No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Peter Pan Theory

February 10, 2016

Polar Bear Plunge

Peter Pan Theory

“I have a theory why we all live here—it’s called the Peter Pan theory. Freud said that we are at our most creative when we are in our very early youth, before we’re five years old. That’s where we are here. We wear shorts, we ride bicycles, we have the water, a great symbol of the unconscious, and we’re free to be children here and let our spirits go. There’s nobody in suits and ties telling us what we have to do.”, David A. Kaufelt

Ann Beattie

Key West owes a large debt of gratitude to David A. Kaufelt, who was the driving force and founder of the amazing Key West Literary Seminar over thirty years ago. Along with his lovely wife Lynn and a group of locals dedicated to the Literary Arts he helped cement the literary legacy of the island community. Since his passing in May of 2014, The Literary Seminar that he founded and served so well, has sought a way to truly honor the man and this weekend that hope was turned into a reality with the unveiling of a Literary Landmark for David that will be placed in perpetuity at the entrance of the Key West library where he not only founded the seminar, but researched and wrote many of his own wonderful novels.

Key West Mayor Craig Cates

Sheldon and Susan

While I cannot claim to have been close to David in the years that I have worked with the seminar, I did work very closely with his wife Lynn who served as the President of the seminar board when I first joined and continues to serve on that board. I knew David in passing, but I obviously knew well of the legacy that he started when he began the seminar and of his wonderful literary career and from the start I was an enthusiastic supporter of our acknowledgement of David through the Literary Landmark presentation. Of course everyone was as his dedication and devotion to the arts in Key West is so blatantly obvious.

Alison Lurie
Diane and Arlo

It is obvious that the literary community and the community at large felt the same way as the unveiling ceremony, held at The Studios of Key West to a huge, standing room only crowd of fans and friends of David, was one of the “must attend” events of the cultural season in Key West. It was packed out of respect for what David did for Key West and out of love for Lynn and their son Jackson. The ceremony was beautiful with comments from a number of David’s friends and contemporaries including his good friends, writers Judy Blume and Ann Beattie. It was a bittersweet time with heavy hearts remembering a dear friend, yet happy and hopeful because of this wonderful recognition. Key West is now home to seven Literary Landmarks, second only to New York City in the total number and David finds himself in good company with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop and Tennessee Williams who each have one here as well.

Judy Blume and Aviva

This week also brought a couple of completely different events that I was happy to participate in as well. The Buddy Run 5K was held Saturday morning and the Fourth Annual Southernmost Polar Bear Plunge, which was held at the crack of noon on Saturday as well. Saturday started off very cold (by Key West standards) 58 degrees and windy and rainy but I braved the elements along with a great crowd of participants in the 5K, which was to raise money for the Anchors Aweigh club for AA members.

QMitch and Beth

It was a chilly walk, as I walked the 5K, and I managed to finish in second place among the walkers, just behind the winner, my walking buddy Dr. G. It was a great turnout and while it started in a misty rain, it actually cleared up somewhat as the race progressed and by the end, the sun was trying to peak out, though it was still cold. It did not warm up much by the noon stating time for the Polar Bear Plunge, but it did not seem to deter the couple of hundred people who lined the shore of Higg’s Beach next to Salute to rush into the chilly water at noon sharp.

  It may not seem cold, but 58 degrees with a strong wind is really cold for Key West and the water temperature was actually warmer than the air temp. I had never participated in this event, but had always wanted to and finally got around to signing up. Many people simply walked a short distance, barely getting wet above the knees, but I took my charge seriously and dashed out until it was deep enough to completely submerge myself before walking slowly back in to shore assisting my friend Michael, who was having a bit of trouble with his footing in the shifting sandy bottom. It was a fun event and yet another one that raised funds for charity, this time the Samuels House, which provides housing for women and children in need.

The week was punctuated by the passing of my friend Brendan. Brendan was the manager at the Waterfront Market who first hired me, for what was one of my first jobs in Key West after having arrived the previous year. A brilliant, interesting, hard-working, creative and wonderful man, Brendan and his wife Lauren became much more than simply people I worked with, they were great friends. I will always cherish those crazy, at times chaotic, but mostly fun years working at the Waterfront Market. Some of my best long-term Key West friends I met while working there as there was always a wonderful core of incredible people there. I hadn’t seen Brendan much over the last few years due to on-going health issues, but he remained a wonderful influence, role model and friend. Kathy and I express our deepest sympathy to his wife Lauren and all his family and friends. I feel a great priviledge to have known the man and will miss him.