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.