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Florida my Florida

December 18, 2020

When I was about to enter my Junior year in high school, my father, then age 45, decided to sell his successful oriental rug business in Pittsburgh and move to Florida. The cold winters in Pittsburgh had something to do with it, but mostly it was wanderlust.

We lived for several months with my grandfather until my Dad built a home on North Miami Beach across from what was called “Motel Row.” We had been visiting Miami as early as I can remember, because one of my father’s sisters lived in North Miami. My grandmother would fly from Pittsburgh’s “County Airport” to visit her in Winter and we would drive to Miami to visit Grandma, my Aunt, her husband and my three cousins.

My fond memories of Miami include long drives on my Lambretta motor scooter, sitting in the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel on Collins Avenue with two of my high school classmates, high school picnics at Haulover Beach, participating in our National Forensic League debate club, and discovering intellectual interests in religion, literature and politics.

Several times I attended Southern Baptist services with classmates and witnessed full immersion baptisms and also attended Shabbat services with a Jewish classmate. Discovering that I was good at public speaking in speech competitions and in debates and recognition by my Social Studies teacher that I was a gifted writer helped secure my belief that I needed to go to college.

Those were formative years from which I sustain a love of Miami and once retained a Florida lobbyist who sends me reports on Florida politics. Here’s her summary of the recent vote in the 2020 Presidential Election:

Florida’s general election results were certified by the Election Canvassing Commission on November 17th. Republican Ileana Garcia prevailed over Democrat incumbent Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez in Miami-Dade County by 32 votes, requiring a recount. There are now 24 republicans and 16 democrats in the Senate and 78 republicans and 42 democrats in the House of Representatives. The Florida Legislature now has the largest freshman class in almost two decades. Additionally, there are 55 women serving in the Legislature, representing the highest number in history.

God bless Florida!

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