Coral Gables' wonder woman Pat Clarke shares her memories of taking to the Dance floor.
"Jay and I are saddened for the whole Dance family, kids and grandkids to lose their Mama and Grandma. We had so many fun times together," is her start-off. "I was a young high school kid in Lakeland when you were born, Jan. I did your hair and your mom and dad had a fit.
We lived on/near Lake Bonnie. My dad was the manager of the Lakeland Pilots Baseball team. Cuba was in the league back then, known as the Florida International League (FIL).
Our families bonded and your mom and dad helped me and my sister because of a situation with our stepmother, Jessie. Anyway, your mom was a witness in my dad's divorce from Jessie.
From about 1951, fast forward to about 1954 or '55 when I came to Miami and saw your dad's byline in the Miami Herald. The Herald was in the old building on S. Miami Avenue and I dressed in my best hat and prettiest dress and marched up to your dad's desk and said, "Well, guess who I am!"
In those days, everything happened at the Dallas Park Hotel Bar and we met at the bar and your dad introduced me to a ton of people with the Herald. I went home to your house for dinner and Harpie made spaghetti. We bonded again and a few years later I dated Jay Clarke, and this November we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. In between all these years, Jan (aka "Pooh") came and lived with us when she had some unsettling time as a teenager. We loved having her and she outgrew all of those growing pains and schooled forever.
We were overjoyed when she and Keith married. We even enjoyed a few holiday times at Disney as I recall. During our life, we had many good times with your dad and mom. Jay played golf with Jim and some other Herald folks. We also played tennis with Jim and Harpie hit a mean tennis ball for her mighty small size.
Glenn Kirchhoff, Gene and Electra Miller, Al Burt, Doug Kenedy, Bob Swift, Bob and Tina East are up there with your dad now. My dad and Jim Dance made some trips to Cuba during the Lakeland Pilots Days and they really whooped it up.
Tell me, do either of you kids have the barber chair that was in your home? If you pass your addresses to me and Jay, we would love to keep in touch. We have three kids: Anne Patrice, Dougan and Paul. Paul and Vivian live in Atlanta, have a daughter, Rose Patrice. Dougan and Martha have two children: daughter Grayson, 4, and son Cotton, 2. They live in Coconut Grove and Dougan has a big factory and manufactures patio umbrellas. Check it out online -it's called TUCCI, an acronym for The Ultimate Umbrealla Compay, Inc."