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Facebook Page Walks Miami Natives Down Memory Lane

August 04, 2011 By Carlos Miller in Miami: Local News  | 14 Comments

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Above: The Good Year Blimp was based on Watson Island for five decades

The longer I live in Miami, the more I realize there aren’t many born-and-raised natives around anymore.

But that was before I came across a Facebook page called I Grew Up in South Florida in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s, which proves there are still quite a number of us old-schoolers around.

Many going back further than me (And I go back decades).

The site was launched in April by Matthew Leibowitz and has amassed 4,620 followers, growing at a rate of 600 new followers a week.

It is constant stream of old pictures, memorabilia and news clips from South Florida that will stir your memory if you grew up down here during those years.

More than 2,500 pictures

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Above: A Miami police officer stands guard during the 1980 Liberty City riot

Old pictures of the 1980 Liberty City riot. Bumper stickers from long deceased radio stations. Even a recipe for the famous beer-steamed hot dogs from Lum’s, which were everywhere during the 1970s.

Currently, ten administrators run the page, but it’s mostly Leibowitz and Clyde Jewett doing the posting.

Leibowitz, 43, grew up between North Miami Beach and Miramar, is a relative newcomer to South Florida compared to the other administrators. He arrived from New York in 1978.

About three years ago, he launched a Facebook dedicated to gathering Miramar memorabilia, reaching 1,700 followers during that time.

But as he kept gathering memorabilia, he had enough material to encompass all of South Florida.

Today, the South Florida page has amassed more than 2,500 pictures.

The Seasonal Side of Miami

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Above: The Bon-Aire Motel on Miami Beach in 1957

Alvin Lederer, who has been collecting South Florida memorabilia for 18 years, became an administrator a few months ago.

He graduated from North Miami High in 1976 and remembers a very seasonal Miami.

“I remember when nobody worked a whole year in Miami,” he said from his current home in Leesburg, Florida.

“In Miami, you only worked six months a year and made enough money from the tourists to last throughout the year.”

The Cuban side of Miami

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Above: Little Havana during the 1970s

Jewett, who was born in Miami to a Cuban father and a Miami-born mother, remembers the Cuban side of Miami, going out with his family to Versailles, Miami’s most famous Cuban restaurant.

This is how he described it in a Facebook message.

“(I remember) going to Versailles Restaurant in second grade and ordering a cheeseburger. Drove my parents crazy. I refused to eat Cuban food outside the house because that is all my aubela cooked.

I had ropa veijo and potaje coming out of my ears. I also remember my father’s family talking about Cuba and the land and money they lost.

My uncle Robert Fuller was a big topic of conversation as he was executed in Cuba on October 13, 1960. He had assembled a team and tried to take back American-owned property in Cuba. They failed. Many a drink
and toast were done in his honor during family gatherings.”

The Jewish side of Miami

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Above: Pumpernick’s was a popular Jewish deli

And administrator Jeffrey Alman, who grew up in what is now Pinecrest, remembers the Jewish side of Miami.

By the time we got here (late 50s) Miami and Miami Beach were all about the Jews - and the Jews were all about the food. Gone were the days of restriction and exclusivity (for the most part) We used to laugh at Jackie Mason’s joke that Jews are the only people that will sit at lunch and discuss what’s for dinner. Wolfies (several locations), Rascal House (Sunny Isles aka Motel Row), Pumpernicks (several locations), Corkys (NMB), Juniors (several locations). From South Beach to Miracle Mile (Chippys) to South Miami (Sam and Carl’s, Marshall Major’s) to North Miami Beach if you were Jewish in Miami in the 60s the food was awesome.

Baskets of the most beautiful rolls came to the table - onion pockets, pumpernickle onion pockets, salt sticks, mini onion rye - (at breakfast add danish (prune and cheese) cakes) accompanied by bowls of cole slaw, pickles, green tomatoes, cucumber salad - all before the order was even placed! In those days, there was so much food that you were literally full before your meal came! I fondly remember doggie bags of rolls, left over untouched corned beef sandwiches on rye with mustard only, 100s of roasted chickens - there were always great leftovers in the fridge back then. That’s what I remember the most - the abundance of fabulous Jewish-style food!

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Above: The National Guard were also called in during the 1980 Liberty City riot

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Above: The best donuts in Miami

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Above: Miami quarterback Bob Griese, Don Shula and back-up quarterback George Mira in the early 1970s

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Above: Miami-Dade Junior College, which is now Miami-Dade College, in downtown Miami in 1963

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Above: WSHE, “She’s Only Rock N Roll”

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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14 Comments on

"Facebook Page Walks Miami Natives Down Memory Lane"

jeffreyalman says:

great article!

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 5:18 AM

Chris says:

I love the Facebook page.  Since I “liked” it, I’ve gone back to it almost daily to see what they can dig up!  I hope it turns into a coffee table book of some sorts.  I have a few books about Miami (MiMo, Miami River, etc..)  that I have picked up over the years but none cover the Miami during the years that I care about.  The ones I lived in!

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 7:38 AM

jess says:

Love the photos!

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 8:42 AM

Cyndi J says:

This is incredible…I love this…being able to step back in time when you read the stories and see the photos…and just look at you Matt L…..becomin’ a rock star!!!  lol : )

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 9:37 AM

Clyde Jewett says:

Great write up Carlos, thanks so much. Funny if this was a newspaper in the 80’s I wiould have bought about 30 of them from those news paper machines. Knowig how devious I am I would have paid for one and taken the rest. I ain’t gonna lie. wink

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 5:07 PM

Christy says:

Very cool article Carlos! Everyone has such cool stories.

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 6:42 PM

GandJ says:

Though I didn’t grow up in the Miami area, I spent some time there as a kid.  So, I clicked on the “Like” button for the page to receive the updates and info.  Very cool stuff. 

Thanks.

Glenn

Posted on 08/04/2011 at 6:42 PM

Mike LaMonica says:

I love this and I liked the page. It was real active with posts and comments within the hour. While I didn’t grow up here in the 80’s, I feel a certain entitlement that I kind of grew up here.

I moved to Miami 2 months before Andrew. In a way, that grandfathers me in. Thanks again Carlos. Mike

Posted on 08/05/2011 at 6:48 AM

Stephen Steinbrecher says:

I’ve lived my entire life here in So. Fl. First on Miami Beach and then we moved to the frontier of North Dade. Think Norland-Carol City. I have so many memories and I’m glad that there are other old timers with similar memories.

Posted on 08/06/2011 at 12:08 PM

mark schulman says:

great site

Posted on 08/07/2011 at 1:00 PM

Patricia LeFiles says:

About 5 yrs ago I purchased a small book titled,“My Daddy Made the Sidewalks"by
J.B Hourihan. Brought back memories of Miami from the days of my childhood. I was born in Miami in Victoria Hospital,attended school, married at St. Theresa’s in the Gables, raised my family and then moved to the center of the state. Many wonderful memories of my home.

Posted on 08/09/2011 at 7:41 PM

Seth H. Bramson says:

Friends:  You might enjoy taking a look at our numerous books on South Florida history by going either to http://www.sethbramsonbooks.com or to amazon.com and putting my name—Seth Bramson—on the search line.  I am now working on the Burdine’s history and if any of you have anything, PLEASE let me know at mrfec at yahoo dot com.  Don Boyd provided several wonderful photos for the book!  All the best.  Seth.

Posted on 08/09/2011 at 7:54 PM

Jo-Ann says:

I just found two ashtrays from Pumpernicks that say “Nicked from Pumpernicks”!  We used to go there every time we went to visit my aunt in Miami - the food was out of this world.  The waitresses always gave us a hard time because my mother insisted on constantly changing seats smile  After our two-week visit, we would bring several of the danish home on the plane for my Dad.  I’m from Toronto,Canada, and have to go to Montreal to get really good deli food.  Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Posted on 07/13/2012 at 1:12 PM

Jerry Stienhattchee says:

That “Miami police officer” , with the face shield, flak jacket and M-16 rifle , is Master Seargent Tom Jackson, of Co A. 3rd Battalion 20 the Special Forces Group of the Florida National Guard. He is not apolive officer. We spent 10 days in Liberty City, the shit stopped when we arrived with orders to shoot to kill to protect life and property.

Posted on 09/15/2014 at 6:27 PM

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