Latin America 1950s 7

A trip to Punta Gorda

Some months back I received a message from John Crellin that an ex-CCC employee was trying to contact me. I was provided with the email address of John Hayward ( and that same day I sent a message saying that of course, we were very interested in hearing from Johnny and his wife Jan after all these (40) years. John came from CCC London, where he was an ACPO, to Balboa, Canal Zone, on New Years Day , 1960 along with Peter Stevens and Mac Mahon. After I contacted him, John submitted Part 6 of the Latin America Story on this site and we were all able to read what he had been doing for the past 40+ years. Punta Gorda is about 180 miles from Miami on Florida’s south-west coast. It’s an easy drive, across Alligator Alley (I75) and up through Naples and Ft. Myers. The City sits on an inlet close to Port Charlotte and several magnificent bridges link south to north across the estuary. It’s a beautiful area and very quiet and peaceful. Ideal for a long vacation. Unfortunately our trip could not be extended so we drove from Miami to Naples, overnighted there and the next afternoon, drove the 40 miles north to our hotel just off I75 on the outskirts of the City. Having advised the Hayward’s that we would be arriving that Friday afternoon it was a simple matter to make a phone call and have them pick us up at the hotel at 5pm. We met in the hotel parking lot and it was a happy reunion after about 41 years out of touch. John as slim and sprightly as ever and Jan, with a cropped haircut, looking tanned and fit. Naturally. We retired without any delay to a local watering place and for the next three hours, interrupted only by a meal (and drinks of course) we swapped stories of events over the past four decades. We left the restaurant and made our way to Fisherman’s Village, a quaint collection of small shops and bars right on the water in Punta Gorda and then to the Wyvern Hotel for a final nightcap. We remembered to collect the gifts we had for our friends and presented Jan with some cosmetics and John with a can of “Spotted Dick” pudding which of course, was received with the appropriate comments. We said good night and we hope to see our friends again in 2011 when they return. We did take a couple of pictures and these are attached. What else can I say besides “It was well worth the visit”.

Mike Merry January 2010

Jan Hayward, Mike Merry, Mariela Merry, John Hayward

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

Click here for Part 3

Click here for Part 4

Click here for Part 5

Click here for Part 6

Click here for Part 7

Click here for Part 8