Outdoors | Recreation
Miami-Dade County Parks to host “A walk down memory lane with Carl Thompson”--A celebration of the life and legacy of Larry and Penny Thompson and the 35th anniversary of Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground on Saturday, November 24, 2012, 10 a.m., Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground (cabana area), 12451 SW 184 St., Miami, 33177.
Carl Thompson, the son of the late Larry and Penny Thompson (the park’s namesakes) will share family photos and cherished stories about his parents’ family life that was popularized in his father’s famed Miami Herald daily column “Life with Larry Thompson.” Carl will also present the park with the gift of his father’s circa 1941 Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter which he used to write his columns, while on family camping trips. The typewriter will become part of a permanent display at the park.
For directions and information about activities and programs offered at Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground, the public can call 305-232-1049 or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.
Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground, with its 270-acre of natural South Florida woodland, bridle trails and hiking paths is considered one of the last portions of wilderness in Miami-Dade County.
In 1977 Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground was dedicated in memory of Larry and Penny Thompson, avid campers and Miami-Dade civic leaders who were staunch advocates of park preservation and beautification. Larry was a Miami Herald columnist and humorist for more than 25 years. His Miami Herald column “Life with Larry Thompson” was a mainstay for many South Floridians during the 1950s, 1960s and up until his death in 1973.
Each summer, the Thompsons would take their children on a cross-country camping trip lasting four weeks and thousands of miles. Over the years, they traveled to 48 states and most of the national parks. During these family road trips, Larry Thompson wrote his column using this portable typewriter, which he would perch on a picnic table at their camp site. The next day, he would air mail the column back to Miami where readers eagerly awaited the next installment of the Thompson Family adventure.
During the 1940s, Penny Thompson was a leader in women's aviation in South Florida, organizing international women's air races, publishing an aviation newspaper, spearheading the drive to name the Amelia Earhart Park in Miami after the famed aviatrix and serving as president of the Florida chapter of the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of women pilots. During World War II, she joined the Civil Air Patrol and flew her plane from the old Richmond Air Base (adjacent to the Larry and Penny Thompson Park) to search for German submarines in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1953 Larry Thompson interviewed Penny for a story about women pilots. They fell in love, the next year they were married and Penny became a part of the “Life with Larry Thompson” column. In 1954 the Thompsons had twins (Carl and Evellen) and the next year Penny organized the Mothers of Twins Club in South Florida. To celebrate her twins' April 1st birthday, she created the Miami Twins Easter Parade which became an annual event on Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami for many years.