same street. The guy runs a nice little place though it used to be a bigger store.. rent!

            I think the Walden Book store was an all glass/ free standing building on the east side of 163 street and 19 avenue.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I remember the Skylake Mall very well. It was near a Sambo’s Restaurant (remember those?) that I used to eat at fairly frequently. The Skylake Mall had a small twin movie theater where I used to occasionally see movies and a cafeteria that my father used to take me to on holidays. I had no idea that Blue Note Records ever grew so large as you said; it seemed like their existing space, on a corner lot, didn’t have enough space for a coffee shop and a live music venue, but maybe they expanded their building. I visited the Paperback Exchange on 163rd Street in 2005 when my family and I took refuge in Surfside after Katrina; I was very pleased to find it still in existence, and I told the owner that I used to shop there frequently back in the 1970s. During those couple of months, the Aventura Mall served as a sort of haven for my family and me; my boys were 22 months and 7 months old, so I used to take them (during the hot summer days) to play at the little indoor kiddie playland inside the mall, and we had many good times there. I also took them on the miniature railroad inside the mall. I’m also surprised to hear that the WaldenBooks expanded to a free-standing store before the whole chain went under. I don’t recall many free-standing WaldenBooks; just about all of them were inside malls, I think. Thanks for continuing to share your memories. I’m enjoying our conversation.

          • william says:

            Hey Andrew, Yes, I remember Sambo’s in Hallandale and near Skylake Mall. I know the original is still open in California but the chain closed down in the early 1980s. I always had problems with the establishments name. In Peru it’s considered a derogatory word so you
            can understand what my childhood eyes were trying to understand when I first saw the restaurant in Miami. The movie theater at Skylake Mall was also the first place I saw the re-release of Star Wars and the new Empire Strikes Back film trailer. This was in the fall of 1979 because Empire came out in May 1980. I remember my friends at Highland Oaks Elementary telling me they saw the film that last week of May 1980. They all lied and said Han Solo dies and Chewbacca too. Luke gets his arm cut off. Very misleading till I saw the film. The Skylake theaters stayed open through the 1990s but then closed quietly and the mall was redesigned. Blue Note records had a corner store they expanded into three stores that proved impossible to maintain. They joined tow other storefronts and opened the live cafe spot. I think it stayed open for a few years in the 1990s. I was more interested in their music history books and Beatles & Coltrane bootlegs. Am glad to hear your family was able to return and find some balance from the traumatic hurricane experience that Katrina left in its aftermath. I was in NY at the time but my sisters home in Lake Worth had roof damage from Katrina’s path. I may be incorrect about Walden moving but cannot think of any other bookstore that stood freely in the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s at the 163 street and 16th avenue location.

            Did you ever return to visit your old home in Miami? I pass by there once in a while and even asked the current owner to let me walk inside. I had not been in the house since 1982. There is still a Yoda figure with a note I left under one of the closet floor boards in 82 for my own amusement.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I did pass by my old house at 151st Street and 12th Avenue back in 2005. The neighborhood had gone down, and the new owners of my old house had torn down most of the trees which had formerly surrounded it and had walled in the old open carport. The house, the entire neighborhood, in fact, looked so much smaller than I had remembered. I suppose that was because the bulk of my memories of the area were from when I was physically much smaller than my adult size, so everything appeared bigger. I’ve had dreams of the old neighborhood wherein I discover new extensions and new streets that didn’t actually exist, all sorts of new areas for me to explore in a whole series of somehow interlocked dreams. I dream a lot of New Orleans, too, adding new neighborhoods and whole new sections of downtown. I’ve also had a series of dreams of being able to fly over Biscayne Bay and look down at the little islands. The hold one’s former homes has on one’s imagination…

          • william says:

            hey Andrew, Am sorry to hear of the major changes on your old Miami home. It’s never easy when our childhood files get rearranged. Our first home in Hallandale was demolished for a Hospital Parking Lot. Our second home still looks the same on 143 street. We knew the owner and she lived close by till she passed away 2 years ago. Her daughter who I grew up with now rents the house out. I like that everything looks the same inside and out. I wanted to buy the house but they wanted above market value. Still, memories are golden. Sounds like you have the makings of an autobiographical story with magical realism incorporated as a twist from your childhood salvation. Secret value of day dreaming. Am ordering some Turok Son of Stone Gold Key Omnibus publications from A&M tomorrow.. first time doing business with them since 1984.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I’m sorry to hear you were unable to purchase your childhood home. Did you intend to use it as your primary residence? Is the neighborhood surrounding 143rd Street still well-kept? My old high school, North Miami Senior High, which had been built during the 1950s, got torn down, and a replacement high school was built on the opposite side of 135th Street (or so I have been told; this happened after my most recent visit to the area in 2005). Do you recall when there was a large drive-in movie theater on the bay side of Biscayne Boulevard, somewhere between 135th Street and 163rd Street, when that area was still mostly mangrove forests? My mother’s parents lived in an apartment in the Coastal Towers, in Sunny Isles, just north of Haulover Beach, and I used to be able to stare out their balcony windows (they were on the fourth floor) at a group of mangrove islands in the northern part of Biscayne Bay. The Coastal Towers was a wonderful place back in the 1960s and 1970s, on an artificial peninsula on the bay side of Collins Avenue, surrounded by fishing and pleasure boat docks. I used to walk the docks as a kid and stare inside the boats and dream about what it might be like to live aboard one (there were a few houseboats mixed in). Harbor House beach, just to the south of Haulover Beach (on the south side of the Haulover Bridge) was a favorite hangout during high school (great for taking girls; very romantic).

          • william says:

            Hey Andrew,

            I did plan to live at the 143 street address and also rent out the duplex attached. The neighborhood went through many changes since the mid 1980s. South Florida has been in an unending transitional period since the 1970s. I remember South Beach in the 1970s as desolate city and then the late 90s turned it into Disney for adults. The area where I lived around 143 street has changed a lot and my street actually looks better than it did in 1982. New home owners tend to care for their property. Renters usually don’t. I remember the Biscayne drive in theater and ice scatting rink around 150 street and Biscayne. I never went to the movies there though my sisters and brothers did around 1977. My brother attendedThe North Miami High School for a year and then we moved. Yes, the old school was demolished and a new one took its place. I went to Miami Central and photo documented the entire school before they demolished it. I plan on publishing the documentation as a book next year. I wanted to capture the early 1960s architecture in Miami that seems to be disappearing. It has a pseudo-Facist presence like those of Miami Dade campuses. That type of architecture is often used in Sci-Fi films. Its also more prominent in the Caribbean and Latin America and of course in Italy and Germany.

            Areas of Biscayne between 135-163 street have shopping centers now. A bit elitist in their choices of eateries but there is still a nice mix of choices. FIU Bay campus also extended their dorms into that area. A high school and middle school was built in those mangrove areas but not visible from Biscayne. My father used to take me and my brother to Hallandale Beach in the 1970s. I remember the colorful water tower as key sign we were getting close to the beach. The mall in Hallandale was also great to seek out Star Wars toys and Sci-Fi books. BY the way am going to the MIAMI CON at the Miami Beach Convention Center this saturday. Want to meet Nichelle Nichols, Neil Adams, Pablo Marco and Allan Bellman. Pablo Marco is from Peru and used to draw/ink Defenders and Dracula for Marvel comics in the 70s. Am also looking for some rare stuff. We’ll see and will report back. Let me know if your friend Adam troy Castro will be participating or around. I will be there with friends.

          • Andrew says:

            William, have a fantastic time at Miami Con. I’ll look forward to hearing your report. I also have vivid memories of South Miami Beach from the 1970s, when all the Art Deco hotels were painted brown (the cheapest paint color available, I imagine), and no one under the age of 65 set foot down there. I used to love wandering around the hotels which had been closed for the season, looking at the drained swimming pools and pondering the fascinating, crumbling architecture. I also remember the halting efforts at redevelopment in the early 1980s, a few years after the Art Deco District got its designation at a National Historical District. None of those efforts took off until the late 1980s, however, when all of a sudden the district had cachet and become crowded with the young and beautiful (the elderly having been chased off by Marielito gangsters years before).

            I’ll look forward to hearing back from you. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

        • Mirtika says:

          I loved Books of Paige’s (it was named after one of the owner’s daughters, the co-owners were sisters whose names I have unfortunately forgotten, though we went out to eat a couple times and attended romance writer meetings a few times.) I got so many used sci-fi/fantasy and romance reads there when they were at 125th and by Barry University. Miss that little store and those younger days. I think I started patronizing them in the late 80s…87?

          And I went to the Comic Con across from the Jockey Club in 1980 and the one at the Howard Johnson’s thereafter (one on 163rd and one in Hialeah). I’m having a nostalgia wave here. Wow….to be young again…

          • william says:

            Books of Page’s was on the 125 street East 2nd avenue shopping center. It was there till around 2010 when it closed. Does anyone remember Bizzare, Bazzar Comics on 125 street NE 8th Avenue? It moved a few times in that street finally closed in 1990. The owners name was Bonny. I wonder where she and her husband are today.

  6. william says:

    hi Andrew,

    went with friends to Miami Con. It was much like the last one I attended in 2012. Except more vendors and larger space. The great comic book artists were not there Saturday except Pablo Marco but it was so busy I didn’t get a chance to meet him. I saw very little in Sci-Fi literature except one Flash Gordon oversized vintage book which I had last seen in Hallandale Public LIbrary in 1978. It was a amazing going through the book but I didn’t buy it. The pricing was inflated over all in every vendors table/booth. Comic books were also over priced beyond haggling. I was searching for Fantastic Four #52 which I located but the issue was off its staples deeming it worthless. The spine was damaged but the seller wanted $350. The issue isn’t worth hardly anything if its lost its cover. I didn’t even bother lowering the price. There were many younger visual artists but their work all looked similar which concerned me. I remember in the past artists works differed in styles. Today they all seem streamlined. I then tended to the Star Wars toys which were pretty sparse and inexpensive but that was due to the poor quality of the vintage toys available. I didn’t buy anything though.. I ran into other friends at the Convention too. All in all the experience seemed more of a spectacle with a curiosity crown drawn by the Marvel/DC Hollywood films phenomenon. The Comic Con seems to be catering to their interests while compromising the original G’s whose following was ever committed to the cause. I think I will stick to small comic and sci-fi conventions from now on.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi, William. I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience at Miami Con. I’m surprised their big-name guests weren’t present on Saturday, which must’ve been the best attended day of the con. I generally find that you’ll find better prices on dealers’ room goodies at the smaller conventions. I mostly attend conventions that specialize in SF as literature, so the dealers’ rooms are heavily loaded with book dealers, usually vintage book dealers. The best prices are to be found on Sundays, when the dealers are trying to unload as much of their stock as they can before having to pack it all up again. I used to attend a lot of conventions along the Gulf Coast — CoastCon in Biloxi, Mississippi, MobiCon in Mobile, Alabama, and Crescent City Con in New Orleans (that last one is gone now, replaced by CONtraflow). MidSouthCon in Memphis, Tennessee was also a big favorite. I guess those are fairly far afield for you, however, unless you happen to be traveling, anyway.

      I took my kids to a new SF movie over the holiday weekend — Earth to Echo. It was a kind of updating of E.T.: the Extraterrestrial, but without quite the heart that Spielberg put into his classic SF kids’ movie. Still, the four juvenile acting leads were all pretty good, and my kids really enjoyed it.

      I hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday weekend, despite the disappointment of Miami Con.

    • william says:

      No problem with the Comic con. I will just make it a point in going to smaller events and also Sci Fi only functions. Was in Orlando for the past few days giving lecture and studio crits to artists. Nice experience with students. I think its important to make sure I have my nephews watch older sic fi before any new films. I think their perspective won’t be based on digital alone but the story.

      • Andrew says:

        William, I also have made an effort to expose my three sons to older, classic SF, fantasy, and horror films (one of their favorites from when they were all little was the 1950s giant bug movie Tarantula). My oldest son, Levi, has become somewhat of a SF buff, so I have bought him a lot of classic books by Asimov, Heinlein, Edmund Hamilton, Leigh Brackett, and Frederick Brown. I’d love to see him dive into the Heinlein juvenile novels, but he hasn’t made that plunge yet. Right now he’s on a nonfiction kick, so it may be a while before he works his way back to fiction. He’s ten; I’ll just have to be patient.

  7. william says:

    hey Adrew

    yes, saw Tarantula and Them in 1974 while living in Peru. Those films are as relevant as Godzilla and Terminator when it comes to Cold War and technology. Also, some good films were The Flight that Disappeared circa 1961. Its more like a Twilight Zone episode though. My nephews are also into older comic books and magic realism. I also saw a b-movie recently from 1977 shot in North Miami. Its called “Crime Busters” I remember seeing it the 1970s with my older brother. It was shot around 125 th street when Lums, Grand Union were there 400 NE 125 street. Architecture looked the same… great piece of history and film was predecessor to Police Academy which part 5 was shot in Miami.

    • Andrew says:

      William, thanks for mentioning Crime Busters as a made-in-North-Miami movie; I’d never heard of it before. When I was in high school at North Miami Senior in the winter of 1981, a bunch of drama club friends and I were extras in a low-budget horror film called Funhouse that was directed by Tobe Hooper. It was shot on the grounds of the old Ivan Tor Studios on 125th Street. The film makers set up a carnival midway, and I was one of the carnival-goers. I got to ride a ride called the Spider for about five hours straight while they were filming, and it was cold that night–in the lower 50s, I think. I remember being really, really happy when they stopped filming at about 2 AM and invited us extras into the food tent for a hot meal and some hot chocolate. I’m pretty sure that Funhouse is available on DVD, if you ever want to pick it up. I don’t know whether you’ll recognize any parts of North Miami, but you’ll know where it was filmed (not too far from 125th Street and Biscayne Boulevard).

      • william says:

        wow Funhouse? yes, i will definitely tai a look right now online. It may be available through Youtube or some similar website. Either way I will look for this because I remember North Miami circa 1980-1982 extremely well. I used to hang out at a pizza place on the 143 street shopping center where there was a Bach’s Jewelry store till the early 2000s. There was a small take out pizza place there that had an early coffee table Atari Asteroids game. This is summer of 1980 and the pizza was 75 cent a slice. The video game was a quarter. The roller rink was across the street on 143 street and Dixie HWY. It didn’t stay open for long circa 1980-82. The larger video game arcade place opened up in late 1981 and stayed open till the late 1980s on 145 street and Dixie HWY. Miss those places and spaces.

        “the past is more infinite than the future” -Toni Morrison

        • Andrew says:

          William, my favorite places on West Dixie Highway when I was growing up were the Carvel Ice Cream stand (their specialties were soft-serve ice cream and ice cream cakes) and two pizza places, Mario the Baker (which may still be there; it was back in 2005) and Marcella’s Italian Restaurant. My father bought me some of my first comic books (early issues of The Invincible Iron Man) on West Dixie at Sandy’s Drugs, catty-corner from where A&M Comics and Books was later located; Sandy’s Drugs later moved to 167th Street. At the same intersection (West Dixie and N.E. 12th Avenue), I remember a Food Fair grocery store and a Mr. Donuts (which was later renamed Sister Donuts, oddly enough). At the intersection of West Dixie and 151st Street, there was a cemetery with a statue of an elephant in it; I believe it was the burial ground for a number of circus performers (although that may have just been a rumor).

          • william says:

            hey Alex,

            Yes, I remember Mario the Baker. A staple of North Miami friday and saturday dinning or take out. Actually Mario The Baker moved last year to Biscayne and 153 street. Its in a new shopping center next to a new Publix. Pretty nice set up. I remember an Irish Pub House on 142 street and West Dixie but I was too young to go there in 1980. Mario the Baker was across the street near Ace Music. They rented instruments and equipment to bands like Creem back in the 1960s. My sister was a bookkeeper for them in the 1980s. She met all the Gibb brothers and Julian Lennon as well as so many other musicians; Dylan, Don Henley back in the late 1980s. Ace is now Space Music. Same set up but not many bands come to play only record at the Hit Factory (149 street NE 17 avenue). I remember when Bob Marley rehearsed there in the summer of 1980. I didn’t know who he was but my sister did then. That was during the Wailers last tour. I don’t remember Sandy’s drugs but remember the roundish shopping center corner where A&M used to be. Am actually looking into the City offices to find out if they have photo documentarians of that area from the 1970s or early 1980s. I will let you know what I find out. Food Fair I think turned into Pantry Pride across from A&M. It was a Walgreens from 80s till early 2000s. They closed and its now an Auto Zone Store. The Cemetery is still there with the burial grounds for Circus performers. You care correct it was that indeed and not a rumor. Do you remember Franco’s Pizza? with their many locations and tv commercials on Big Night Owl Theater time slots? Those were the best. Great Pizza place located on the corner of 167 street and 13 avenue NE. It operated out of an old 1950s Dinner joint like the ones in American Graffiti. Excellent place. Let me know if you remember a comic book /Sci-Fi shop on the corner of 167 street and 6th Avenue NE. It was on the 6th avenue side of Toys R Us. Not next to the Hamm and Eggery or T-Square art supply store. It was next to a 7-Eleven. Tiny store with R2 D2 and C-3PO cut outs. It was there in 1979-1980. I never went inside because I always saw it from a bus but always saw teen agers milling about outside.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I remember the Ace Music, although I never went inside. My family and I used to eat at Franco’s Pizza pretty regularly; although I remember it being in a small strip mall, not in a diner-type structure (maybe I’m thinking of a different Italian restaurant in the same neighborhood; there were a lot of them). I can’t say I remember that little SF/comics shop at 6th Avenue and 167th, although I have very fond memories of the big Krispie Kreme donut store on the opposite corner (and of the nearby Farm Store, where my parents used to go to buy milk and eggs and other small sundry items).

          • william says:

            yes, Krispie Kreme will still be there long after Florida is underwater. LOL.. Franco’s did move around the corner on 167 street into a shopping center. It then closed for good when a Pizza Hut opened next to it. Sad but it had its great decades. Too bad about the Comic shop on 167 I wonder about it so many times but don’t know where to look for info on it. One day maybe we’ll find out something.

          • Andrew says:

            William, did you ever eat at Corkie’s Restaurant on 167th Street or at Pumpernick’s on Biscayne Boulevard? Those were two of my favorite “full service” delis in North Miami/North Miami Beach when I was growing up.

          • william says:

            hey Andrew,

            I did not eat or know of those places.
            There was a large dessert place across from Enterprise Comics
            on 163 street and 17th Street NE. I cannot remember its name
            but it was a chain dessert place very large. I went there in 1981
            for my birthday and then to Enterprise Comics. The Deli I used to
            frequent was Steve’s Subs on 127 street and West Dixie HWY.
            He must have been there late 1970s till late 2004. Its a pastry place
            now. Also the North Miami dollar theater on 126 street NE West Dixie
            HWY. I saw many films there from 1980-1985. Saw Blade Runner
            in 82 there and Valley Girl in 84. Wish it was still open.

            Did you ever go to Bennigan’s in the Kmart Shopping center on 167 street
            NE 13 avenue? I loved that place for Burgers unless we went to Franco’s
            Pizza. So many great places before chain restaurants started to dominate
            family run businesses.

            Did you ever go to the Movie theater on NE 167 street and 3rd ave?
            I saw Superman (1978) there and Star Wars re-release. Also the two
            163 street Movie theaters. You could watch kids cartoons or films
            in the afternoons for a few dollars in the summer. That was in the 1970s
            till 1979. They changed and demolished those theaters slowly by 1990.

            Home Depot sits on that site now.

            But the beautiful thing is our memories of those places.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I don’t remember your dessert place across the street from Starship Enterprises, but I do remember two of the movie theaters that you mention. I saw Star Wars and re-releases of the Ray Harryhausen “Sinbad” movies at the 163rd Street Shopping Center movie theaters, plus a whole lot of other films (including a dreadful B horror movies with Ray Milland called Frogs. I remember that the big duplex theater on 167th Street was quite fancy for the time and had big screens. I believe the Bennigan’s you refer to in the KMart Shopping Center (was it previously a Zayre’s Shopping Center) started its life as a Black Angus restaurant where my family and I used to eat quite often. It was at the edge of the shopping center’s parking lot, a stand-alone building. Wasn’t there also a Publix Supermarket in that same shopping center? It might not have featured a Zayre’s; the Zayre’s I’m remembering may’ve been over by the 163rd Street Shopping Center, but I know it began as a different discount department store than KMart. Actually, you know what — it wasn’t Zayre’s. It was Jefferson’s Department Store. My mom used to shop there quite a bit; it was sort of like a Target. The Black Angus was directly across the street from Corkie’s Delicatessen, sort of tucked away into that curve the road made between 163rd Street and 167th Street. Thanks for continuing to write me. I enjoy your messages.

          • william says:

            hi Andrew, I also enjoy these time travel moments. Zayre was on 163 street across the mall. It was there until 1990. It closed and become an Ames for a short period of time. Ames was more popular in the North. That Zayre shared the plaza with Publix, Eckerd Drugs and small Cuban sandwich place as well as a laundry mat. The laundry mat survived the longest well into 2000s. The entire area was demolished and is now a great public park with baseball field and amphitheater. The new main branch North Miami Beach library is across the street which makes it great for kids and families. Am not sure what was before the Kmart at the 167 street shopping center. Definitely had and still has the same Publix. I actually worked at that Publix for a year. I don’t remember Black Angus though but I may not have been paying attention. I remember Jefferson’s. My father worked at the Burdines at 163 street mall. We used to go to Jeffersons quite a lot in 1977-1979. I think they closed in 79 or 80. I used to buy the 3 comic books in a bag deal at Zayre. They had many sets for 1.99. I also remember the large glass showcase with Star Trek figures from original series pre-Motion Picture figurines. TRi-corders etc.. Those toys are collects items now. I can afford them today but somehow it removes the nostalgia, memory gets altered. I rather keep the memory about those things.

            Speaking of toys, did you keep your childhood toys? I kept all my Star Wars figurines from 1978 till 1983. I also kept the Dark Vader case and lunch box. I lost, due to many moves, my other accessories, vehicles etc through the years. Still, am happy I have the figures. I also started writing short four page Star Wars stories on my own during junior high school period which really helped me develop my imagination and writing skills. This eventually helped me excel during college. Creating a reading program for poets and performers in Miami and Chicago.

          • Andrew says:

            William, I love finding out that your father used to work at the Burdine’s Department Store at the 163rd Street Mall. My grandmother used to take me to their restaurant on their top floor for special lunches, and I bought many of my first science fiction paperbacks in their books department (they had a few long metal racks of paperbacks). I also loved their toy department, with the Dinky Toys in the glass display case (Dinky Toys were British die-cast metal toys, quite expensive for the time, which included vehicles from UFO, Star Trek, and Space: 1999, as well as all sorts of tanks and half-tracks and popular motor cars and such). Unfortunately, whereas I kept a number of my childhood books and all of my comic books, I didn’t keep any toys, aside from a large plush Tyrannosaurus which my father bought me at Arnold’s Toyland at the 163rd Street Mall (a small, cramped store with an amazing selection of toys, including robot toys). I also had the six-inch tall articulated Star Trek dolls/action figures; Spock, McCoy, and Kirk. I didn’t keep them, but my wife kept her set, so we have hers in our bedroom. I also had the Mego Planet of the Apes dolls/action figures, which came out around the same time as the Star Trek figures. I’m pretty sure I had Cornelius, Zira, Dr. Zaius, and a gorilla soldier, plus the Planet of the Apes Tree House to house them all. I’m sure it was all given away to GoodWill or the Salvation Army, along with my ship models and other toys (my mom cleaned out my room while I was at college so my younger brother could move into my old space). I also had a GI Joe with “lifelike hair,” plus the big Army jeep with the 75mm recoilless rifle in the back for the Joes (that thing fired big hard plastic missiles that could put your eye out). I had the plastic model kits of all the Universal monsters, plus King Kong and Godzilla, plus the major Planet of the Apes characters, as well as a model that I never finished of the Starship Enterprise (for some reason, I decided to paint it sky blue, rather than leaving it white). I didn’t build most of my models; either my mother or father built them for me so I could display them in my room. By the way, it sounds as though you’ve had a fascinating work life. I’d love to hear more about it.

          • william says:

            hey Andrew,
            I remember the restaurant in the top floor. It became the cafeteria area after Burdines moved out in the early 80s. I also remember those British toys you are referring to. I actually saw them in Peru in 1976. I knew about UFO because they used to show it in Peru but when I saw them at Burdines it was overwhelming because they also had the Space 1999 toys. My father got my brother and me the large Space 1999 ship. It was really an amazing toy. I have never seen anything quite as large and detailed as that since. We didn’t have any other Space 1999 or UFO toys. The first toy store I actually went to at 163 street was Arnolds and remember it being very full jam packed with toys. The Star wars toys were kept behind the counter. I would look at all of them wishing I could take them all. I loved Arnolds toy store. I remember the Planet of the Apes toys but at Zayre down the street. Also, there was Service Merchandise and a book store near it. Both were in the underground area near Jordan Marsh. I cannot recall the name of the bookstore but thats where I got my Space Wrecks book in 1979. They must have closed around 1982. I still have my large Godzilla from 1978 with fist that shoots out. My brother and I didn’t get much except Star Wars related toys. Our first toy was the Six Million Dollar Man doll. We saw the show in Peru but didn’t know there was a toy. When we arrived from Peru my father who had been living in the US already, brought it out for us. But Star Wars was our every thing night and day. Novels, toys, records, audio books, trading cards, clothes, linen. I still my Star Wars and Empire linen.

            I also didn’t build any of the model kits. Would get frustrated with instructions but then we may have been too young, I was around 7 or 8 when we got X-Wing model kits and it was a disaster. Woolworth down the mall was also a great place to hang out. They had many Matchbox sci-fi toys that I always gravitated towards. I eventually raised the funds, from kids summer job, and got the Adventure 2000 Command Force set with rocket command, crusader, rocket striker etc.. unfortunately, i arrived home and walked across the street to show my friends. I walked away from it for 4 seconds and someone took it. I never had a chance to open the box. I saved all summer for the box set and it was gone in 4 seconds. My friends acted as if I had not brought anything with me. I cried when I got home. I never hung out with them again. Hard lesson learned.

          • Andrew says:

            William, thanks so much for sharing all those memories, both the wonderful ones and the pretty awful one (the theft). Which was your favorite beach growing up, and which is your favorite now? I always loved Hollywood Beach the best, although I often went to Surfside Beach and Haulover Beach, too (they were closer to me). Did you ever go to a public pool in Coral Gables called the Venetian Pools? It was originally a rock quarry but got transformed into a miniature duplicate of the Venetian canals (with a cave grotto) in the 1920s, when Coral Gables was first built. Also, did you used to go to a park called Greynold’s Park, with a miniature “mountain” with a castle on top (actually the artificial mountain covered a pile of discarded rock excavation equipment) and with a small lake with paddle boats? That was one of my favorite places to go with my father.

          • william says:

            hi Andrew,
            Yes, my father took my brother and I to Hollywood Beach and Haulover Beach
            from 1977-1980. My Mom used to take us to Hallandale Park public pool during that
            same time. We moved near A&M Comics in the summer of 1980 so my father took
            us to TY Park in Hollywood from then on because his job at Pembroke Pines Hospital
            used to have pick nicks there. TY had an artificial beach which my brother and I loved. We lived too far from Coral Gables but had heard of the Venetian Pools. I actually live walking distance to Greynold’s Park and eat lunch there with family on weekends. The park hasn’t changed at all. They still have the paddle boats and alligators. Its one of my all time favorite places then and now. Been visiting the place since the 1970s and its a really great place for families. I remember, in 1981, saving a 7 year old boy who fell from the coral castle at Greynold’s Park. It had a lot of foliage around it then and no one could see the child. He was there one second and then gone. I looked over the side and saw that he had fallen down and landed on a large branch, sort of wedged in the bushes. I yelled for my brother to call 911. I scaled down and tried to keep the boy calm. He was crying and of course very scared. I told him the emergency people would be there in a few minutes. Five minutes later, the fire dept was there to haul the kid up and mend his scratches. He wasn’t in bad shape just a few cuts and very scared. My brother and I just walked away from the entire scene right after the firemen helped me up the tower. We walked back to my fathers car parked near by. He was reading the Miami Herald… he asked us about the incident. We looked at each other and laughed. We left after that. Didn’t want to be a “hero” we just did what we hope others would do in a similar situation. 6 years later, my brother saved a young man’s life during an Anthrax concert in an Orlando club. The young man had an epileptic seizure near the small stage. My brother made the band stop and immediately tended to the young man by putting a pen in his mouth so that he wouldn’t bite his tongue. The band invited my brother backstage and took photos with them afterwards. I can’t believe I just remembered all of this… thanks for bringing up Greynold’s Park. By the way where in New Orleans did you live?

          • Andrew says:

            William, I used to go to Topaheegee Yugnee (TY) Park, too, and play on their artificial beach. Has the park changed much since the early 1980s? My childhood pediatrician had his office close to TY Park. There was also a state park in Fort Lauderdale (I can’t remember the name) where my father used to take me frequently for hikes through the woods. But Greynold’s Park was always a favorite (thanks for sharing the story about your kind rescue of that young boy). When I visited Greynold’s last in 2005, I was amazed to see how little the place had changed since the 1970s. I celebrated my ninth birthday party at Greynold’s Park in 1973. At one point in the late 1960s or early 1970s, the park filled up with dope-smoking hippies and bikers, many of whom were very rude and crude to my father and me when we would come to walk through the woods surrounding the lake. I developed a strong aversion to hippies based on those encounters. But aside from one or two bad visits there, Greynold’s was a wonderful place to go. I also used to bike through the park on my way from my house to a friend’s house near Highland Oaks Elementary School. Another place I loved visiting with my father (and later on my own, once I could drive) was the Barnacle in Coconut Grove. It was the last of the pioneer homes in the Miami area, built by Commodore Ralph Munroe. It was so peaceful spending time on the house’s wooden veranda, staring out at Biscayne Bay. Lovely place; the next time I’m in Miami, I’ll definitely get back there.

          • william says:

            hey Andrew, TY was not changed at all as far as I can see. There is also the CB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines that we used to frequent with family. That park is definitely still there. I work out near to that park during the week so pass by it. Always have memories about it when I drive by. I remember Greynold’s from 1980 on but we didn’t go there before it. I have been to a Bagel place on Bisycane Blvd that’s been there since the 1960s and the owner has pics of Greynolds park from the late 60s and it is visually everything you described it to be. Hippies in a haze of smoke and flower power symbols everywhere. It looked like a Renaissance Fair at the castle. There was also photos of Jimmy Hendrix playing at the Race track from 1969.

            I went to Highland Oaks elementary school from 1977-1980. Left right after Empire Strike Back came out in May. I loved that school. Had the first computers available for students. Also, great location and big library. Other schools after that never matched the public funding that school had. Unfortunate.

            There is a new park across from Highland Oaks and a jogging trail. The school looks exactly the same as it did in 1980. The surrounding foliage likewise except for the new artificial lake and park across the street. Nice addition for folks like us to sit and mediate on our past journeys.

          • Andrew says:

            Dear William,

            Please accept my apology for not having written to you in over a month. I suffered a fairly serious relapse of a chronic illness which I suffer from and was “out of commission” and pretty much off-line for about the past month. I’m back in the office now and am slowly returning to all of my formerly routine tasks, such as moderating and updating this blog. I hope you spot this message (in case you don’t receive notification that I have responded to your most recent message, I’ll send a copy of this to your email account). I’d really enjoy hearing from you again. I enjoyed so much reading your memories of Highland Oaks Elementary; I was just discussing their Resource Program for gifted students with my son, Asher, who is in a similar program at his elementary school.

          • william says:

            hey Andrew, no worries about the lapse in time. figured you had some priorities as we all do. I was at Highland Oaks with my girlfriend a few weeks ago a day before school started back again and the school looks the same. Only change is the new lake across the street. Makes for a better and safer landscape.

          • Andrew says:

            Dear William,

            Thanks so much for your quick reply. I really appreciate it. Have you ever visited the Barnacle in Coconut Grove? It is a state historical site, the home of Commodore Ralph Munroe, one of the pioneer settlers of the Miami area. It is one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots in the metro area. Take good care!

            Best wishes,
            Andy Fox

          • william says:

            hey Andrew,

            Am more familiar with the Deering Estate further south near the Falls. It was often rented out and used to shoot scenes for Miami Vice in the mid 1980s. I’ve never been to the Barnacle though and mostly due to living in North Miami area without proper transportation it would take at least 2 hours by bus. This was the case for my visiting A&M Comics in Bird Road in 1984. It was futile for me to try and ride all day back then unless it was a 40 minute ride. The mid 1980s for me were very traumatic due to the crack epidemic so I often didn’t venture out far from home. South Miami was a different world.. I guess I kept to Greynalds Park or North Beach and TY Park. Am more familiar with parks in the South and will venture this coming weekend to Barnacle with my girlfriend to experience the lush tropical landscape and coastal waters as well. How is your writing going and are you developing a coming of age text for future publication? Am looking forward to the next Star Wars convention, be it in Orlando or elsewhere in the US.

          • Andrew says:

            Dear William,

            Did you and your girlfriend ever make it over to the Barnacle? If so, what did you both think of it? Hope you are doing well.

  8. william says:

    hey Adrew,

    We thought about the Barncle all week but have been unable to due to her 6 day work week and my installing an exhibit of Miami artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami. Its been a long time since I have been able to just drive around. Though I have been documenting some city buildings while I run errands. There is a turtle like building that looks like something out of Logan’s Run on 163 street and 20th avenue. I think its an architecture firm but never been inside. Anyway, it has to have been there since the 1970s or late 1960s. I love those buildings in the area. I may make a small run of self published books of old time Miami architecture from various places I have visited in my youth that may be on the verge of being demolished. I saw the old Hallandale main branch library location and documented it. Its all white and bordered up now but its still standing and brings back memories. The new one is off Biscayne Blvd and fine but I liked the 1950s pseudo NASA- futuristic architecture. Hope you are doing well too. best w

    • Andrew says:

      William, have you made it over to the Barnacle this month? It is well worth your time. It sounds like you have a marvelous job; I’d love to get back down to the Miami area and see that exhibition you put up. I like your idea of a book of photographs of unusual South Florida architecture. I hope you manage to pull it together someday. Take good care. It’s always good to hear from you.

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