Joe's Adventures

"Fun on the River"


I did come to Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1947. My mother woke my brother and me one night and said, “We are running far away from your father.” He was very abusive and would beat her black and blue many times. Mom was afraid that he would kill her one day when he would come home drunk. She saved us all.

To all you boys, please remember that a good man will never strike a woman or hurt her in any way!

Many of these experiences are taken from my early years in Daytona and Ormond Beach. Harold is my lifelong friend. Susan is my cousin. She never had any of these experiences. I just think she is a great girl, and I wanted to include her as a main character to share in this story.

Please, I do not recommend that any of my young readers try to catch snakes or alligators. These are wild things. To my older readers, what are you thinking? They are extremely dangerous and can and will kill you. Do not do it!

Growing up in Florida was great. We had no air-conditioning and no TV. We had just a radio, and the mystery stories came on at night. That was our only entertainment. The movies cost nine cents, popcorn was ten cents, and sodas were five cents; and you could earn extra money by collecting cola bottles for the two-cent deposit. We only wore shoes when we went to church and school.


Did you know that Nelson Rockefeller, the millionaire, once lived here in a big house on the river by the Ormond Bridge? The kids in town would all be given a dime each every day when he was sitting out on the beach. He really liked to see them come around. Mr. Rockefeller built his house here because he wanted to live in the healthiest place in the world. He was advised by scientists that Ormond Beach was it.

Harold was wondering about the name of the Tarzan tree. “Joe,” he said, “why do you call it the Tarzan tree? I said, “I’ve been told that many years ago, a big Hollywood movie studio came here to make a jungle movie. They had a big setup with a lot of actors, lots and lots of monkeys, and lions. “I can’t remember the name of the movie. Johnny Weissmuller, who plays Tarzan, starred in it. He climbed up that tree—the one leaning over the river, dived in the river, and swam over here to save Jane from a lion. He also swung on some vines from tree to tree to fight an alligator that wants to eat her.

It was feeding time when we came in the door. The six opossums were nocturnal and did not come out in the daytime, so Ray put glass on the side of their display cage so the tourist could watch them sleeping. He had many other animals such as a pair of raccoons, one gopher tortoise, two wild turkeys, and a bunch of different kinds of snake (such as rattlesnakes) in a pit. The snakes’ pit was about fifteen feet across, and it was round so the people could see the snakes from all sides. Ray must have had twenty of them in there. He also had monkeys in a large wire-scree enclosure. All these were outside in the compound.

Other Book

How to Stay Married for 50 Years

Services, thoughts and experiences about being married to the love of my life for 50 years are to be unfolded in these pages. At the beginning of the book, I stated that even after 50 years, it isn’t easy. I give advise on how to keep, or on how to be happy in marriage. It entails going to chick flicks even if you don’t want to go but because she wants to. Do special things, do not criticize her, and assure her that everything will be OK. Love and understanding are difficult things to hang on to but these pages will hopefully show you that love and commitment will resolve every predicament in 50 years of long and happy marriage.


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