Several years ago after escaping high school, my friend Jim asked me if I wanted to move to Florida with him. We had known each other since 6th or 7th grade, and had hung out ever since. Every Saturday we would either be sitting in front of my stereo or his, listening to the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, two iconic musical groups from the 60s. This story is about our big move to the sunshine state of Florida.
Jim was going to be attending Manatee Junior College. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was going to be doing. We were both 18 and thought we had the world by the tail, like most kids our age in the 70s. Neither one of us seemed to fit into the culture of most people our age. While many were swimming downstream, I think we were both struggling to head in the opposite direction.
When July 1975 arrived, we were up around four in the morning packing the remaining items to move to his parents recently-purchased home in Bradenton, Fla. Really, the only things that we took were a stereo, records, 8-tracks, clothes, personal items, and the will to survive on our own for the first time in the adult world.
When five a.m. arrived, we were heading south in his parents’ extra car with the tape player blaring Beach Boys surfing songs. Surfing music was getting us primed for becoming beach bums on the sandy beaches of tropical Florida.
We had it all planned out, when neither one of us was working or attending college, our days and nights would be spent on a surfboard riding the wild waves. Little did we realize that the only time one could surf any waves of large size was during a hurricane or tropical storm. The Gulf of Mexico, we soon would discover was rather placid except during stormy weather. Well, if we couldn’t make a splash at surfing, maybe we would have better luck with the beach bunnies who inhabited the warm sandy beaches along Longboat Key and Anna Maria islands.