Miami Stories

Miami Stories are tidbits of life in the Magic City and its surroundings. To submit your story and photos, click here.

Your submission may be aired on WLRN 91.3 FM/91.5 FM, posted on, published in the Herald's Neighbors section's Sunday edition, and archived at

This project is a partnership among HistoryMiami, WLRN, the Miami Herald Media Company and Michael Weiser, chairman of the National Conference on Citizenship.

Photo provided to the Miami Herald

My Miami story begins in the late 1940s with my birth at Christian Hospital in Overtown. Six years later, my identical twin brothers were born at Mount Sinai Hospital. Things do change. The twins have always called me “Doll.” They couldn’t pronounce my name. Since I had so many dolls, that name made sense.

I can remember when a milkman would deliver milk to your home. Before my time, an iceman delivered ice for the ice box (refrigerator). Recently, my 10-year-old grandson asked me, “Grandma, what is a telephone?” He knows phone, but he was clueless about a telephone!


Rene Gueits was born and raised in Miami and grew up listening and dancing to salsa music at family parties. Much like his family, he is a gifted dancer. 

In 1992, when he was 24 years old, Gueits was looking for part-time work and saw a newspaper ad for a salsa instructor. He thought he would be perfect since he considered himself a great dancer, but he did not realize he would be working at a ballroom studio.


Alvin Lee is the leader of the sacred steel ensemble, The Lee Boys. He is a vocalist and guitarist for the band, although he can play a variety of instruments and was originally a bassist. Alvin grew up listening to sacred steel music in the House of God Church in Perrine, FL where his father was the pastor. He and his brothers all learned to play different instruments and performed regularly in church services.  

Rocky Jim Jr. has been an alligator wrestler for over 31 years. He learned from his father, Rocky Jim Sr., and comes from a family of alligator wrestlers: his grandfather, Bobby Tiger and his uncles, Bo Jim and Elvis “Tippy” Cypress. 

Rocky dropped out of school when he was in the 6th grade and began working maintenance jobs with his father. He later worked in his brother’s workshop, and eventually began working as a handyman at the reservation. 

What Would You Miss If You Left Miami?

Dec 29, 2016

For some South Floridians, living within the boundaries of the 305 means being immersed in a mezcla of culture and an abundance of Central and South American and Caribbean cuisines. 

Doree Fromberg


This story, as told by Dr.Richard Epstein and Dr. Gil Epstein, is part of an oral history series.

Every mother who wanted to buy her daughter a stunning dress will remember the name Dorissa of Miami.

This is the story of our mother, Doree Fromberg, a girl who won a scholarship to attend the New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) after graduating high school, began designing and sewing dresses in her home in Miami and developed the business into an international company.



It feels like a high-speed chase west on the ironically named Dolphin Expressway, veering south on what follows as a seamless string of highway on the "Palmetto," the Don Shula Expressway and the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, all certifiable assaults on the nervous system.

Working At The Airport Becomes Sociology Lesson

Jun 19, 2015
Heidi Anthony


This story, as told by Heidi Anthony, is part of an oral history series.

I started working at Miami International Airport in 1988. My mind was young and impressionable and clueless.

Miami Theater Brings A Lifetime Of Inspiration

Mar 29, 2015


This story, as told by Veronica Diaz, is part of an oral history series.

Let’s set the scene: It’s early 2004, and my mother is taking my younger sister and me to go watch Cats: The Musical at what was then known as Jackie Gleason Theater on Miami Beach.

MiamiStories: Up In Smoke

Nov 24, 2014

This story, as told by Oscar Fuentes, is part of an oral history series.

It was the summer of 2003; I was living in a very old and ugly apartment building between Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 2nd Avenue, off of 33rd Street. I had a bitter, mentally unstable landlord that walked around with a concealed weapon. I had a part-time gig at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, now HistoryMiami. I would give guided tours of the permanent galleries and write historical theater scripts for their summer camp program.

A Cuban Rafter Looks Back, 20 Years Later

Aug 14, 2014
the Miami Herald

This story, as told by Pedro Fournier, is part of an oral history series.

I was born in Guantánamo in 1956. I moved to Havana as a teenager to study and ultimately graduated with a math degree. In 1994, I decided take a raft to the United States. 

I had to leave Cuba. I had no future there.

This story, as told by Olga Perez-Cormier, is part of an oral history series. 

It was always exciting when Abuela would tell me that she needed to go downtown for the day. This meant she had business to attend to at “El Refugio,” the Cuban Assistance Center. This also meant that we would do a little shopping. As a reward for helping her translate and get around, she would treat me to lunch at McCrory’s.

A Miami Story: The Litzes Take Miami

Jun 4, 2014

This story, as told by Ronni Litz Julien, is part of an oral history series. 

Sheila Presser (Bronx-born) and Norman Litz (a Philadelphian) both moved to Florida with their families in 1946. 

Sheila graduated from South Broward High School, named “wittiest” in her senior class.  Norman graduated from Miami High School, a left-handed star pitcher on the baseball team; he was also known as “Lefty Litz.”  Upon graduation, the University of Miami offered Norman a baseball scholarship; he pitched for two years as a Miami Hurricane. 

For 89 Years, A Charmed Life In Miami

Apr 25, 2014

Miami Stories is a project by WLRN, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and HistoryMiami. To share your story, click here.

In 1925, my parents and I disembarked in Miami after a three-day train trip from Chicago, and went to stay at a cottage surrounded by a grapefruit grove that belonged to my mother’s aunt. I was three years old, and it marked the beginning of my nearly nine-decade-long adventure in South Florida.

Police Chief Recalls Immigrating To Miami

Apr 8, 2014

This story, as told by Ian Moffett, is part of an oral history series. 

I was born in Georgetown, Guyana, which is the only English-speaking country in South America. At the age of 6, my parents migrated to Toronto, Canada.  

I remember my love for police work came from that tall police officer who visited my third grade classroom for career day. His uniform and command presence stood out the most and left a visual imprint or what I refer to as a personal vision.