Vladmar is heading to Florida. At 60 the Pittsburgh native has never been to the Sunshine State.

My first visit was in Spring 1971. Four friends drove a Chevy Nova from Boston to Fort Lauderdale. I-95 was half-finished and US1 ran as a two-laner through small southern towns. We only stopped for gas and food, but also we purchase fireworks in Dillon SC. We drank Busch beer and smoked reefer the entire journey. The cops didn’t stop us once. We were 18 year-old freshmen on college break. Only I had long hair.

We crossed the Florida state line listening to WBZ’s broadcast of the Bruins-Canadians playoff. Boston was up 5-3 in the 3rd. The station faded to static at the welcoming rest stop. We drank complimentary OJ and dreamed about finally throwing off the curse of the Les Habs over the Bs. We arrived the next morning in Fort Lauderdale.

Our crash pad was across the street from the infamous Elbow Room in which more co-eds have exorcised the demons of alcohol than any other south Florida bar. I bought the local newspaper and read how Jean Beliveau scored 2 goals to tie the game. We lost in overtime. Fucking Canadians.

That night I drank in the Elbow Room. It had been featured in the movie WHERE THE BOYS ARE.

I met a girl from Dallas and we walked to the beach. Stars glistened above the Gulf Stream. I lit a joint. We smoked surrounded by other teenage couples making out like turtles getting ready to lay eggs. I gazed Orion. The constellation glowed in the southern night.



The smell of salt off the breeze.

Some things never change.

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