The BIRTH of my SON – 1966

When I look at this photograph taken in a photo booth on Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in December 1966, so many thoughts and memories come flooding in. At the time we were renting a little cottage right off the Boulevard….

First I must back up and tell you how this photograph came to pass…..

In July of 1965 I married my first husband – In hindsight – not a great idea, however, In my defence I was 19 and at the time it it all seemed rather exciting and dare I say glamorous!

My husband (who was English) had family in the States and so given that we were foot loose and fancy free I agreed to spend two years visiting there, after which we would return to the UK/Europe.

The five day crossing on the United States Liner was one of the roughest on record at that time…and so when I was horribly sick, along with most of the other passengers it wasn’t surprising.

Having arrived in New York we then took a Greyhound Bus – destination Miami Florida where my husband’s uncle picked us up and drove us to Key West,….the most Southern point of the States – just ninety miles from Cuba. The sickness continued….

Long story short, about three months later it was confirmed that I was pregnant, which meant that when we left England on the 28th January 1966, I was probably a week or two pregnant. Jarrod (my son) was born almost nine months to the day later on September 10th 1966 – a great blessing in my life. He was such a dear little boy:)

Agreeing to go to the States for two years – turned out to be the beginning of huge and life changing adventure. In fact I lived and worked in the the States for 28 years until 1993 when I returned to the UK/Europe.

We stayed with my husband’s cousin who was a captain in what was then the active marine base on Key West. Through him and his wife, we helped out with some of the Cuban refugees who were fleeing Castro’s regime in small boats. One couple (British ex pats) arrived with just a few items sewn to their underwear. They had in fact lived a fantastic life in Cuba and had met Castro when he helicoptered onto their land, assuring them that they had nothing to worry about. Within days all their bank accounts, were frozen.

Meanwhile Jarrod was still in my belly…waiting to emerge…….

Here are some of the stand out memories from Key West….

No drinking until you were 21. Being carded!

Covering up when changing on the beach, which was very strange coming from Europe.

My first American pizza….which I loved then and since.

Watching Johnny Carson on tv. (I had never heard of him at the time)

Colour TV for the first time.

All manner of gadgets in the kitchen that I had never seen before, including an electric tin opener!

Drug stores…..rather than the local chemist.

Fast food….- diners

so many flavours of ice cream….

large portions of food.

No where to walk…everyone drove….something I never got used to.

Good weather but high humidity…..

After three months on Key West we then moved up to Ft. Lauderdale, where I was seeing a doctor. Having to pay was quite a shock. . No NHS in the States.

And then Jarrod was born on 10th September 1966 in the brand new Holy Cross Hospital....and what a fuss they made of us. Because he was one of the first babies born there…..newspaper articles were written, an orchid grower sent beautiful plants…and so on.

Interestingly Jarrod was born with red hair:)

When Jarrod was three months old we drove to Staten Island New York where we had friends…..(what a drive that was through the Deep South).

We rented a cottage from Mimi Kolff whose father settled a lot of Staten Island….one of Staten Island ferries (the Cornelious Kollf) was named after him.

Mimi Kollf in her garden – Her house was next to our cottage at HARBOR VIEW Place, Staten Island.

One of Jarrod’s birthdays at the cottage on Staten Island. By this time, I was a single mother in a foreign land…Through Mimi I met Marie and her family…who became a second a family to us. Marie babysat for Jarrod during the time I worked at White, Weld & Co., on Wall Street. I never missed a days work….she was fabulous. All her children are now grown with their own children and grandchildren.

And so that’s the story behind the first photograph taken in a booth on Las Olas Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale.

What it shows again and again is that ‘none of us is every creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..’


27 thoughts on “The BIRTH of my SON – 1966

  1. VJ

    I nod along, having married the first time at 19, recognizing the culture of the 60s, and agreeing with that last bit of wisdom. What an adventure your life has been!

  2. brantleycolin

    This is amazing i like the paint of your son is so good awesome memories keep it up and share more memories like that..

  3. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, I so enjoyed reading this post. I had no idea that you lived here for 28 years–that long. I have to laugh that things we take for granted here and that were a part of our lives we never thought about you found strange and interesting. You tell the story so nicely. Thanks. Best,


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