Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Full of Beans Chapters 11-12

Beans says that the ceiling on the porch was painted a "watery blue-green that looked like the sky" and that most of the porches in Key West were that color. It was called "haint blue" and was supposed to keep ghosts away. It's still true today.




Here's that picture of the turtle kraals again. Splash!


Full of Beans Chapters 9-10

In Key West in 1934, you needed a fire alarm key to set off the fire alarm. Keys were kept by families who lived near important intersections, like Too Bad's family. where the alarms were located. Here is a fire alarm box and if you look closely, the key is in the keyhole.


If there was a fire, a person would use the key to open the alarm box closest to the fire.


Then you pulled down the hook once, just like the directions say, and the alarm would sound. The alarm was sent to the bell in the cemetery and also to the firehouse. The firehouse alarm would ring the code matching the location of the fire and also display the code at the top of the alarm where it says INDICATOR.


This sign hung in the fire station. Look familiar? The firefighters counted the rings or checked the INDICATOR for the code and knew where to go for the fire. If the alarm was pulled at White and Catherine, what was the alarm code?


Pacquin's Hand Cream was used for dry, chapped hands.


Full of Beans Chapter 8

Beans drops laundry off at the firehouse on Grinnell. That firehouse is still there, and it is now the Key West Firehouse Museum.




Mrs. Albury, Little Dizzy's mom, made the best divinity candy in all of Key West. Beans describes it as "chocolate and sugar spun into sweet little dollops that melted in your mouth." 


Full of Beans Chapter 7

Beans finally makes it to the theater to see the Shirley Temple movie. Back in chapter 4 we learned that it was called Baby Take a Bow. Here are a couple of the movie posters.


The Sears Roebuck Catalog was full of stuff you might need - pretty much everything. Here is the front and back cover from the Sears Roebuck catalog in the spring of 1934.


Beans wants an accordion. It might be cool for him to have one, but I wonder if he thought about getting lessons to play it?


A couple times now we have heard the characters refer to all the people coming to town as "New Dealers." The New Deal refers to a series of government programs started in the 1930's to help the country recover from the Great Depression, and the people who put the new laws into practice were called New Dealers. The New Deal programs were designed to do three things: 1.) Help people who had lost jobs and didn't have much money, 2.) Help the economy get back to normal, and 3.) Help prevent another depression from happening again.

Avery tells Beans that workers, or the "New Dealers," are making postcards and brochures to advertise Key West as a tourist location. Here is a postcard from that time. How is the picture different from how the houses in Key West are described? Why is that? (Avery explains it to Beans.)


You can find many more old Key West post cards on this site: Post Cards of Old Key West.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Full of Beans Chapter 6

Johnny Cakes' office was in Gatoville. That's an area of Key West where Mr. Gato started a cigar factory and built houses for his workers to live in. But by 1934 the factory had closed down and Johnny Cakes owned one of the buildings. I did not get to that part of town, but I did find this picture of the E. H. Gato Cigar Company. Maybe is office was in a building like this one.


Earlier in the book Beans calls Key West a thirsty city. Now it mentions bars and taverns on Duval Street. Full of Beans doesn't mention any of them by name, but a couple are mentioned in Turtle in Paradise. Here are some that are on Duval Street or nearby today.




Full of Beans Chapter 5

Here is another shot of Pepe's where Beans and the gang see a crowd gathering outside.


Just like in Turtle in Paradise, this book mentions the resident writer. He's a famous author who lived in Key West at the time. Today his house is a museum. Do you remember his name? Here is his house today.



Gardner's Pharmacy was located on Duval Street. While I did not find Gardner's, I did find two drug stores. One you've already seen. Here's the other one. (It's not very historic.)


Bumstead's Worm Syrup was used to cure worms that live inside you. It's a pretty detailed science lesson about parasites, and a little gross, so we'll just look at the bottle and an advertisement for Bumstead's.



I found this picture inside Pepe's Cafe. There isn't too much description of Johnny Cakes in the book, although earlier it said he was wearing a white linen suit and a Panama hat, but when I saw this photo, the guy in the middle reminded me of what I always imagined Johnny Cakes would look like.


Full of Beans Chapter 4

The Casa Marina Hotel was opened in 1920 but had closed by 1934. Here is a picture of what it looked like when it was first completed and a picture of what it looks like today.



I didn't get to an ice cream shop on Duval Steet, but I did make it to a small store that looked a lot like an ice cream shop. Except it didn't sell ice cream. It sold key lime pie. We thought it was hilarious that the store's owner was named Kermit! (No, it's not the same Kermit from the book. We just liked the name, and we loved the pie!)



The Strand Theater building is still on Duval Street, but if you look closely, you'll see that it's not a theater anymore even if it looks like one.


Interestingly, the original Strand Theater burned down on July 6, 1934, the month this story starts. (I found this picture in the Key West Firehouse Museum.) If I had to guess, since the theater is so important to Beans and the book (you'll see in upcoming chapters), Jennifer Holm chose to leave the theater standing for her story.


There are three different fruits mentioned for the cut-up: mango, Spanish lime, and soursop.




Full of Beans Chapter 3

Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean Sea just south of Florida. Havana is the capital city of Cuba and is only 90 miles south of Key West. By comparison, Key West is 130 miles in a straight line to Miami.

The game of marbles was played by placing marbles inside a ring on the ground and players would attempt to shoot their opponent's marbles out of the ring.


Beans says the Keepsies have "every kind of marble imaginable. We had them all: cat's-eyes, aggies, clearies, milkies, steelies, glassies, onionskins." Here's what some of those types of marbles look like. 


Too Bad lives on the corner of Frances and Fleming Streets. Here are the pictures of the houses that are there today. I have no idea if these are the same houses that were standing at that time or if new ones have been built, but which one do you think would have been Too Bad's? (The last two pictures are the same house.)





Full of Beans Chapter 2

Beans says that Key West was "lousy with lanes." Many of those lanes are still there today. Here is Curry Lane today from Francis Street.


Beans describes his house as "shotgun style." A shotgun style house is one and a half stories tall and only one room wide. The rooms are one behind the other on the main floor, so the houses are basically long and skinny. These houses are currently on Curry Lane.



In chapter 2 we first meet the dog that is following Beans and Kermit around. Beans says this dog "had a little body and a roundish head and reminded me of Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl.


The turtle kraals was where sea turtles were stored after they were caught by fishermen. Today there is the Turtle Kraals restaurant and museum as well as this historical marker.




Conch chowder is made from the conch. You can see them poking out of their shells after being caught. 


The main fire alarm bell was located in the cemetery which is in the center of town and also one of the highest points in Key West. The bell was on a tower. The tower is no longer there, but the bell is now kept at the Key West Firehouse Museum



This is what the cemetery looks like today, and judging by the dates on some of these graves, it probably looked a lot like this back in Beans' day.




Everyone in Key West had a fire alarm card like this one. When a fire alarm was sounded, the alarm would ring a series of numbers. The numbers matched a location in Key West so the firefighters would know where to go for the fire. (Can you see the 1-3-4 location? Was Beans right?)