Totally in Love, and Their Love Would Last for Eternity

Part 9 of the Judy Tomaini Rock Series

 

Now, Al was on Jeanie's turf. She had four more brothers and one sister. After meeting one the way he did, Al wasn't sure what to expect from the others. They were headed for Don's house, and the rest of the family had a picnic planned for the weekend when they could all be there. Just like Long Branch, kinda, sorta. But everyone spoke English. Kids were everywhere but it was like going home for Al. He loved them all. Jeanie's family accepted him with open arms. And Al loved Jeanie even more. After a great welcome in Fort Wayne, they had to head back to Long Branch. The winter was turning into spring and the Carnival season was near. They spent that year on Ringling and played Madison Square Garden. Since Long Branch wasn't that far from the city, they started the season in a hotel and would pick up the trailer for the jump to the next town. The hotel was a few blocks away and Jeanie had no trouble making it there on her own. But after 18 - 22 shows a day, she was exhausted, so Al would carry her to the hotel and up several floors. It was hard on Al, as he had bad feet and a trick knee from falling on the ice years before. They were totally in love, and that love would last for eternity.

Jeanie, who was used to having just a few possessions and traveling on the road, there was really nothing much that she wanted. They were still living very frugal and saved every dime they could. They did without a lot of things just so they could satisfy their dream of retiring to Florida and raising a family.

That year they had told their friends what an ideal place they had found in Florida, and were headed back there, at the end of the season. When it came time to leave, several of the friends followed them in a caravan to this new adventure down South. They arrived at the little trailer park, on the Alafia river. And Al went in search of a little boat with a motor. He would find one that was perfect and had a 3/4 hp motor with it. An Alto Pal, as Jeanie would always remember. She would sit in the front of the boat and Al in the back, running the motor. It would take all day to go up river and back. But they had all the time in the world, no shows waiting to open, and no cold weather.

 

Al had come home one day, and had his hand in his jacket pocket. He had been in Tampa getting supplies. And Jeanie had stayed behind to do some baking. Al asked her if she had room in the trailer for a little something he thought she would like. Her thinking he had brought her a little horse statue, like she had collected. He leaned in the door and had something in his huge hand. When he opened his hand, there was a tiny black and white puppy, a Boston Terrier, that she named Lucky. She was so happy she cried. When she was real young, she had a little rat terrier that loved her so much, it would curl up on the foot of her bed and sleep with her at night. She had not had another dog from the time her Mother died, till now. The main reason he got it was she that had wanted a baby so bad, and after a few years and still nothing, she had just about given up hope of ever being a mother. When she was alone, she would cry over it, but never around Al, as she never wanted him to feel it was his fault. It is quite rare for Giants to produce children, but they still felt they could have one eventually.

During that winter, they had decided this was the place for them. Al started looking around for a place they could call home. Jeanie would be happy anywhere, as long as it was with Al. He searched around the waterfront and found out that the property on the south side of the river was available. There was three and a half acres, which would be big enough for their friends to stay with them. On the south end of the property was an old wood frame house with a huge open tank to catch rainwater. And on the north end was a little "Beer Joint" tavern. It could be turned into a restaurant and bar. He went back to the park and then took Jeanie to see the property. He would never make a decision on his own, especially this one. This would be their place, to live out their lives.  They would be surrounded by their close friends who loved it as much as the Tomainis.

 

There it was, a rundown old house and three and a half acres of swampland. A little path in the back of the house went to a clothesline. There was a well with a hand pump right outside the back door. There was plumbing in the house, but just the bare necessities. It was sure a lot bigger than the cross-eyed trailer. And it would take a little fixing up, no, how about a lot of fixing up. The kitchen was a big eat-in kitchen. And there were two bedrooms, a big front porch and a room size back porch that was closed in just off the kitchen. This would be a great place, to raise a family. But what about the snakes, and what ever else, was out in the swamp, sorry, the back yard.

 

Al had an eye on the waterfront, but found out the phosphate company on the north side of the river, had control of the water rights. After a visit to the plant, with a dream in hand, Al was given the life time lease of the waterfront and could start construction of a bait shop and boat dock. But first, they had to buy the property. This is what they worked so hard for. The meeting with the property owner was very productive. He would sell the whole three and a half acres, along with the house and tavern, for $5,500. The paperwork was done, and the money paid to him in cash. They were now property owners. And had their first and only home....

 

2004 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

Published with the permission of Judy Tomaini Rock

 

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