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Reviewing a Lifetime
(A Psychotherapist's Nightmare)
by John D. Sedory

Copyright©2022 by Daniel B. Sedory, Editor. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 32
Life in Florida



    July 23, 1978: It was late afternoon when we reached Bob and Ann's place [the Buer family], and they fed us and insisted we stay for the rest of the day and night. Princess and Peanut were relieved to have the major part of the driving over with and to have real grass to sniff and enjoy.

    Bob and Ann were not pet lovers, at least not to the extent of allowing dogs inside their house, so they slept on the covered back patio/porch. They may have been in the house for a time when we first arrived; I'm not certain. But we really appreciated their hospitality then and in the nearly two years which followed. Bob and Ann had us over for many dinners and other meals in that time.

    July 24th: We found a rental house in Grove City just southwest of Englewood. We really enjoyed our freedom. The dogs had a huge yard area in which to roam, and the place was nicely kept and neat. One problem, however.

    The real estate person who had rented the place to us came by in a couple or few weeks to report they'd heard we had dogs and that when they rented to us they weren't aware the owners didn't want them there. So we had to look for another place. Actually, neighbors must have reported to the owners about our pets and that opened the can of worms.

    August 21st: Our next rental was a larger place less than a half block off Lemon Bay. Tall trees, high weeds, thick brush, all these were in abundance there. We feared for the dogs somewhat because of what we'd heard about alligators (or crocodiles—it's just that one has a longer snoot than the other).

    It was said that alligators (let's just call them that) loved to eat dogs, and they were said to use a ploy to get them. They'd lay on the ground as though they were logs, and as dogs would sniff at them, they would wallop them with their tails and run after them if necessary (after the wallop).

    From a standing start alligators are said to be able to catch a dog within a short distance. Many stories were told of finding dogs' collars only after they'd been caught by one of those beasts, having eaten all except the collar. So, naturally, we feared our dogs would run into the wooded areas and come upon one of those predators.

    All the while we were at the Morrison Street address we were in the process of leaving our home built by that same builder we'd met when we took that trip to Florida earlier in 1978. The home was being built on the lot we'd purchased while in on that trip.

    There wasn't a day which went by where we didn't spend time checking out the progress on the new house. We took pictures as each step of progression took place. And finally the day came when it was finished and ready for our move in.

    October 2nd: I took a job in sales (commission) with Triple-A (Auto Club), working out of the Venice office on Tamiami Trail. The idea was to sell memberships to others, and we used every conceivable method known to sign people into the program. It was also very competitive (you know, "I talked to that couple just last week" sort of thing) and at times frustrating. But it helped a little with income.

    My goal was to get a real estate license in Florida, so I attended a well known school for a few months to study for the license testing. A man who went to the same church we did (the Evangelical Free Church on the north side of town and nearer to Venice) owned South County Realty and invited me to work for him after I got my license. His name was Casey Heemstra.

    November 17th: The new house is now ours and we moved into it. We had our belongings at a storage center, mostly carton upon carton of miscellaneous items. We sold or gave away all our furniture in California, so we had to start all over again in that regard, except for our bedroom set, which we brought along.

    The house was located at 1445 Overbrook Road, Englewood, Florida 33533. It was situated in an area where channels from Lemon Bay were spread about like fingers. Many had the channels right behind their homes so they had easy access for their boats. Our house was in the center of a two block area, so there was a channel a block in either direction and a block or so behind us. The total distance to Lemon Bay was 3/4 of a mile or less, while the Gulf was a mile and a quarter away.

    Many were the evenings we went down to the beach and searched for seashells and sharks' teeth. Eleanor didn't mind going into the water, but I didn't care for the salt water (or water in general, for that matter). As to sharks' teeth and sea shells, we eventually returned to California with buckets of them in 1980.

    Some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world could be viewed from our home, though they were especially breath-taking from the Gulf itself. And we saw our share of them!


    January 5th: I left the American Automobile Club, having finished my course at the real estate school. I was getting ready for testing in Orlando where the State of Florida's real estate testing was done. I even took compacted studies of what to expect on the state test.

    January 8th: South County Realty, Casey Heemstra owner, offered me the chance to sit a new model home on one of General Development's sites southeast of Englewood. The idea was that any sales I might initiate would later be put into my account, as I wasn't able to qualify without the license yet. I sat out there for three months or so and had some experiences there.

    The house I sat was located in a no-man's land practically. Streets had been put in years earlier, but development had been slow in coming. The closest house was probably at least a half mile or so away, and there were few of them to be seen. But weeds, brush and palmetto trees abounded.

    The model home was similar to the one Eleanor and I had built (same builder also), except it didn't have a family room added to it as ours did.


    Every day I was out at the model home there'd be black snakes all over the entry and around the house. It used to give me the creeps, as I am not—nor was I ever—a reptile fan. What really sent chills down my spine was when they'd get into the corner at the entryway and crawl literally straight up the corner. I don't know how they did it.

    They also hissed at me as I tried to chase them away each day, not being the least bit fearful of humans. Those black snakes can get to be pretty large in size, too. The only thing I liked about them was that I'd heard they chased rattle snakes away, sometimes killing them. A guy out there once told me he'd seen black snakes which almost looked like boa constrictors in size.

    In showing the house one day to a pregnant young lady (luckily she was with someone), I drew the drapes back in the kitchen (I think it was that room), and two of those snakes were putting on a display of their climbing prowess by trying to go straight up the sliding door. I was shocked when I saw them, but she almost went into labor! The lady who was with her immediately took her away. I knew that was one "prospect" I'd never see again!

Thunder Storms

    When the lightning and thunder storms came our way, they weren't of the mild Midwest variety. Thunder would sometimes just about lift a person off a chair when it boomed; it was that violent! Sometimes the thunder was accompanied by lightning strikes I'd see hit the ground. I'd seen it strike into a large vacant area of land where trees and tall grass abounded, and smoke and fire would shoot into the sky. It'd smoke for a while until the rain would put it out. There were times I wondered when it'd hit the model home I was in.

    January 27th: Eleanor's Aunt and Uncle Roy and Elsie Edgren visited us (Roy was a brother to Eleanor's father). They lived in the Chicago suburbs for many years and then moved to Pennsylvania.

    March 3rd to 12th: Our son Tim was in a hospital in Orange County near to where he lived in Tustin. He was said to have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Weird, huh? It's merely a malady which affects the spine and joints (inflammation of). As I recall his one knee was tapped while there.

    March 22nd: Uncle Stanley Edgren and Aunt Edith (another brother of Eleanor's father) visited us.

    March 30th: My brother Phil and his wife Charlene visited us and we went out to dinner.

    April 3rd: I finally got my real estate license. It took so long after taking the test in Orlando, that I'd begun to wonder if I had flunked the test. I then became an active sales person at South County Realty, getting my own office along with several others who worked there in Englewood on Mc Call Road (route 775).

    One of my good friends there was Dave Geimann. Dave is the man who sold us our lot when we first visited Florida. He was a retired preacher (a strong Baptist), but he also was a member at the Evangelical Free Church, as was Casey and his family and Eleanor and I.

    April 9th: My cousin Edna Bazik, who spoke at mathematics seminars the country over, was to be at the International Hotel at the Tampa Airport; so we decided to see her there and take her to dinner somewhere.

    We'd heard quite a bit about the Kapok Tree Inn there, so that's where we had dinner. It offered many interesting gardens, fountains, etc., to tour.

    Edna is one of the three first cousins I spoke of early in this book. She had her Ph.D. in math, as did her brother Matthew. Cousin Anna Marie (Matthew and Edna's sister) had her Ph.D. in something I can't put my finger on. I do know that when I enrolled at Harper College in 1968, she enrolled me and was my counselor.

    May 1st: Eleanor's mother vacationed with us, staying until the 17th. She claimed this had been the best vacation she ever had. She may have reached that conclusion because of all the time spent on the beach in the Gulf of Mexico.

    May 29th: My brother Ed visited us and stayed for six days. We spent much time with Ed discussing Scripture and the assurances offered. I believe it was then that he either accepted the Lord or placed his trust more fully in Him.

    July 14th: Our son Jack visited us and his boyhood friend Jim Schuster in Sarasota, staying there a few days. The Schuster's lived across the street from us in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

    End of July: Our son Tim returned to Illinois to visit there, and from Chicago he flew to Florida to visit with us. He was there from approximately the 4th to the 11th. While there, Eleanor, Tim and I took a ride to Sarasota to see the Schuster's.

    August 29th: Our son Daniel visited with us—making it 100% now. He stayed until September 10th. I think all our kids had a good time while with us in Florida, especially going to the beach often.

    September 17th: We are visited by my cousin Evelyn Salat and her husband Joe. Their daughter Sharron and her son also were there. We had an old-fashioned spaghetti dinner and a lot of good conversation.

News about IL Auto Parts Acquaintances

    It was somewhere along this time that my brother Ed had gone to Rex Auto Parts to buy something, and he learned that Al Maggio had passed away. As much as I can remember about Al's age, he was either ten or eleven years older than I, so he had to have been around 68 or 69 at the most. That's not very old! I never learned what had happened to him nor to the business.

    Speaking of Al, Ollie—the parts manager who worked for Al and Hank for so many years and then opened Rex Auto Parts—also died; but I don't know what year it was.

    Ollie had diabetes and often tested his urine with some sort of cloth or paper strip. When it turned certain colors, it indicated the level of sugar he was either overexposed to or the normal level he was supposed to maintain.

    When Ollie got a good reading, he'd head for the diner (restaurant) around the corner from Rex Auto and buy a piece of pie. Of course, he wasn't supposed to have it, but he felt he just had to celebrate. The celebrations soon became habit which no longer depended on the color of the strip, and I'd heard he eventually went the amputation route followed by his death. I'm a pie freak, too, but I know there has to be a control of some kind where one draws a line.

    I shouldn't preach on the subject of controlling food intake, for if I had done this all my life, I wouldn't have had the heart attacks and the surgeries (heart bypasses) which were caused by clogged arteries—and improper dietary care.


Our Vacation in California

    There was a man named Vern Martin (his wife was Ruth) who once in a while preached at our church and who taught Bible study courses, too. I attended one of Vern's classes while I was in the real estate business and formed some good friendships there. Vern was a retired business man from Pennsylvania.

    Vern and Ruth later moved to Tennessee where Vern started mission churches, eventually moving and retiring to Kentucky. Vern took Eleanor and I to the Sarasota Airport when we were headed back to the Los Angeles area to vacation for the Christmas season with our kids. The date Vern took us to Sarasota was December 21, 1979.

    We flew from Sarasota to Tampa where we picked up our flight to Burbank, California, our son Daniel picking us up there. We stayed at a motel in the Valley, but then when speaking to our friends Phil and Freida Beaton, they insisted we stay at their place while they went to Northern California. So that worked out well.

    December 22nd: This was our first meeting of Jack's fiancé (his boss's step-daughter) Terri Rogers.

    December 23rd: We visited with our dear friend Nancy Carlton (she lived in Hoffman Estates in the 60's and we attended the same church there). Nancy moved to Granada Hills with her family in the mid-sixties. We also stopped by our former home on Gaviota Avenue to see what it looked like after 1½ years.

    December 25th: The Beaton's invited our entire family over for a turkey dinner. Such sweet people! And they even allowed us to use their auto when they left for Paradise Pines in Northern California.

    December 29th: We visited Eleanor's second cousin Marvin Kurth and his wife Agnes in Corona. Marvin was Erana's (Eleanor's mother) first cousin.

    Somewhere in here (in time) we were invited to Fred and Shirley Sill's for a dinner, and that was followed by a Christmas party with their choir group from Our Savior's Lutheran Church (the one we attended for several years). We had a great time at the Sill's and at Wynn and Elaine Burkhardt's home.

    On that same date we attended a Christmas party for North American Plastics, where our son Tim worked. The party was held at the Kona Hawaii Restaurant (in Santa Ana) and featured a name Hawaiian singing group. The dinner was quite lavish. (Dec 29th date!)

    December 31st: Keith and Neva Peacock and the Augino's, former church and Bible study friends, go out to eat with us.

    January 5, 1980: The vacation over, we return to Florida, while back in California we decided (Eleanor and I) that we wanted to return to live in California, so we began planning in that direction.


    January 19th: Jack (our youngest son) and Terri Rogers decide to marry, and they do so before a justice of the peace. It wasn't a "shotgun" marriage, but things happened which helped them determine to not wait until we returned to California to be a part of that wedding.

    March 8th: Eleanor's birthday, and we sell our Florida home to church friends who are buying on behalf of their daughter and son-in-law.

    March 15th: A rummage sale helped get rid of a lot of stuff, though much of it was given to a church group for disposal. Some belongings were taken in the car but the bulk was sent via a moving company.


    I knew I'd leave out something kind of interesting which took place while we lived in Florida, and that had to do with our home's surroundings and our dogs.

    One early morning (they lived in the house mostly) Princess was barking to get out and got Peanut stirred up as well. It may have been something like 3:00 a.m. So to preserve peace and to get some sleep, I let them out in the back yard which was all fenced in with cyclone fencing about four feet high.

    I don't recall exactly how I was alerted to trouble brewing outside, it may have been that Princess let out a howl, but I immediately ran out the back door. I saw a skunk leisurely crawling back over the fence on its way out of our yard. And the fragrance "ala skunk" was most noticeable everywhere.

    I noticed Princess was trying to paw at her eyes, and I called her over. As she came near, the scenario which had transpired became real obvious. She'd been "skunked" pure and simple! It was horrible!

    Peanut must not have run after the skunk which had the audacity to invade the dogs' parameters, but Princess surely had. And now the question was raised of what should be done. After all, the home remedies should come to one's thoughts right away when such emergencies occur, right?

    Well, Eleanor, who was quite awakened by now, came up with the idea of applying tomato juice over the victim. She'd heard this was a "sure cure." So all I needed to do was jump into some clothes and run to the all night convenience store and get some. And that I did.

    I came home with ten of the largest cans of tomato juice they had in stock, and we immediately began the cleansing process—let's clarify that, Eleanor began the cleansing process. I could hardly stand to be near that foul odor without throwing up.

    Working for hours by applying, scrubbing, and then rinsing over and over again, it helped a little, but the skunk's stint was still pretty noticeable. So then when morning came (it was garage-time for Princess the rest of that night), Eleanor got on the phone to seek help from the experience of others around town. I don't recall what all the remedies are which were tried, but it seems lemon juice was one of them (among many others).

    In time Princess became almost bearable to have around, that is when she was very dry. But when dampness set in, so did the skunk's deposit! And that went on for what seemed to me like months!

Real Estate in Florida

    The other thing I forgot to include some time back was my dealings with the real estate company I worked for. There were as many companies in the real estate business in Englewood (and surrounding towns, too) as there were places for sale—maybe more. Or at least it seemed that way. So I thought that as long as so many people were there to vie for that aspect of the business, I'd concentrate more on the oodles of vacant lots which were for sale by owners (mostly), those which were initially developed by General Development many years earlier.

    I began researching the tax books for names and addresses of lot owners who didn't have theirs for sale, and I sent out many letters to these people to try getting their lots under an exclusive contract. I listed selling prices of lots in general, and I suggested that if they'd consider financing the sale of the lots themselves with smaller down payments followed by monthly payments, they'd have a better chance of selling.

    Then I plotted out all the lots on paper, listing asking prices, terms, etc. So if anyone came to me looking for lots, I could review quickly the data I'd gathered and take them directly to a particular type lot they were interested in. It worked pretty well; so well, in fact, that I had other office sales people coming to me for a look at my charts.

    One fellow who was a retired professor, and who continually wrote books on accounting, came to me with the idea he wanted to invest in some lots. I think that before I left Florida I'd sold him something like seventeen of them. This guy was no dummy, for his name was listed in "Who's Who in America?" and in the same version of an international listing. His accounting books were many in number, some of which he co-authored. Trouble is I can't locate his name nor the university at which he was a professor (there were two). But I did learn after we returned to California that he had passed away. He was quite a bit older than his wife, as he was in his early seventies and she was in her late forties at the time. Eleanor and I took them to a fancy restaurant once, and I had lunch with him a few times.

Scared Stiff of Snakes

    You know how I've told stories about the black snakes, but I didn't mention that rattlers and coral snakes, among others, were also plentiful in Florida. And coral snakes weren't even on my "list" until one day I accidentally learned of them. I was out with a potential lot buyer and riding through the maze of lots in GD's developments one day, and my passenger said, "Do you see that colorful little snake zigzagging its way across the road." I said I had. He then said, "That is a coral snake which has the most deadly venom of all snakes in Florida!" Here I didn't even give those snakes a second thought while romping through the weeded lots and overgrown streets (the weeds grew up through cracks in the roads just about everywhere, too).

    As to rattlers, one day the local newspaper pictured two men holding a rattle snake they'd run over just southeast of Englewood. I guess you could say they "bumped into it" rather than ran over it, because it was so large. They had it draped over their arms, and it sure looked like a python to me!

    Then there's the times I'd have to go up on lots to post my "for sale" signs. I'd hear noises up in there, and goose bumps would pop up all over my body. I'd bang on the ground with shovel and sledge hammer (I used that to pound my signs into the ground) to chase or scare them off—whatever it was that made the sound.

    One time, and this is one time I'll never forget, I parked my car and opened the trunk to get my sign, the shovel and the sledge hammer out. As I began leaning over to pick those items out of the trunk, I suddenly felt a creepy feeling up one of my pant legs. I was sure it would turn out to be a snake, "and who knows what kind?"

    The goose bumps got about as large as I have ever seen or felt! As I dropped everything into the trunk, I pulled back to kill the lousy reptile before it bit me and inserted his deadly venom into my leg. Here's what I found!

    I hadn't locked the emergency brake when I parked, and the car began moving forward as I leaned on the trunk and bumper. Some of the weeds which grew out of the cracks in the road were released as the car moved forward, and they began crawling up my pant leg. That was my "snake" which nearly gave me a heart attack.

Preparing to Leave Florida

    Just before we left Florida to return to California, the neighbors next door arranged a farewell party with our friends in the block. The neighbors were Katie and Norbert Gerdemann, a wonderful couple who had retired from their egg farm in Ohio, though they still owned it and had their kids running it.

    Others who were present at the party were: Augie and Mary Jane Longo, Spike and Lois Clemens, Benny and Jenny Benedict, Julia Beam, Bertie Burgess, Ed & Jane Volaska and Sophie (no last name). Quite a nice turnout! That had to be because Eleanor was (and is) a mixer among people, not because of anything I did. They gave us a nice travel bag to boot as a gift! What wonderful friends!

Memories of Florida Itself: Some Good, More Bad

    We'd been there for 20 months. We'd seen beautiful weather the first winter, but the second was damp and cold and less than desirable. As a matter of fact, that last summer was so humid, all my tools in the garage rusted, our shoes in closets got mold in and on them, and the sidewalk in front of the house turned green with mildew. When taking a shower that summer, I'd have the air conditioner on full blast; but when stepping out of the shower, I'd have to direct a large, blowing fan right on me to keep from having the perspiration gaining over the drying process. It was really humid that summer and cold and damp that winter.

    And that doesn't even touch on the hurricane warnings that last fall of 1979 when we had to plot the storms in the Gulf to see when and if we were going to have to evacuate our home. The law was supposed to be such that residents could not take their pets with them when evacuating the area. We just couldn't imagine leaving them behind.

    But as it turned out, all the hurricanes bypassed our town and the surrounding area, though I think it touched upon Venice and Sarasota a bit that year (and in recent years as well).

    Then there were the "Red Tides" in which the stench from the waters kept almost everyone away from the beaches. And the bugs at the time of Creation must have zeroed in on Florida, for every imaginable kind lived there. We had "no-seeum" bugs, love bugs, fiery red ants which could cause swelling to the bitten area of the skin, palmetto bugs—those long, black, ugly things which looked like huge roaches, and they crawled and flew—spiders of dimensions you wouldn't believe, etc.

    Though ours was a new house, one day while sitting in the living room with our feet under the coffee table, a huge spider fell out of the vent above onto the coffee table right in front of us. It was maybe four inches or so across, and it had fuzzy, long legs. It was multi-colored as well. This could have been a good way to bring on a sudden heart attack if one was so inclined. Later I learned by describing the spider to someone that it was a harmless variety. You could have fooled us at the time!

    Remember the thunder storms I spoke of in the area where I sat a model home? Well, when they hit around our house, we had immediate pets. The dogs wouldn't go five feet away from us at those times. One time while Eleanor and I were in the living room, one of those "boomers" let go, and it nearly took our house off its foundation. Princess was a medium to large size dog. She was real friendly, but she didn't like to be held or petted too much. On that occasion she took one long jump right into Eleanor's lap! And Peanut was shaking like a leaf in a strong wind.

    I'd bought a television set from Geddes and Betty Kujanek, people who attended our church and who owned a television sales and repair shop in Englewood. It was a portable, maybe a 13 inch or so (maybe larger). I didn't know about pulling electrical plugs when not using appliances there in Florida, but I soon learned.

    Because of the ferocity of thunder and lightning storms there, everyone commonly pulled all plugs out of electrical sockets. As that one storm was taking place, there was the usual explosive sound of the thunder, followed by bolts of lightning. Our television set flashed for a moment, and it blew the circuitry out completely.

    When I took the set back to Geddes and Betty, they said they'd replace it because of my ignorance, but the company usually wouldn't take back sets which had been plugged in when not in use and which blew up as a result of such a storm.

Our Trip Back to California

    March 26, 1980: This was our day of departure from Florida. We stopped a couple or few times on our way back from Florida, one place I recall was in New Mexico, and one was in San Antonio, Texas. There had to another in there someplace, but I don't recall where it was.

    March 29th: It's my birthday [57 years old], and we arrived at my sister Marie and brother in-law John's place in Glendale, Arizona. We celebrated my birthday and had a good time visiting for a couple days, leaving there on the 31st for California.

    On that same date we arrived at our friends, the Beatons, in Studio City right alongside the 134 freeway which turns into the 101 there some place. They put us up for another few days until we could find a place to rent.

    We were there until April 4th, having found a nice place in West Sepulveda at 9350 Odessa Avenue. It was a large house with three bedrooms, a nice back yard with trees and flowers; beautiful landscaping. The owners had contracted to have the landscaping taken care of by the week as I recall.


Chapter 31


Chapter 33