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September, 1999

Valerie and Vicky, in Illinois, 1964. This photo was used by an artist that worked with John (their father) to create a large pastel portrait.


Originally from Moments by Valerie, a collection of memories (1961-1983), written in 1986 and presented to Larry on their first anniversary.

While camped in the Florida Keys, we did a great deal of kayaking around the islands, exploring beaches, mangroves, and tidal canals. We chased sharks in the shallows and once got caught on a large mud flat as the tide quickly receded. (We poled ourselves into deeper water.) The water was so clear we could easily see the bottom in the shallows and were enjoying the sponges, corals, and algae of an area about three to four feet deep. We then saw the lobsters. Their long antennae were protruding from under big vase-like sponges and that was all we could see of them. They were Florida spiny lobsters and so had no claws. Using our hands and a dip-net, we spent a couple of hours chasing them around in the waist-deep water. We put them in our kayaks on the rare occasion we caught one. They were covered with sharp points on their brightly colored shells and were powerful swimmers. We ended up catching only three or four but had a great time playing in the water on that bright day.