My family moved to Florida in December 1944 just after war was declared. I was 15 at the time.
This was a time when World War II soldiers were being sent to Florida for training purposes. They occupied many hotels on Miami Beach. A couple of years later, I would become a junior Red Cross hostess and go to many dances with servicemen.
Lincoln Road on Miami Beach was a very glamorous place at that time — lovely shops, beautifully dressed women, who in the winter would bring out their furs and jewelry. In the summer, stores like Saks Fifth Avenue would have great sales because there were no tourists around.
My best girlfriend, Pauline Lux Steadman, was the niece of Polly and Baron de Hirsch Meyer, so we would go to their cabana at the Roney Plaza, which was the place at the time.
Upon graduation from Miami Beach High in 1943, I worked at the Office of Censorship in Miami. After about a year I left and went to work at the Miami Air Depot. Since transportation was difficult at the time, however, I left to work at a military store on Miami Beach, where I met my husband, who was in the Army.
He was a musician. After he left the service, he worked with a small band at the Blackstone Hotel and from there went on to the Famous Door, Copa City, Beachcomber, Martha Raye’s Five o’clock Club and The Vagabond Club, all known nightclubs at that time.
He went under the name of Al Foster. He also composed songs for two University of Miami sketchbooks and worked at WTVJ Television with Steve Condos, half of the dancing team with brother Nick Condos, who was married to Martha Raye at the time.
Before my children were born I worked as a dancing instructor, model, cigarette girl and hostess. We saw many entertainers who were just starting out who later would become big names in show business.
Unfortunately we had to leave Florida to move up North, but after several years, I later returned in 1973. Not only were my mother and sister still in Florida, but I had sand in my shoes and had to return.