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Key West…Erotic Awakenings in Paradise!

My immediate family comes from McComb, Mississippi and Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. Dad, John Kramer Austin, was roguishly handsome and Mom, Dean Sandifer, looked like Clara Bow (the greatest silent film actress known as the “It” girl) with big, large, doe-like, brown eyes. They were high school sweethearts and were married in 1929, the year of the big stock market crash; Mom was 18 and Dad was 19. After a few years in Mississippi and Charleston, South Carolina, they packed up my older brother, Paul Eugene Austin, born in 1934, and moved to Key West, Florida in 1938. I was born in 1942 in Key West.

Dean Sandifer Austin John Kramer Austin

Dad worked for Navy civil service and was asked to go to the Key West Naval Station to help work on and plan work for the submarines and submarine-tenders stationed there.

I remember Mom telling me much later how deeply scared she was when they were traveling down the Florida Keys for the first time on U.S. Highway 1. All of the bridges’ superstructures connecting the Keys at that time were very narrow two lane structures that were built over the old railroad bridge trusses that Henry Morrison Flagler had built between 1905 and 1912.

A cut-away section of the old Seven Mile Bridge showing the old railroad track truss and the concrete road deck superimposed later. Paint striping, although faded, still remains on the road.

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