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Island Memories


Sweet Jane 61
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Key West has been a very special place for me since I was 12. I have not been on the island since 1980 and I don't want to return due to the progression of the island. This poems describes the island I fell in love with.

Island Memories

Nestled within the blue-green waters

a paradise rich with history and beauty,

sunsets harmonized with orange, red, and gold...

as a warm breeze with the essence of sea salt unfolds.

Quaint and quirky shops line the streets

bicycles cruise by with young and old...

a melting pot of delicious cuisines abound

as carefree spirits mingle and bum around.

White sandy beaches scattered with seashells

waves lapping the shore while children play,

as steadfast fishermen wait for a bite

and sun worshipers marinate until last light.

Old towne natives complacent with life

as they remember the creative folks of yesteryear...

a writers spirit inhabits the island

while guests tour about as planned.

A tropical fantasy to explore

finiding a whirlwind of momentary rapture...

with a heavy heart I bid good-bye

my island memories forever in my minds eye.

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I was stationed at NAS Key West for 18 months until 1972. I have great memories of that laid back lifestyle you so vividly relate in this exceptionally visual poem, Jane. You nailed the essence of the flow that, like the tide, brings and sends lifestyles, people and customs to the end of Highway #1. Back then, the sunsets at Mallory pier were just starting to be recognized by a handful of people as something special. I understand that now, it is a commercial production with the actual sunset being nearly relegated to costar status.

I returned in 1974 for a brief visit, but already a moderization program (read TOURIST INCOME) had begun and several older neighborhoods were being razed to make way for hotels. I thought it was natural, but that it was not the same feeling to the old place. I have not been back since.

Thank you for sharing this work. I really enjoyed the walk along Duval and Pearl Streets and the glance into Sloppy Joe's to see who was hanging out today.

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I was there in 2000. Looking for April's island. What I found was, unfortuantly, not.

The history and natural beauty buried amongst the high rise hotels, and the "Key " themed touristy shops and invasion of...Applebees! :stars:

April I want to go to your place. I suppose this is as close as I'll get..

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Joe, thank you! And I did send the poem to the newspaper but have heard nothing back, yet. To visit Key West now, you would not see the one I described, it is long gone.

Ron, I remember you telling me you were stationed down there, what a different time it was, I miss it very much, but the memories I have are wonderful. Summer loves, Mallory Dock, Sloppy Joe's, Smathers Beach, all of it still tucked away in my heart. I will never go back, don't want to see the island that I love so different. Thank you for your thoughts.

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CeeCee...it was such a different time back then in the 70's. If I had been older I think I would have lived down there, it was a way of life I felt comfortable in. No one judged you, took you for who you were not what you did or looked like or anything along those lines, and the scenery was beyond gorgeous. I wish Key West would have stayed the secret is was back in the day.

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It hase become such a big tourist attraction that the charm it once had is gone. Cruise ships coming in all the time at Mallory Dock and too many people. It was a nice little secret back in the day, but since the mid 80's it is too commercialized. Still beautiful and some of the most amazing beaches and water you will see, but not charming anymore. :(

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