Our mother and father fell in love with Miami while on their honeymoon on September 13th, 1948. Their first night at the Ritz Plaza Hotel was spent in the lobby due to a hurricane coming on shore that night. Hurricanes were not named back then. Despite this “stormy start,” they moved from Brooklyn, New York, in 1949. They rode on the Florida East Coast Railway and arrived at the railway station near the Miami-Dade County Courthouse.
Our mother, Anna Agnello Perini, was a registered nurse and graduated from the Cadet Nurse Corps. She attended Long Island School of Nursing and graduated just as World War II ended. When Mom and Dad moved to Miami, Mom began working at Victoria Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Baptist Hospital until she took 10 years off to be a full-time mom. When she returned to nursing 10 years later she found her passion for pediatric nursing at Variety Children’s Hospital where she worked until her retirement. Mom loved pediatric nursing and it showed, so much so that both her daughters and two granddaughters became pediatric nurses and still carry on her legacy at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly Variety Children’s Hospital).
Our father, Anthony Perini, a World War II Navy veteran, worked at the Miami International Airport maintenance facility with National Airlines while he studied mechanical engineering. He then worked at Anchor Boat Supply near the Miami River. My parents were indeed part of the Greatest Generation.
In 1953, Rosanne was born at Mercy Hospital, followed by Roy in 1955 and Regina in 1957. We grew up appreciating the simple things in life. We have fond memories of going to Royal Castle for birch beer, Breeding’s for milkshakes, Burdines to see Santa Claus, Crandon Park for the zoo and train rides, and weekend picnics at Haulover Beach. We’ll never forget swimming lessons at Venetian Pool in ice-cold water!
In 1964 our parents put a $50 down payment on a new house in a brand new community called Westchester. We were one of the first houses on the block. The kitchen was state of the art for the time. We had a GE electric stove that was featured in the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Summers were great and always filled with something to do outdoors. Central air conditioning had not become a household staple yet, so outdoors was the best! We took summer school just for the fun of it. Often we would walk to Bird Bowl or the skating rink next door. Working up an appetite, we then walked across the street to Frankie’s Pizza. On special weekend nights we piled into our station wagon wearing our pajamas and Mom and Dad would take us to the Tropicaire Drive-in Theatre on Bird Road. It was a great way to see “The Music Man” and “Mary Poppins.” In the daytime on weekends, the Tropicaire Drive-in became the Tropicaire Flea Market where you could always find great deals!
We were always excited when our cousins and family from New York would visit. We would spend weekends at the Castaways on Miami Beach, go to Wolfie’s for dessert or just walk down Lincoln Road.
Now, four generations later, we have truly settled in Miami. While we continue to carry on traditions from when our parents first moved down, new traditions have been established as well. We celebrated Dad’s 96th birthday at home with a family reunion of cousins coming in from coast to coast. Dad continues to be the patriarch of the family and enjoys our reminiscing and traditions. Though our hometown of Miami seems unrecognizable at times, the memories remain crystal clear. We are thankful and grateful for each and every one. We have truly been blessed.