In 1987 Elsie and I moved off the campground and started our retirement. Lynn and Bob Jones moved out of their trailer in the far corner of the campground and into the house-office. Bob was now the full-time manager. He had been taking more and more of the responsibility for several years already.
In 1990, at the strong urging of Bob, the campground put in a beautiful swimming pool with a large area for sunbathing. Tropical plants and palms of several varieties surround the whole deck and pool area. It gives the entire area a delightful tropical atmosphere. In 1992 a Tiki hut with a thatched roof and a large T.V. have been added to the pool area which really makes a nice place for parties and just casual lounging time.
One of the things tourists expect to find in Key West are palm trees. We like them too of course so we have planted many coconut trees. During the 1980s a palm blight struck the whole Caribbean area and we lost many of our palm trees. We saw an opportunity at a local nursery to get a good buy on a lot of quite large trees (some as high as 20 feet) in 1995. We planted about 200 trees of various kinds but mostly different varieties of palm trees.
Another one of the many little nice things around the campgrounds has been the development of ďCertificatesĒ. We hand them out free and it gives their name and date and states that they have camped at the ĒSouthernmost Campgrounds in the U.S.A.Ē When I get in the mood, I sometimes sit out by the flower bed and print and hand out free certificates. Everyone loves them and I tell them they are the only free thing in Key West. Its fun for me and gives the customers a good feeling.
When Elsie and I retired and moved off the campground in 1988 there was the considerable talk of getting a computer for the camp. I decided that if I wished to keep up to what is happening at the campgrounds, and in the world, I better take a course in computers. The first thing I learned was you have to know how to type. However, it has been a lot of help when I hear the boys talk computer talk to each other. Besides having our own computer, it is now hooked up with our accounting firm so they pass information back and forth as needed. The camp is firmly established in the computer world of tomorrow. We hold regular meetings in our back office where everyone in the family has an opportunity to air their opinions before we make any major decisions. This is one family corporation that seems to be working very well.
As time goes on, there is an ever-increasing load of forms and permits and taxes. It will take a lot of hard work and vigilance to keep the campground as a virile and competitive business. However, with the combined talents of our offspring and their spouses, the campground is in a very good position to be successful. We all feel optimistic at the present time. In 1996 we made a new, beautiful washroom out of the old milk house. It looks terrific and Bob has planted trees and bushed around to enhance the exterior. As modems and telephones become more common in campers, we have added telephone lines to most of the sites. The whole campground just keeps getting bigger and better every year. When you have a place with all the essentials, with security and landscaping, close to town with good management it just has to be a success.
NOVEMBER, 1996 - BOYD HAMILTON - KEY WEST, FLA