Friday, March 29, 2013

mrs. betty pearl roberts

Epitaphs are phrases or statements chiseled as an inscription on a tombstone in memory of a person who has died,
to perpetuate a lasting impression.
Many epitaphs are respectful and solemn but some are
pretty humorous.

I learned of one such humorous epitaph in Key West's historic cemetery and decided that I wanted to see it for myself.
I knew I could ask the sexton where it was but finding it on my own would be a game I would play for the better part of my twelve years in Key West.
No, it's not like I spent a lot of time hunting it down; it was more like every few months I'd ride my bike or walk through the cemetery on my way to work or to Fausto's and just kind of keep a casual eye out.

Then one day, quite by accident about six months ago,
I found it.

Before she died of a heart attack, Betty Pearl Roberts (better known as Pearl) told her husband what epitaph she wanted engraved on her tombstone.

Even though she'd had at least 18 operations, mostly on her stomach, she had a lot of trouble convincing friends and family that she was really ill.
She had complained about pains in her stomach and back but no one, not even her doctors, took her seriously.
Her husband Nathan said that part of the problem was, she never lost her sunny disposition nor her sense of humor.
Friends and family would say things like, "how could you be sick, you're always smiling"; and they were saying that until the day she died.

Still, Pearl knew she wasn't long for this world and picked out her favorite pink dress then told her husband, "no jewelry".

And the epitaph she wanted. . .

Pearl died at age 50 at the Florida Keys Memorial Hospital and was laid to rest in the family plot at the city cemetery.
She was survived by her husband Nathan, her son Harry, her daughter Nellie Anderson, four sisters, one brother
and two grandchildren.

Friday, March 15, 2013

the blue hole

There's not a whole lot to say about "The Blue Hole" up on
Big Pine Key, some 30 miles northeast of Key West.

It was, by all accounts, a limestone quarry that was used for Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad and the original roads on Big Pine. After all that, it was abandoned.

Today it's a tourist attraction and part of the National Key Deer Refuge. A lake that is mostly fresh water, it has no inlet or outlet to replenish it so, "The Blue Hole" depends on rain water and whatever salt water might flow through the leftover limestone underground.

It's a place alive with life. While tourists and knucklehead photographers, like me, might visit "The Blue Hole" for a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon, there are all kinds of other life forms that call it home all year 'round.

There are Key Deer, Green Iguanas, snakes, bugs, birds
and alligators.
. . .Yep, alligators.
I was only there for a few hours so I didn't see one but
the sign says. . .


(. . .You think??)
Anyway, "The Blue Hole" is yet another quiet sweet-spot in the Keys and, like I said, not much of a story but a target rich environment for pictures of God's green,
 (or in this case, blue) earth.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

something "key westie"

I started a new job a few days ago.

After the Blue Paper went out of business back in early November, I was fortunate enough to afford to forget about working for a while and enjoy this beautiful place
where I live.
There was time to go to the beach, get a little better at sailing, do a handful of new paintings and read. All that lasted through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. But by the end of February I started getting buggy.

So I sent up a few flairs to continue my career as a designer and art director. I got some great response, mostly from Miami, and then I realized that my getting back to art direction was sort of a knee-jerk reaction. I really wanted to do something new, something "Key Westie"

I took a look at the KeysNews classified, just to see what might be out there. I found ads for "front desk agents", "barber/stylists", "pipe fitters", "cooks & crane operators", "landscape maintenance workers" and "housekeepers".

And under each ad it also said, "experience required".

Well of course all those gigs are good honest work but I don't have experience in any of them. And then, at the bottom of the listings column was, "Local Gallery - Sales Position".

Now, I've never been in sales but I can do the "art-speak" thing all day and then some and, like I said, I wanted out of my professional comfort zone.

So I called the gallery, said I'd be by the next morning and
that was that.
The next morning I grabbed a shower, put on my cleanest dirty shirt and headed over to the gallery, half expecting not
very much.
I walked in the gallery, sat down and talked to the gallery director for ten minutes and FLASH!! I had the job.

Well, I learned quickly that standing around on a tile floor doing very little or nothing for seven or eight hours is, even in my most comfortable shoes, very hard on the feet and legs.
It's a lot like the first few times you go sailing. The boat pitches and rolls, you don't know how to plant your feet because you don't have your sea legs yet.
After a few hours it gets uncomfortable.

But I've just started this new gig and, feet and legs aside, with time, I think I'll get good at it.

Meanwhile, I know several of KWTB's followers visit Key West from time to time.
If you're planning a visit, please drop me an e-mail at:

I'll reply with which gallery and where it is.
I'd enjoy meeting as many of you good people as I can.

(and no, I won't pressure you to buy anything)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


My head is exploding with things to be said;
but my heart just can't find the words.