Greetings From The Magic Kingdom
“Our ’57 trip to California was meant as a vacation, and if it didn’t exactly change our life, it sure changed that summer.”
Our little memoir of the distant past (page 61) illustrates the reason we have our mothers. Working at Disneyland in California in the late summer of 1957, we kept a diary of sorts in the form of postcards home. Our mother saved most of them, perhaps in anticipation they might someday come in handy. But then, mother saved everything, which is the reason we have a family tree with dozens of names, the oldest dating to the 1770s, unusual for no account Irish. And indeed those postcards come in handy this month. The photos from the cards are featured in the opening spread to our piece.
Of course, we did not plan it that way back in 1957, but the story ties in somewhat with our feature on vacations that will change your life on page 50. Our ’57 trip to California was meant as a vacation, and if it didn’t exactly change our life, it sure changed that summer.
Managing editor Alyssa Morlacci put together the enticing travel section. The destinations, which can only be described as exotic, are usually visited only by high-end travel writers and exceptionally creditworthy people who have time on their hands. Alyssa, however, actually has been to three of these places—Iceland, northern Europe and Cancun. Enjoy her account of enhancing these travels with rare activities.
Much closer to home, Alyssa, and just about everybody else reading this, has never frolicked with the monkeys in Dania. But contributing writer Eric Barton did. And photographer Jason Nuttle on a separate trip, into a section so natural and virtually impassable, that it is hard to believe it is located just off the Intracoastal Waterway.
It is hard to believe today, but not so many years ago much of South Florida was like the swamp he describes in this issue. People who grew up in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood recall a time when mangroves covered broad areas, which are now developed islands, and land crabs were so common that cars got punctured tires from running over them on A1A.
That any of that natural foliage remains is a tribute to a woman whose name is largely forgotten, except for those who visit the Anne Kolb Nature Center, which is part of the sprawling West Lake Park. Anne Kolb was a rarity—a newspaper woman (the old Fort Lauderdale News) who became so intense about the subjects she reported on that she entered politics to advance her causes. She was elected to the Broward County Commission in 1974, and became an effective voice for the environment. She was instrumental in preserving 61,000 acres in Southeast Broward County—the land where the monkeys now reside.
The environment wasn’t her only cause. She was an early advocate for commuter rail. She died too young in 1981 and did not live to see Tri-Rail become a reality eight years later. Her honesty and dedication to the public good were in contrast to so many elected officials whose votes are dominated by special interests.
A little-recalled fact about Anne Kolb is that she contributed columns to this magazine in its early days, always on matters that counted for quality of life. We are a better place for it.