Saturday, December 25, 2010

Messages...from Christmases Past and Present:

From our New Zealand correspondent, remembering Christmases past:

G'Day, Wes;
 I read the blog about Pine Street.  Glad to hear that the residents there in Genesis are taking a zero-tolerance.
 As I read further on, I was appalled to read that 718 South Pine Street had the circle gathering puffing-up the weed.
 I have good memories of 718 South Pine Street, as this is where Vernon H. 'Bud' Gorder, his wife Jane, and daughter Gail resided in the 50's, 60's and most of the 70's. Bud worked for Florida Jalousie Windows, and was an avid Pontiac owner (LeMans, Safari Wagon, etc). 
 Bud served in the US Army as a Captain in the 101st Infantry.  He was in the Battle of the Bulge, and saw many horrors committed by the SS. He would discuss with checked excitement what it was like to drive an Army Jeep, Sherman Tank, and the intricacies of tactical and strategic planning. He would avoid the horrid parts of his service except to explain the photos in his Battalion Book.
 Living next door to the Gorders, one could not have asked for finer neighbours. 
 Bud and Jane, like many of their generation, suffered thru the Great Depression and World War ll.  They lived honest, quiet lives and raised their daughter in the era of Howdy Dooty, Disney and Captain Kangaroo. 
 They always shared what they had, and Bud would go 'above and beyond' in setting the example of honesty and integrity. Jane maintained a high standard and insisted on manners, good behaviour and proper celebrations.
 Bud brought home 'war souvenirs' in the form of his army uniform, equipment and German side-arms.  He also had brought home a collection of captured knives, daggers and inert booby traps.  Every New Years Eve, after the King Orange Jamboree Parade in Miami which was broadcast on WTVJ Channel 4, Bud would load-up his Walther PPK(S) and his Luger.  He would signal the midnight hour and the arrival of the New Year by firing his pistols in the back yard.
(Imagine doing this in today's world...)
 During the time I was his neighbour and friend, Bud allowed me into his attic to play with his O-Gauge Lionel train set. He gave me bits and pieces of his Army items when I would play Army in the neighbourhood (imagine doing that as well in today's environment...).  To this day, I still have his Captain's bars, and those bars I kept with me thru-out my lengthy military career.
 Bud always kept a promise. He took me to the go-kart track in northern Lake Worth (Dixie Hwy next to the PB Canal) in the early 60's, and for a tour on board a visiting submarine. The Gorders bought me a Tonka Jeep, a Ready Kilowatt safety hat (used when I climbed their rubber tree out front of their house), and World War ll tank and Jeep models for Christmas's and Birthdays. 
 After I would complete a model, Bud would show an honest degree of shared enthusiasm into my accomplishment.
 The Gorders taught me by their example of hard work, proper etiquette, and pointing out a youngsters mistakes without getting angry or hostile, explaining the situation in a calm and dignified manner as to what might have been wrong.
 Bud, Jane & Gail loved celebrating Christmas at 718 South Pine Street. There would always be an red electric candle in each of the front windows, an illuminated Santa face on the front of the house, and Santa's sled and reindeer on the roof of the house.  Not to mention the outdoor Christmas lights on the small front overhand and the back hedge under the Florida Room windows. 
 But the Christmas tree was always huge, and decorated in a high quality.  To this day I miss the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in their Florida room, and seeing Bud relaxing from a day of work with a Bourbon and Water, and Jane cooking their dinners with tempered glass pots.
 I last saw Bud in 1974 at 718 South Pine Street, as I was visiting while on leave from the USAF.  I believe he then knew that he and Jane had made a positive difference in the lives of those around them.
 Sadly, Bud passed away at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital at Cleveland, Ohio in January of 1988.  Bud had re-married prior to that, and when I visited Lake Worth in 2002, I tried to locate his resting place, but was unsuccessful.
 Yes, a true, honest and hard-working American family once lived at 718 South Pine Street; and they lived there for many years, and always had the time for 'the kid next door'. 
 Had Bud or *Jane (*Jane was very good with weapons!) arrived home to find a similar scenario as to what had recently happened at 718, I have no doubt that the PPK(S) would have come to life in a very short order.
 And that's what 718 South Pine Street was like in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Looking back, and doing a comparison to then and now leaves one wondering; has the very fabric of the nation now vanished in the social, political and economic sense?
 Merry Christmas, Wes.  Feel free to post this on your blog in honour of the Gorders.

And from Christmas present, in support of one of our fine Lake Worth residents and community leaders, from the same neighborhood.  This is in response to a dialog from the other blogger:

Anonymous you might be wise to form your opinion by checking into his history from when he first moved into this city and began volunteering while still recovering from a hip replacement surgery.  His advocating for residents in Genesis neighborhood is tireless.  He managed to get the city to install speed bumps on our street where there was excessive non adherence to the 25mph posted limit.  He bought the whole crew of 8 city workers KFC lunch the day they began working under the hot sun to install our speed bumps.  We had been asking for them for years and our requests fell on deaf ears.  He tutors my son and a neighbors son whenever they ask for help with homework he works it into his schedule.  He has taken my son to GameStop and bought him games.  It is a deal he made with my son, Mark told Jay "every time you bring home a report card where you are on the honor roll I will take you to GameStop and you pick out a game" Last year Jay was on the honor roll the WHOLE YEAR!  Something he’d never done before.  He got him a scholarship at a local Karate School.  I am his neighbor who lives right next door to him.  Come ask me and I will tell you personally.  Mark IS NOT a hateful “wanna be.”  Tonight a story aired on channel 12 about a local Haitian neighbor who was scammed by a solar company.  He is fighting for that lady like he was her son.  He had an extension cord plugged into his home recently when our electricity service was suspended we could not pay our utility bill.  He didn't want my son to do homework by candlelight.  There is much more but I think I have said enough. So Mr. or Ms. Anonymous do you know a hateful wannabe capable of all this and without a penny of compensation. Not one dime.  We have offered and he has refused.  If you were at the street painting festival you would have seen him with four of the children from our block, my son included, who came back thrilled with painted faces all excited about the fun day they had and they met a Commissioner and the Captain of the Sheriff's Dept.!  We are very blessed to have him and Jeff as neighbors.  Mark told me not to bother that Ms. Anderson probably wouldn't post this response but I had to because whether she does or not is not the point and it can never erase what this man represents to a lot of us in this community.  God bless him.  I did this for me.
Ms. Stefani
703 South A Street