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Ken's Travels



A little stuff about my travels . . . 

Aunt Hazel Stoddart
Kenny Dick Sailor
Kenny Dick Cop
Anna & Mary Graff
Olive St. Philadelphia

PHASE 1: (40's & 50's) - Let's start with my childhood travels to Philadelphia.  Every summer Great Aunt Hazel Ryan Stoddart and Uncle Bill Stoddart would take me to Philly to visit Fred and Mary Graff.  I always threw up on the way down.  What a heck of a drive before the PA Turnpike was completed.  Mary was Uncle Bill's sister.  They were from Scotland.  I don't know if Fred was related to the Frederick Graff that designed the Fairmount Water Works, but they lived near the waterworks on the first block of Olive Street (which is gone now).  Fred was a supervisor at the Baldwin Locomotive Works. 
Aunt Hazel took me to the City Aquarium (1911-1962) at the Water Works; and would let me swim in the fountain at the nearby Philadelphia Museum of Art.  She would let me do anything I wanted, and buy anything I wanted.  One year she bought me a Sailor suit at the Army/Navy store up on Girard Av, and one year she bought me a Cop suit. Great Aunt Hazel!  They were Catholics and took me to SFX church on Greene Street, near the Graff's house on Olive Street, near the Art Museum, and behind 2601.  Their row home looked through a very high wrought iron fence onto the rear of the adjacent Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company building, originally the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company.  They would also take me to the Franklin Institute, and its Fels Planetarium
After Aunt Hazel and Uncle Bill died, Mom & Dad started taking me to visit the Graffs in the summers.  I remember one when the Graffs took us to Stone Harbor for a week, and to Scheib Park (later known as Connie Mack Stadium) to see the Philadelphia Athletics (the A's) play.  I remember the horse drawn milkman that came down Olive Street in the morning.  I remember Mary getting a fishook in her foot at the beach.  When Anna graduated from Halahan High, Fred gave her a brand new '56 Chevy, and she used to take me with her and her girlfriends cruising around Philly.  I thought that was cool . . . I had never been around so many girls! 

Dad & Mom took me to San Francisco for a month on the California Zephyr, where I enjoyed visiting Mom's sisters and her aunts.  I stayed with Aunt Belle, but mostly at Aunt Emma's.  I visited Great Aunt Pearl and Great Aunt Florabelle.  Dad took me to the Navy Base at Alameda because I was interested I the Navy, and I went aboard the USS Midway.  Aunt Belle took me to a concert by the Marine Band in golden gate Park.  We went to Cliff House at Seal Rocks, and Barry took me to Stinson Beach.  I saw Alcatraz, and rode the ferry to Oakland.  we went to fisherman's wharf, and I went to a Chinese restaurant for the first time.  It was neat.  We rode the cable cars, and went up to Coit Tower.  Did Top of the Mark, and went to Palo Alto.  I had a great time there.     
They took me to amusement parks, e.g. Hershey Park, Rolling Green, Knoebels Grove, Hecla Park, etc.; and to historical parks like Gettysburg and Valley Forge.  We visited family a lot, and stayed up at Uncle Bill's camp a lot.  Dad and I went hunting and fishing together, and to the gun range.  He took me to all the festivals around the area.   All in all I had a pretty good childhood.   


San Diego CA
Washington DC
Anacostia Naval Station
Atlantic Ocean
USS Forrestal
Pisa, Italy
Leaning Tower

PHASE 2: (60's) - My next phase of travel was when I was in the Navy, where I spent a few years experiencing quite a few nice countries and cities.  I enlisted at Philadelphia, PA, I went to boot camp at the U.S. Naval Training Center in San Diego, California.  I enlisted as an Airman Recruit and hoped to go to Pensacola to train to be an Air Traffic Controller (AC).  I also intended to audition for the Navy Band after enlistment.  While at boot camp I auditioned with the Bandleader at the Naval Base San Diego and was recommended to attend the USN School of Music in Washington DC.  As graduation neared, there were no openings at the Air Traffic Controller school for the AC Rating and they entered me in the AE school at Memphis TN, i.e. Aviation Electronics, however, I decided to go to the School of Music for the MU Rating in Washington D.C. instead.  Glad I did!  So off goes the green stripes and on goes the blue.
While assigned to ComCarDiv 4, our unit was small, only 18 people who were all pretty good friends, and we traveled around the country surrounding the ports of call, sightseeing when we put into port.  Most of my sea time was in the Atlantic Ocean, but some in the Pacific. 
In the CARIBBEAN Sea we visited the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba several times; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; Port-au-Prince, Haiti where I heard a steel band play in a hanger type building at the Francois Duvalier Airport; the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba, Puerto Rico; and the Dominican Republic.  I spend a good bit of time in the Caribbean, on five ships, USS Shangri-La, USS Roosevelt, USS ForrestalUSS Kitty Hawk, and USS Kenneth D. Bailey.
In SOUTH AMERICA we visited Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where we saw Christ The Redeemer on Corcovado, and we saw Sugarloaf (no, I did not ride the cable car, thank you).  We also were at Valparaiso in Chile; and Lima in Peru, where I played a gig at the Lima International Trade Fair.  This three month tour on the USS Kitty Hawk included crossing the Equator ceremonies, and we sailed around Cape Horn.

In the MIDDLE EAST OF ASIA we visited Beirut in Lebanon while aboard the USS Forrestal on a 9 month Med Cruise.  Here I saw the American University, and played a gig on a hotel rooftop bar/club, but can't remember which one.  Very different, the street vendors bargaining, no price on anything, have to negotiate everything... old houses with no windows or doors in stark contrast to a few modern city high rises, goats in the streets, etc... In EUROPE we visited Gibraltar, Portugal; Barcelona, Spain; spent a good bit of time in France seeing Cannes, our port of call, where Bob Hores introduced me to Pablo Picasso on the beach, far out; Golf Juan, Cote d'Azur; Antibes where I played a gig once; Nice where I had lunch at Harry's; Grasse where I visited a French family that befriended me, and I bought some Joy by Jean Pateau, the most expensive in the world at that time I think; all very beautiful, and would love to go back;  Athens, Greece, where I saw the Parthanon on the Acropolis and ate roasted chestnuts from a street vendor; Genoa, Italy where I had the best Spagetti and wine, and little pizzas; also Naples, Pisa and Livorno, Italy; and Palermo, Sicily, where the catacombs were the big draw, and we saw Mt. Etna. In the MEDITERRANEAN SEA we visited Rhodes; and Crete; and others, which I don't remember.  I was on watch at the ComCarDiv Four Surface Plotting Station on the Flag Bridge (Admiral's Bridge) on the USS Forrestal when we sailed through the Strait of Gibralter, and I saw the Rock of Gibralter in the British Colony Gibralter on the Iberian Peninsula.

In NORTH AMERICA we visited Acapulco in Mexico; San Diego, California; San Francisco and Alemeda California; Lincoln, Nebraska; New York, New York; Washington, DC; (Andrews, gigs); Norfolk, Virginia; (gigs); Mayport and Jacksonville, Florida.  In the 60's I was getting to really like jazz, after hearing Horace Silver at Abart's in DC, and I went to the Village Gate, Top of the Gate, the old Five Spot, Village Vanguard and Birdland before it moved uptown, to hear the jazz masters . . . . . of course in DC I also hit The Bayou, The Hayloft, Rocket Room, The Speakeasy, and I may have accidently wandered into the Mardi Gras.  A lot of these places are no longer there.


Ken @ Gatwick
Ken @ Copenhagen
Ken in Malmo

PHASE 3: (70's & 80's) - After the Navy, my brotherSteve Poorman, generously included me in a couple of his European vacations.  One was to London, England, where we stayed at the Grosvenor House on Hyde Park.  Of course it was not a Marriott at that time.  I had a flat that Elizabeth Taylor used when in London.  I threw a party one night, and had about 30 people in that little suite.  We learned some things about Scotland Yard that night - ha - I wonder if they still have my camera.  I remember Trafalgar Square & Piccadilly Circus in Westminster (Love those double decker buses).  Of course we saw Buckingham Palace and the Guards, and we took a tour of Windsor Castle, wow!  We also toured Westminster Abbey, marvelous, and saw Big Ben and Parliament across the way.  We toured two castles in the country, and had lunch at a hunting lodge.  We visited Traitor's Gate, and went to a great French Restaurant, Le Gavroche in Upper Brook Street, up near the U.S. Embassy, which I visited also.  Expensive, but excellent, best wine I ever had.  We hit a few pubs as well - ha - no photos please.  We toured the Tower of London and talked with the Beefeaters, and saw the Crown Jewels - WOW!  And, what about Harrod's and Hamleys!  We saw 10 Downing Street, had fun in the Carnaby Street area, saw Tower Bridge, walked along the River Thames (didn't see BENNY HILL) and saw so many other sites that I can't even remember.  I have flown into both Heathrow and Gatwick.  I think London is the greatest!  (but where was Dido when I needed her?) - - - - - København - Another time we went to Denmark and Sweden.  Copenhagen is very interesting, very clean, and the most expensive vacation I ever had.  Some shocking sexual stuff going on there, no, not the nude beaches.  Visited The Little Mermaid, and enjoyed seeing the Frederiksborg Castle, and the circus at Tivoli Gardens.  And, the Tuborg Gold in Denmark was great (better than the stuff they make for The States)!   Malmö - We liked the shopping in Malmö stad, Sweden.  I bought a heavy crystal clock and shipped it home.  Good Swedish food.  Very nice.   Good duty free shopping in Ireland too. Some of the U.S. trips or places I stayed during this period were: Las Vegas, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Worcester MA, Newark, love Libretti's in Orange, Elizabeth NJ, Wildwood, Ocean City NJ, Ocean City MD, Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington DC, Arlington VA 3 years, Vienna, Fredericsburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Atlanta, Charlston WV, Altoona 4 years, Pittsburgh, Scranton/Clarks Summit, etc.


Southhampton, Bermuda
Atop Gibbs Lighthouse

Ft. Lauderdale FL
Ken & Thunderbirds

Pompano Beach FL
Steve's Condo
Washington DC
Navy Yard
Key Biscayne FL
Seaquariam Miami

PHASE 4: (1990's & 2000's) - Nowdays Diane and I get in a little travelling, not much.  We went to Bermuda for our honeymoon, stayed at the Southampton Princess in Southampton (took the ferry and enjoyed breakfast at the Hamilton Princess too.  We enjoyed dinner at Fourways Inn, I played the piano a little there one afternoon for some people having lunch, we climbed up the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, took a cruise on the glass bottom boat, visited the cave, downtown Hamilton, St. George, Somerset, etc.  Visited the Governor's Mansion and the Old State House and saw Ross Perot's house.  I have cousins who live in Bermuda too, the Mitchells.  We love Bermuda!  We have taken in some of South Florida, thanks to Steve and Pam inviting us down to their lovely condo in Pompano Beach (no, not Pompano Beach in Bermuda), where they spend their winters away from Lock Haven, our hometown... and they take us around to things at Ft. LauderdaleMiami, Maimi Beach, South Beach and it's Art Deco District where my Mom used to work at the Essex House (I felt close to her there)... Love South Beach!  We like the casual sidewalk dining at Coconut Grove too, and Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Naples, etc...  Di goes to Oaklahoma City, NYC and LA on business occasionally; we go to Baltimore Inner Harbor, and Emmitsburg MD.  We go to DC pretty regularly, the National ShrineJ Paul's and Clyde's in Georgetown, and the Vienna Inn in VA for doggies, Fairfax, Alexandria, etc.  Visited the Navy Memorial, been to the Marine's Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial, which I love, i.e. the Silent Drill Team and the USMC Drum & Bugle Corp!!!  Been to the Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks, and a few other restaurants around town, like Blackie's House of Beef, Old Ebbitt Grill, Orleans House in Rosslyn, Athenian in Bethesda, Chadwick's in Georgetown, Tivoli in Roslyn/Arlington, Dominique's, the Atrium @ Gateway Marriott in Crystal City, Gadsby's in Alexandria, Fran O'Brien's, Garrett's, Martin's in G-Town, Nick's, Uno on M, Nathan's, etc. - The Bottom Line with Ravi Mani's CCC gang - and, we go to Blues Alley in Georgetown occasionally . . . and Zanzabar Blue in Philly!

In 2010, thanks to my brother Steve and Pam . . . we took the girls to Disney World for a few days, and then went down to Pompano Beach and stayed with Steve & Pam.  Took the girls to Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale and at South Beach - and Seaquarium at Key Biscayne.  Very neat - THANKS STEVE!





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