Looks Can Be Deceiving
It was June 1983. Melbourne Beach, Florida was celebrating their Founder’s Day - 100 year anniversary. There used to be a brown wooden sign when entering the town from the north that said, “The oldest town in Florida – 1883”. The sign is no longer there. I don’t know why they took it down. I think it took away the ambiance of the town.
There were going to be multiple celebrations along Ocean Avenue. This was the main east-west road in the town. There were only two ways from the north to get to the town. You either came down Riverside Drive from Indialantic or you came down Oak Street from the same city.
Ocean Avenue was closed from Riverside Drive to A1A. Later they would leave it closed from Riverside Drive to Oak Street for the afternoon festivities.
Ocean Avenue housed most of the businesses that make up the town: town hall, fire department, police department, post office, grocery store, surf shop, convenience store, bank, and a drug store. There were a few other businesses too.
They had tents set up along the road with various things like a DJ playing music, food, and merchandise.
It had been one year since I moved to Florida. I was 11 years old. My birthday was coming up the next month.
I remember it being sunny that day.
The whole family would be watching the parade from the side of the road. Families of all sizes lined the roadway on each side of the road. It was packed. People on the floats threw candy toward the kids.
Before the parade, my cousin D and I were near the town hall and park.
You can see a photo of the park above. It doesn’t look anything like what is was back then. For many years, I called the park the wrong pronunciation. It is called Ryckman Park. I thought the first four letters were pronounced “Rick” but I found out later, it rhymes with “Bike”.
There was a basketball court that I frequented. Recently, I was reviewing the area on Google Maps and noticed that the court has now been moved and now runs north to south. It was going east to west when I used to play on it. I was always great at shooting 3 point shots. I was good at other shots too but I was always shooting 3s. As we always used to say, “Nothing but net. Swish”.
My cousin D and I saw two girls from our school that we knew. I can only remember one of the girls names. I’ll call her S. They were sitting on a green bench. When I looked at the bench, it looked distressed. You could see where the paint had been scraped off in various locations.
I also saw what I thought was yellow paint.
D told me to sit down next to S. So I did.
Then she says this:
D: “Matt, why did you do that?”
Me: “You told me to.”
It turns out the yellow was mustard. Fresh mustard.
She said something like didn’t you see the mustard and I told her I thought it was something else and dried on.
Now I had mustard all over my new Centennial white shirt with green screen print. She worked with a napkin or something to try to get the mustard out. I think she got most of it out.
Don’t do everything someone tells you to do. It might get you in trouble.
They shouldn’t have tricked me. I don’t understand how my cousin could have done this to me. Why didn’t the other girls tell me not to sit down? I remember them smiling but how could I have known?
This is not the first time something strange happened with my cousin’s family. Stay tuned as I will be discussing other things at a later date. I’ve got 7 stories to share.
Until next time, happy reading.
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