Standing On The Front Porch, Greg Thomas
ISBN #: 978-1-7338019-5-9 • Paperback, 276 Pages
A wild account of what it was like growing up in Cocoa Beach, Florida in the 1960's. The book highlights early days of the Space Program at Cape Canaveral, Florida and the exploits of a group of young surfers in Cocoa Beach and adventures in surfing on the Space Coast, Hawaii and Peru.
“Standing On The front Porch is a fun read and it takes me back to a carefree time growing up in Cocoa Beach in the ‘60’s. The stories remind me of just how extraordinary our adventures and experiences really were, and even more amazing is to realize these things all really happened. It was just everyday life for us and the world was our playground having the beach and the waves in our backyard combined with the rip-roaring lifestyles of those around us during the rapidly growing space program. I would not have traded our times together for any amount of money, and the few of us left to remember these stories will always have a special place in our heart for those days.” — Dr. Robert Lehton
The stories you are about to read are based on actual occurrences and things that I recall from my earlier years growing up in the Cocoa Beach, Florida Space Coast community. The order in which each event transpired is fairly close in chronological accuracy and I have chosen to change the names of the characters involved to protect the guilty, so to speak. When I first wrote some of these stories, I used the actual language and profanity that was the norm for conversations among the ones portrayed on these pages. For the sake of keeping this narrative in more of a “PG” format, I have chosen to tone down the words used and you are welcome to insert your own thoughts regarding the emotions expressed.
Cocoa Beach was a very small coastal town when my parents graduated from Cocoa High School in 1942. After World War II they purchased one of the few homes existing at that time on the barrier island in 1947. The home is still owned by our family and is located at the south end of town along Highway A1A, which was the only road north and south when they moved there. To the best of my knowledge, their telephone was one of the first forty-two phones in the area and the only buildings in Cocoa Beach that I remember as a kid were where the center of town is today located near the only street that turned west off A1A, now named Minuteman Causeway. Our house had a screened-in porch on the front, facing the ocean and this is where I have some of my earliest memories of life as it unfolded before my eyes. That is the reason I chose the title to this book and as these stories are told, it is the visionary stage from which each recollection is viewed, which in later years provided perhaps a life-saving venue.
This relatively remote and secluded beach town radically changed seemingly overnight when the space program began at Cape Canaveral and the new residents arrived in ever increasing numbers, which created an entirely different atmosphere and landscape. It was indeed a time to have experienced, all the way from the first rocket launched with Alan Shepard, the first man in space, to Neil Armstrong walking on the lunar surface. We were the children of the space age and our parents were the scientists and engineers that changed the course of history. What I have attempted to achieve with this story is to share with you some of the things that happened during these years including some that are a bit on the humorous side, some of a historical nature and yet others with dramatically tragic endings.
I have not included all of the accounts of the many things which could have been portrayed within. However, I hope you can capture perhaps even a slight glimpse of what it may have been like growing up here, and with that said let me share with you what I saw Standing On The Front Porch.
The author surfing Pico, Peru
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii in the 1960's