From grey winters to colorful climate
Paul Davidson grew up in a military family, he was lucky enough to have lived in Cocoa Beach from 1961-1968 in the peak of his childhood, when his father was transferred to Patrick Air Force Base. He spent his time living the Cocoa Beach lifestyle we all know and love before his father took a job at the Space Center in Houston. He says if he were to move again, Cocoa Beach is a big contender. Here’s his story:
I moved to Florida with my family from Ohio at age 5 in 1961 when my father was transferred from Ohio. After the cold dreary grey winters of Dayton, I quickly fell in love with the warm, sunny, colorful climate. The first two years we lived in the North Wherry housing area on Patrick AFB, now gone. In 1963, we moved to a house my parents had built on Bimini Road in New Cocoa Isles, where we lived for the next five years. I loved living in Cocoa Beach, spending lots of time on the beach, riding my bicycle all over the place, and sailing a 10-foot sailboat on the Banana River, even going around the uninhabited islands there. I enjoyed watching the space launches on TV for the first few seconds after liftoff and then going out on our driveway to watch the rest of the way. I attended St. Mark’s in Cocoa (1st & 2nd grades, 1961-63), Freedom 7 in Cocoa Beach (3rd grade, 1963-64), Cape View in Cape Canaveral (4th-6th grades, 1964-67), and Roosevelt Jr. High in Cocoa Beach (7th-part of 8thgrades, 1967-Nov 1968). While in 6th grade at Cape View, I helped a group of us launch two model rockets in honor of the Apollo 1 astronauts in February 1967 on the date they had been scheduled to launch.
After my father retired from the Air Force at the end of 1967, engineering jobs in Cocoa Beach didn’t exist, so he took a job at the Space Center in Houston and we moved there in November 1968. I’ve made several short return trips, most recently last summer. Cocoa Beach has changed a lot, but I still see in it the things that made me love it as a child. I’m happy where I live in Georgia, but I’ve told my wife that, if we were to move again, Cocoa Beach would be at the top of my list of destinations.
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