Florida beach hotels looking like you could sit right down and put your toes under the sand. Postcards, 1920-1940’s.

Saint Augustine Beach Hotel, Saint Augustine, Florida. 1940's.
Saint Augustine Beach Hotel, Saint Augustine, Florida. 1940’s. Published by Colourpicture, Boston. In the public domain. via https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/331804
Postcard Collection
Birdseye view of ultra modern skyscraper hotels at Miami Beach, Florida. Undated. Novelti-Craft Company, Miami, Florida, publisher. In the public domain. via https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/334403
The New Hotel Coquina - Ormond Beach, Florida. ca 1920.
The New Hotel Coquina – Ormond Beach, Florida. ca 1920. In the public domain. via The New Hotel Coquina – Ormond Beach, Florida. ca 1920.
Luxurious hotels along ocean front at Miami Beach, Florida. After 1938.
Luxurious hotels along ocean front at Miami Beach, Florida. After 1938. In the public domain. via https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/329769

Cuba back in the dreamtime . . . .I’ve been in a number of West Indian hostelries and none were as romantic as these . . . trade winds not included.

Corridor of the Hotel Camagüey.
Corridor of the Hotel Camagüey. Undated. Color postcard. Cuban Railroad Company, publisher. Fair use license. Collection of the University of Miami. via https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/chc0359/id/3528/rec/10.
Parque Central y Hotel Plaza, Havana. Undated.
Parque Central y Hotel Plaza, Havana. Undated. Publisher not known. Fair use license. Collection of the University of Miami. via https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/chc0359/id/3519/rec/49.
Playa de Marianao, Havana. Undated.
Playa de Marianao, Havana. Undated. C. Jordi,, publisher. Fair use license. Collection of the University of Miami. via https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/chc0359/id/4027/rec/8/.
Cafe Restaurant at Vista Alegre, Santiago de Cuba. Undated.
Cafe Restaurant at Vista Alegre, Santiago de Cuba. Undated. Publisher not known. Fair use license. Collection of the University of Miami. via https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/chc0359/id/3717/rec/2
"Havana Club" Rum Private Bar, Havana.
“Havana Club” Rum Private Bar, Havana. Undated. Fair use license. Collection of the University of Miami. via https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/chc0359/id/4057/rec/1

Last one has everything except for Ernest Hemingway. We’ll just have to imagine him up.

An envisioning. . . .a windy Chicago afternoon in March of 1972 and a bench in the little park by the lake. . .

An envisioning. . . windy Chicago afternoon in March of 1972 and a bench in the park.

Oh to be here.

Outing to the city to go shopping and have dinner. Nothing fun to buy and time to kill. A cab over to Lake Shore Drive and the hotel where great uncle worked.

Mother spending entire months with them. Twelve brothers and sisters and not living close to the fancy high school. Hard to get into but two hours each way. The other easier and home on weekends.

But the same park and hours spent. Great uncle having worked there doing something. No one being able to remember what, but there for decades and months and years spent sitting on the bench with her auntie waiting for him to finish. Better than sitting in the apartment but still. Watching people go in and out the front door and the chauffeurs opening and shutting the doors of their cars for what seemed like an eternity.

A long time ago and a car of her own long since. No chauffeur but only people way up on the North Shore having them anyway. But a good place to work it was. Fancy and the beach to go to.

Not supposed to but the manageress liking Mother’s aunt and letting her have her own cabana. Supposed to be only for guests but one down at the end where no one went. The big lady’s room with all its marble in the lobby to change in and out of one’s bathing suit and ice-cold sodas from the machine in the Housekeeping lounge. Books to sit in the sand and read and lunch out of a picnic basket.

Cannoli from the little bakery near the apartment and sand between one’s toes . . . .perfect . . . . a lifetime of Saturdays to come but none as wonderful as that one . . .

"The Drake, Lake Shore Drive and upper Michigan Avenue, Chicago." 1935.
“The Drake, Lake Shore Drive and upper Michigan Avenue, Chicago.” 1935. Vintage tinted postcard. via https://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/postcard-chicago-drake-hotel-lake-shore-drive-and-upper-michigan-aerial-slightly-surrealistic-looking-s-e-tinted-1935/.

This is not my story. Rather it is the story of my good friend John S. who has entrusted me with it to share with you. It is the story of a gentleman who immigrated to America from Italy around the time of the first World War and made a life in Chicago for himself and his wife and family, working for years in a grand hotel with a little park opposite where they sat and waited for him.