A local Miami radio station, 560 WQAM, and its announcer, Rick Shaw, heavily promoted the Beatles’ arrival. I purchased a promotional pamphlet of The Beatles from WQAM for one dollar. Many students did not attend school on that day, hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
I fondly remember twisting with other teenagers to the sounds of Chubby Checker, The Beach Boys and The Beatles at the Miami Beach Recreational Center on Tuesday nights. Everyone wore patent-leather boots and miniskirts.
The Miami Beach High School Ensemble and the Acapella Choir fulfilled my interest in music. Rehearsing for school performances and singing at the Fontainebleau Hotel were standard practice for all chorus members. My overnight stays at the San Souci Hotel — to prepare for district music competitions — were exhilarating.
In June 1969, the Jackie Gleason Theater was the host of my graduation ceremony. Throughout my teens, I had visited the theater, attending rock music concerts by Three Dog Night, The Who, Chicago and Rare Earth.
I used to ride a tram from Alton Road to Washington Avenue, through the Lincoln Road Mall. As we traveled aboard the tram, we eyed the variety of luxury stores such as Lillie Rubin, where TV personalities purchased exclusive evening wear.
Finally, my recollection of the Miami Beach Lions Club is of utmost importance. The Lions Club funded a college tuition grant that enabled me to further my education at Miami Dade Community College and Florida Atlantic University. I majored in Education, began as a teacher, and now serve as a director for the public schools. I will always appreciate how the Miami Beach Lions Club helped shape my future.
The city of Miami has been my home for the past 36 years. I still hold a deep affection, however, for the Beach. I now work in downtown Miami and own a condominium in South Beach. I cherish my precious preteen and teenage years’ memories of South Beach during the groovy and colorful ‘60s.
My father, Osvaldo, passed away in 2005 at 84. He last lived on Meridian Avenue. He truly loved the Beach as much as I did.