Tooling Around Miami As A Teen In The ’60s

Dec 26, 2013

The author as a teenager in the 1960s.

This is the story of Joe Arango as told by him.

My Miami story began the day my KLM flight touched down from Cuba at Miami International Airport.

I was traveling alone in 1961 at the age of 11. I was going to some unknown destination, which turned out to be an orphanage in Colorado, arranged by Operation Pedro Pan. I was reunited with my mother and two younger sisters almost two years later in Miami (we were some of the lucky ones).

We moved into an old wooden house near Shell’s City. I was enrolled at Edison Junior High in the seventh grade in 1963, and later I went to Beach High (Miami Beach High School). My mother was now a single mom raising three kids in a new country with a new language.

My first job was delivering The Miami News around Lemon City and Little River. Adjustments had to be made to my bicycle by installing a wooden “banana basket” to the handlebars to accommodate the heavy load from the newspapers. It felt as if I were peddling a Buick. My introduction to mobile journalism drastically ended the day my bike fell apart into several pieces and I had to walk back home in the rain carrying the wheel and frame in one arm and the chain and handlebars in the other. No more banana basket. I was 14.

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