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More Kids in the House

Five kids, a wife, and a campground office are just too much to try and fit into a house trailer no matter how big it is. Although I wasn't ready financially or otherwise I had to build a house. It was finished so we could move into it in 1969. The office was in the living room and Elsie and I still had to sleep at night with our clothes on to answer the night calls. We installed a fence around the area back of the house and although it was full of wild trees it made a wonderful spot for the kids to play. It was close to the house, there was a lot of shade and they could play Tarzan and swing through the trees. Despite the fact that we worked very hard we had some good times too, and we, both Elsie and I, were always around to share in the kids' troubles and triumphs. It really was a good place to raise kids and we had five.

Our bedroom in the new house was next to Maloney Avenue and as I realized later directly in line with the end of 5th street. One night I awoke to the sound of screeching tires and I thought was not going to quit before it came right through our bedroom wall. It really scared us. The next morning we measured the black skid marks and that car coming straight down 5th avenue had skidded for one-hundred and twenty-five feet. A few days later I bought a couple of big telephone poles and erected a barricade between our house and the street. No one has ever hit it but for the next nineteen years we slept much more peacefully without any fear of a car winding up in bed with us.

I could buy bay bottom in front of my property as I had riparian rights. I was hesitant about this purchase as it was nothing buy open water. Mr. Bernstein advised me to buy it if I could as there would come a day when I wouldn't be able to. That purchase was 3.1 acres of bay bottom for $1,317.50 from the Internal Improvement Board, a State Agency. That was on the 5th day of May 1966. Then the same question arose about filling it. Again Mr. Bernstein advised me there would come a day when I couldn't fill it, so I filled it. That was no small project as it took $60,000 just to fill from the trees out to the point the first time. Since then, of course, there has been a lot more fill put in around the edges, on top due to it settling, and a circled area on the end for a saltwater swimming pool. Although I lost track of the total cost of fill for this area it probably was well over $80,000.

When we had filled the triangular shape of our bay bottom we smoothed off the point and covered it with coral screenings (crushed coral). This mad a very respectable beach and was quite popular with our guests. There was enough sand that the kids could dig and play and everyone could get a good tan if they wished. This was going along fine for a few years until the moving "JAWS" was released. People were terrified of the thoughts that a shark could actually come up to our beach. You would hear women screaming at their kids, "Don't go in the water". We just had to do something. So... we had Toppino's haul in a bunch of fill and place it in a big circle around the beach. We installed a pipe at each end so the water in our pool would rise and fall with the tied. I used to tell people we changed the water in our pool twice a day. Now our customers could use the beach and swim in the water again. It worked fine until, in 1990, we built a big freshwater pool with a nice big deck and thatched hut connected to it. Now no one uses the salt water beach and we obtained permits to fill it for waterfront sites.

I bought a golf cart to be able to get around. Elsie and the kids decorated it and painted "Welcome Wagon" on it. Since then we could never be without a golf cart or two or three. Somewhere along the line, it became a tradition for Elsie and me to dress up as Mr. & Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve. We ride around in the golf cart handing out candies to all the kids. I do a lot of ho-ho-ho-ing which seems to give the people a good bit of enjoyment and they take a lot of pictures of us when we do this.

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