Lydia Vihlen Freed

Here goes: (I must say before I start, have to thank my husband, yes I do have one, for 32 years now, for being able to write something).....Skipping to 1963, my year old son, Jeoff, and I moved to Ft. Lauderdale to live with my parents, the years between June of 1960 and to this point will remain a mystery, I don't like those years... some of it that is... any who... I found a job at the Gilbert Bail Bond, loved it. I sure didn't know what life I was getting into at the time either, that was something I had never had to deal with, law, cops, etc. Here I go.

I almost got fired, because of my "hick talk", when I would finish a conversation I would say "okey dokey", very city of me. One of the lawyers that called asked John who did he have working for him, he would fire me. That was the last time I said those words to anyone, see you do learn something every day.

No, I was not like those bail bond/bounty hunting people that are on A&E, Dog, Beth and family, may the darker blonde of my hair, No, No. At the time I was the youngest of three women that held a bail bond writing license, if I do say so myself I was pretty good at it. Could read people pretty good. Thus, I hade very few "skips", they were found dead or alive. They didn't mess with Miss Liddie.

Had to use an alias, because I spotted Doug walking past the office, the Lauderdale police department was right next to the office, going to lunch, sort of looked like Barney on Andy Griffin Mayberry :) After getting married I couldn't have people know that I was now the same last name as the cop that arrested them. Thus the new name, has stuck for a few other wish I am Lyd/Lid and a few other names......

While I continued to do this job, raising two boys, I had my mother, Gretchen, to help raise them as we worked, going to courts, bailing people out, dealing with the lawyers, court systems, just everything in general. It was a family that I worked for and spoiled me for any other system to work for, don't like companies.

One day I was sitting in the office alone, in came one of our skips, turned himself in. There I sat what do I do, don't want him to walk out. I asked him if it would be OK to put handcuffs on him, behind his back, and put him in the back seat of a Chevy Nova, two door. This had to be a site to see, because here was this 5'3" woman, putting this 6' and more into the back seat of that Nova. Off, we go, had called the sheriff's department before I left, before cell phones, dropped him at the back jail door. I had my man and back in jail.

Get to the office and all the guys are there, what was I thinking they ask? Do you know that his wrap sheet is longer than you are? No, but he was nice and co-operated. Boy, I never did that again, for fear of the new, you know what, that they chewed.

In the meantime on Doug's days off at the Police department he locates and brings in "skips", moon lighting they called it. He continues to bounty hunt, and changes to the Hollywood fired department, new life style and language. He loved and loves to fish, there were many a fishing trip with my dad for him.

Now we have a chance to open a bail bond office in Lake City, a chance to be our own boss and do it our way. We didn't realize that the county was still as corrupt as it was when my parents lived there in the late 50's, daddy worked for Florida Power and Light at the time, we sort of got run out of town, so to speak. At that same time we had a chance to take over a bail bond office in Panama City.

Low and behold, this old fart, didn't think that women should be in any work force, so I just sat at a desk and couldn't even answer the phone. That got old and he wouldn't let go of the business, Doug switched to use his paramedic skills at the county hospital and ended up being the supervisor of the ambulance service. A new language again, sort of knew part of it from being a fireman/paramedic. Did that for a few years. Made friends of a school teacher. I cleaned school teachers homes for extra spending money. Loved PC but it took and hour to go north go go east to south, then south. Was to far from family.

Doug gets a call from a friend, retired fireman, to come work at the Nautilus TV facility, he invented the Nautilus exercise machines. He was promoted to crocodile/care taker. Once Arthur Jones moved Nautilus company to Ocala, Doug didn't work for him, to much and didn't want to move there. He started working at the Nissan store. ME, I was traveling with a beauty pageant Stars of Tomorrow, doing back stage work, doing photography, making a little bit of money, for several years. That fizzled out, got a job at a video rental store.

In the meantime Doug wants to go back to Panama City, off we go. Go back to the houses that I did before, he worked in car sales.

Back to Deland, he goes back to the Nissan store, then decides he wants to go to nursing school. While working as heart monitor tech in ICU, he is going to school. I am delivering auto/marine paint. He gets me a job at the hospital being a monitor tech also. Was there a few more years.

Now he decides that he wants to use the "boat captain" school certificate that our youngest has given him to get his 100,000 ton license. He has always wanted to be a boat captain. OK, off to Laud he goes, I stay in Deland and work. I move to Laud again, the boys are already there. The youngest is already a boat captain, still working captain owning his own tug boat company. Oldest is going to repertory tech school, now works in Orlando.

Doug had a chance to take a yacht up/down the Mississippi River, that fell through, after he got his license. Now what does he do for a job, can't move back to Deland and work for the hospital, he gets a job at the Water Taxi. I end up working with him on one of the taxi's as his mate. That was fun. There came a chance to run the water taxi in NY City. We jumped at that.

At first we lived in lower Brooklyn, could see the Verrazano Bridge from where we lived, in a three story walk up. Traveled back and forth from Brooklyn to Staten Island to Liberty State Park, were the water taxi's ran out of, the marina there. We found a little 20' C&C sail boat to rent and lived on till we bought our 40' Marine Trader trawler boat.

We lived on that for a couple of years. Across our bow we had the Western side of the NY City skyline and to the right there was the Lady Liberty, every day, it was breath taking each time we looked at the site. Loved NY, hated Jersey City. Did most of our shopping in Bayonne, NJ, wonderful people in NY and NJ, most that is. We built the taxi service from three commuters to over 600 in a few months of starting the taxi service, plus site seers that got off the Statue tour boats that docked next to us. We loved every minute of it, the people and just being on the water.

Wow, this is getting very long... let me cut to the chase, from there we moved the boat down the Intercostals to Lauderdale, then over to Nassau for a year or so, then back to Lauderdale, Miami, where Doug worked for a "rich jerk", got enough of that man and started working for Dana at the tug company, did that till her had his heart attack three July's ago, and then retired. By this time we have sold the boat and moved to land, here in Avon Park, now we have his mother living with us :( Not recommended of certain personalities :) Now he has retired and puttering.

We have also acquired a granddaughter, Savanna, 3 going on 33 now, we take care of her every other week, the kids work and her mother won't put her in a nursery school :( Love this bonding that we have had with her, other wise we would have been visiting grandparents for these first few years, now comes the school years and won't see her that much, unless we move again, to the Deland area and she will be right there, not two hours away.

There are so many people that we have met along the way, but my roots are still in Sarasota , still home, my mother and sister, Anita, still live there, that have made up this mini-novel and there is more to each and every chapter of my life, I wouldn't change a second of it, as crazy as it has been, some good and some bad, not many losses yet. Still have very close ties to home. Looking forward to seeing you in Oct.