Writing Challenge: day 28

US Naval Station Key West, Florida circa 1950

US Naval Station
Key West, Florida
circa 1950

Continuing on with day 5 of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. As I read Lynn’s assignment for day 5, I realized once again how much I still don’t know about my Dad’s experience in Key West. Lynn suggests picking a primary scene in my story and after creating a list of details from the scene, create a detailed drawing of the setting. I can see why this is a great exercise. How can you write in specifics about something unless you can really see it at least in your mind’s eye. Details is what makes things come alive and be interesting to the reader.

I don’t have a good grasp on any of the scenes in this story. I made a list of possible scenes in the story:

  • mess hall
  • barracks
  • exercise field
  • locker room
  • swimming pool
  • class room
  • office
  • equipment room
  • boats
  • beach
  • demolition island
  • dock
  • ascent tank
  • diving bell
  • front of the school

A few of these I have photos of which help but I feel like I really need to understand the layout of the base and of Key West. I did some more research and stumbled upon a booklet called “The United States navy and the City of Key West, Florida” published by the Navy in about 1950. There is no date in the booklet but it talks about dates in 1949 and Truman is still President. Plus along with the digitized copy of the booklet was a letter written in 1953 which mentions that the booklet might be out of date. It has two maps, one of Key West and one of the Base. While the details could be better, I’m hoping with my Dad’s help, I’ll be able to orient myself and use these maps as references as I write.

I really want to get writing at least one story. I’m thinking of fleshing out the mile run story since I have some of my Dad’s own words about the story. Having a map of Key West will help me figure out a probable route that they ran. The booklet also list a bunch of stores and their addresses. I’m thinking that I can plug those into the map as well. Onward I go. At a snail’s pace maybe, but onward anyway.

Key West, Florida circa 1950

Key West, Florida
circa 1950


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