You Could Cross the River Walking on Their Backs, and Not Get Your Feet Wet!

Part 14 of the Judy Tomaini Rock Series


The days were full of joy, for Jeanie and Al. They had everything they had set out to get. Their property, which was a showplace, and the first in on the right, as soon as you crossed over the big bridge. They had a prosperous Marina, and 30 rental boats.  Even a liars bench, for the fish stories. But, back then they didn't have to lie, the fish were huge, and so thick, the old timers said, you could cross the river walking on their backs, and not get your feet wet. The rental boats, were something new in Gibsonton. And the people would flock to rent them. Some weekends, they would all be rented two or three times in a day. They rented for $1.00 a day. They would go out, starting at 6am and the bait shop was usually still open at 9pm. It was the hang out place for the fishermen.

The cottages grew from five, to twenty five. The first five, were taken every winter, by the same people. There were 2 brothers, their wives and a close friend the brought with them one year from New York. And they also would stay till they died. The cousin eventually did die at 78, in cottage #3. The trailer park was always full. The only way a space ever came open, was when the renter died. It was more work for Jeanie, now that the new baby was there. But she didn't care, she loved every minute of it. They did hire a couple. He would mow grass, and do repairs, she to do the cleaning in the cottages, which at the time, could be rented by the night. It was hard enough for Jeanie to do the laundry, she could never have time to think, if she had to clean them too. Al checked around and found a dry cleaners in Tampa that would pick up the dirty linens, and deliver the clean, ironed, folded ones. When they added up time spent, and the electric to dry and iron them, they would come out way ahead to just have it done, and there would always be enough on the shelves, so they wouldn't run out.

The more business meant more help, but the place was paying off, so they could afford to keep the summer help on, year round. The place looked like a set up carnival, and circus. All the work on the joints, would be done on the South acre. Which gave them room to spread out, and paint, build, and repair their meal ticket, before the next season started. The circus families set up their rigging on the point, by the marina, and as they practiced, they would be putting on a free show for those driving by. The tent wasn't put up, just the rigging, so it was an open air show.

Al was involved in many things, and as Jeanie has said, a real social butterfly. She was the stay at home Mom. That is what God put her on earth for. She loved children. It didn't matter to her if she gave birth to them, or just took in strays. Al was the same way. He was so proud of his baby girl. And though she was loved, more than a baby had ever been, he was very careful to not let her think, that money grew on trees. There were toys and dolls, but never to excess. And there were things, she never had, even when she was older. She was well fed, and cared for. Jeanie was a text book Mother. So much so, she never discussed business in front of her daughter, and Jeanie and Al, never had an argument in front of anyone. Jeanie had a way of being the boss in the family, and Al stepped aside and did what she wanted. They had a partnership that really worked good for them. She believed, children should be allowed to be children. Not slaves like kids tend to be, in single parent homes. The Dad went out to work every morning, and the Mother has the job of raising her family, in a good environment. She prayed a lot, for the strength to continue learning, and be a excellent Mother. She would sit up all night if the baby was sick, which she was a lot, in her younger years. But you never heard complaints from Jeanie or Al. They just fell into the step, of being parents.

If on occasion they would go out, it was to the drive-in theater, so they could take the baby with them. On Sunday, they would go for long rides in the country, like when they were on the road, and making a jump, from one town to another.

Judy grew into a well behaved little girl. She was walking, talking and house broke, by the time she was 11 months, and not much time after that, she was learning to count, and identify coins, by helping to sort them. In the late 40's much of what came in were coins. So what better way to teach a child to count???

Jeanie's house was a revolving door to company. There was always someone their visiting. The kitchen table was well used, and while visiting with her friends, Jeanie would also be baking fresh bread or pies, which Al loved. They were such good happy parents, and had decided, that someday they would like to adopt more kids. But for now, they were content, to just dote on little Judy.

The little Boston Terrier Bootsie, didn't know what to think of this little person. She never attempted to bite her, or be aggressive in any way. And grew to be very protective of Judy. When she was out playing, the dog was there too. They were like best friends. She even slept under the crib, protecting the little girl, from imagined bears under the bed. The dog would even submit, to being dressed in doll clothes. She hated it, and scrunched her face up, when she knew what was about to happen. They even had imaginary tea parties, at Judy's little table and chairs. It was around the same time, that a little boy came on the scene. He was Al's sisters little boy, Michael. It grew to be a major drama, before his visit of three years was over. And leaving many trampled hearts behind.


2004 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

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