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Key West, Florida True Tales from 1979

Posted on April 14 2020

Key West, Florida True Tales from 1979 - Long Lost Tees

The Long Lost Crew is happy to announce our first fan winner for our blog contest. Mike S. sent in a beauty of a story about some wild days in Key West, Florida. Make sure you send your stories into our blog Remember That Place. You could win free gear, too! And now, let the stories begin!

Back in '79 I decided to take some time off college to "find myself" and as luck would have it I found myself in Key West and almost immediately ran out of money.  I had construction experience and was able to secure a job on the Shark Channel bridge as the new bridges were being built at the time.  I was living in the back of a '63 Chevy pickup truck at Boyds Campground on Stock Island. Several of your tee shirts bring back memories, some good and some a bit lurid. The Boca Chica Lounge was on Stock Island and it's reputation was so bad I never set foot inside the place (it was well known as a "gun and knife" club and strangers were looked down upon. One night we were in town and heard music inside the Monster and decided to check it out.  The bouncer told us that we didn't want to go inside, which even piqued our curiosity all the more.  He said "I'll let you take a look inside and then you can decide if you want to stay"  I walked in and my midwestern eyes were quite shocked to see drag queens, guys dancing together and pretty much an everything goes atmosphere.  I walked out and told the bouncer that he was right and we headed down and wound up at Captain Tony's which became a regular watering hole.  I spent several nights sitting at the end of the bar and talking to Captain Tony, he'll always hold fond memories in my mind.  I left the Keys in May of '79, came home, finished college and headed straight back to Key West as it had grown on me.  I had brought my tools with me and was able to secure a job as a carpenter on the Boca Chica bridge project and was making quite good money for the times.  

A close friend of mine, a Canadien named Colin, was working at the West Key Bar under an assumed name and getting paid primarily in cash.  In '81 the West Key was a strip club, bar, and had a package liquor store attached where my buddy worked.  He often traded food stamps for liquor (50 cents on the dollar) so he was always well fortified with groceries.  Being that the West Key was such an "interesting" place it was frequented by shrimpers, construction workers, drug dealers and the various other characters that made Key West what it was.  Many a night we'd go have drinks and check out the talent at the West Key.  The last night I was in the West Key I saw a biker with his girlfriend bent over a table in the corner with his pants to his knees and her skirt around her waist.  Just another crazy night in Key West.
Your Save The Bales tee shirt reminded me of a couple of guys that had driven down in a beater car from New York and were living at Boyds when I was there.  The disappeared from the campground and a couple of weeks they came through driving a late model Cadillac.  Turns out they had found a bale and at the time a "square grouper" was worth $12,000 cash.  They had rented the Caddy, an apartment on the Island and were partying like rock stars until the money ran out.  Once the money was gone, they got in their beater and headed back to New York with some great stories to share.
I recently took my wife of 30 years to Key West to celebrate my 60th birthday and shared these memories with her.  Key West was and will remain a big part of who I am today.
Mike S., 
Great stuff Mike! We hope you like your free gear! 
LLT Team

1 comment

  • Gary: April 21, 2020

    Anyone else notice the guy flash’n a nut?

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