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Updated: 03/15/2014 08:00:03AM

Grove City 1950: ‘Things were pretty darn basic here’

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“Back then you could drive on the beach. Used to go down to Stump Pass in that jeep,” said Willis Broomhill. “That was a real military Jeep, a CJ 2. I gave $500 for it. I bought it up at Gibson, Florida, took me all night to run the darn thing down here, didn’t go very fast.”

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Evelyn and Willis Broomhill first visited Englewood in 1950. Willis wanted to see a couple of pals he had served with in the Seabees during World War II, Buster Lampp and Clayton Wiggins.

“We found a spot to stay with a man named Jim Bathrick,” said Willis. “He owned a nursery on County Road 775 on the corner opposite where Merchants Crossing Shopping Center is now. He had four little rooms in back of his place, like cottages. When we got in there I remember I ran the water a while and I hollered, ‘Jim, there’s no hot water!’ He hollered back, ‘Never was any!’ We did have a little hot plate and a cone-shaped wood-burning stove. Like to froze to death! But it was fun.

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