Growing Up on Clearwater Beach in the 1940's
By Carl Wagenfohr
Photo courtesy of Anne Garris Anne Garris (left), her sister Mary (right) and a friend prepare for an outing on a Snipe sailboat. Today the Snipe design is still actively raced, but the background in this photo is very different. Gone are the mangrove islands, and in their place is Island Estates.
CLEARWATER - Having survived the recent city budget cutting exercise, the beach branch of the Clearwater Library celebrated its 46th birthday last Wednesday night.
The highlight that drew more than 50 people to the event wasn't the birthday cake, which was quite good in its own right; it was a ½-hour presentation by long-time beach resident Anne Garris that drew the standing-room-only audience. Garris related with her own personal anecdotes what it was like to grow up on Clearwater Beach as a teenager during the 1940's.
The changes in the beach landscape have been dramatic. Garris spoke of using Dan's Island, now Sand Key, as an undeveloped playground accessible only by boat, and described running aground while sailing in shallow waters that have since been dredged and filled to form Island Estates.
Garris described a different life than we enjoy today, missing many of the comforts that we take for granted, but full of simple pleasures that are today frequently overlooked.
Garris has been active in the community volunteer effort to keep the beach branch library open, and wrote an article for the Gazette last week entitled "Use It or Lose It." A leader by example, her presentation filled the library and served to demonstrate the community involvement that can be generated by good programming.
A recording of Mrs. Garris' presentation has been embedded in this web page. Please turn up the volume of your computer's speakers. We apologize for the low volume during the first minutes.
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