Growing Up in Masaryktown

Lydia Dodson, Special to Hernando Sun

My parents; Christina and Paul Kovarcik moved to Masaryktown in 1951. Upon their arrival they stayed in the Wagon Wheel Motor Court in Masaryktown. They loved the water here (the best in the state) and decided to purchase the Motor Court in 1951.

At the time the Court consisted of 6 stand alone units and was only open during the winter months. I was born a year later in 1952, and at that time the decided to change the name of the Court to the Wagon Wheel Motel, until they discovered another Motel in Pasco County was already using the Wagon Wheel name, so they finally settled on the Kovarcik Motel.

My father was 63 years old when they decided to expand the units and I vividly recall him carrying a block in each hand as he labored daily all by himself to construct the additional units and get ready for the upcoming tourist season.

My mother was awarded a contract through the U.S. Postal Service and became the Post Master of Masaryktown, a position she occupied for 23 years. My parents utilized Cabin No. 1 as the Rural Station, and I remember sitting in the back behind the P.O. Boxes and coloring in my storybooks as my mother assisted the customers. I can recall many of the customers driving from as far away as Clearwater just to mail their packages to Europe with the Masaryktown postage stamp affixed to the packages.

In those days, the Community Hall was extremely active with Little League Games, Town Meetings, Halloween Contests, Community Dinners and the like. I recall my Mother always made my Halloween costume, sometimes spending hours making the outfits much to my benefit, as I most always won the contest. In the late 50’s, I entered the Hula Hoop contest held at the Hall and was awarded a brand new Silver Dollar. Silver Dollars were the awards of choice almost all of the time for the children’s contests.

Masaryktown was a quiet and safe community to grow up in, as my friends and I use to ride our bikes throughout the town until dark and our parents never worried about or safety. After all, everyone knew everyone. I started my first business at an early age by using our front porch which was nearly forty feet long as a skating rink. I charged the other kids in the neighborhood five cents apiece to skate on it.

Being physically in shape was important to our community, as the Community Center held regular Sokol Gymnastics Classes, which most of the children participated in, such as calisthenics, parallel bars, rings, balance beam, etc. I remember winning a gold medal when our Sokol group competed against other Sokol camps from Tampa and Miami. I belonged to the 4-H Club which met at the Community Hall. At a very early age, I began dancing in the Community’s traditional folk dancing group known as the Beseda Dancers, which performed traditional Czechoslovakian dances. I had a wonderful time growing up in Masaryktown, and I will cherish the memories always.

Lydia Kovarcik Dodson is retired after 39 years working for the U.S. Postal Service and is active as a volunteer for the Weeki Wachee State Park.

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