- July 20, 2011
Everyone whom 94-year-old Betty Huston passes while riding her three-wheel bike from Twin Shores to Publix gives her a wave. She’s been riding daily for the past five years — the trip started as physical therapy after a hip replacement.
Every morning biker, dog-walker and jogger on Gulf of Mexico Drive seems to know her.
“Hi, Betty!” someone says.
“Good morning, Betty! Have a good day!” says another couple.
“Most of the people on Longboat Key are the friendliest people,” Huston says.
As she says this, a man passing by on a bike gives her a wave.
“See what I mean?” Huston asks.
But the friendly gestures go beyond, well, gestures. One morning on her bike ride, a tire went flat. A couple who were complete strangers offered to give her and her bike a lift back to Twin Shores. Now a friend and neighbor in Twin Shores fills her tires with air and does necessary repairs to her bike if it needs it.
Huston’s brother, Robert, had some friends living in Gulfshore mobile-home park, and Huston and her husband, Raymond, came to visit them. They moved there in 1989 from Riverside, N.J. They eventually moved into the only home in Twin Shores with a screened-in front porch.
Huston remembers fondly the “good ol’ days” of Longboat. There were older residents back then and less renters.
The purchase of Twin Shores by its owners was an event that brought the neighborhood together, Huston says. Although not many original buyers still live there, she says it’s retained its neighborly values. The residents meet for coffee a couple times a month in the recreation hall.
“Here in the park, it’s a family place,” she says. “People go out of their way to do things for different people.”
Huston has done her fair share of friendly favors. When she used to drive, for 10 years she was the driver for a man who had macular degeneration.
And what goes around comes around, because her friends in the community take her to her appointments now.
“I don’t know what it is. There seems to be something about the people who come out to Longboat Key,” Huston says. “They’d do anything for you.”
FIVE Things You Didn’t Know ...
• Betty Huston has lived in Twin Shores for 22 years
• Huston and her husband, Raymond, met at a party during World War II and were married in July 1943.
• Huston loves to read books. She gets them from the Twin Shores library, and whenever she buys one, she always donates it after reading it.
• Huston was active in the VFW Auxiliary and was the district president in the late ’60s. She traveled all over the nation for conventions.
• Huston has made many hand-knit or crocheted items such as throws, coasters and flower bouquets.