Arrests, drinking, sleeping on the beach — spring break half a century ago sounds familiar

With all the stories about the traffic nightmares and generally debauchery going on in South Florida during spring break, we had a nagging suspicion that the very same folks who are complaining now were the ones causing the complaints a few decades ago. So, we asked readers to share their spring break memories.

We were expecting a lot of strange tales from the Golden Age of Spring Break, those crazy mid-1980s years that have reached legendary infamy. But we actually received a lot of emails from folks who participated in what you could call the Classical Age of Spring Break — the post-“Where the Boys Are” 1960s. Nevertheless, our theory has been largely confirmed. We can’t say that the people doing the complaining now are the same ones who caused the complaints years ago — we’re certainly not accusing our readers of hypocrisy. But what we can say is that crazy spring break stories seem to go hand in hand with young people seeking sun and fun, regardless of the era.

Reader Jim Adelman came to Fort Lauderdale for spring break the year before and after “Where the Boys Are” came out, and found a very different crowd in 1962, following the movie’s release.

“The publicity seemed to have attracted a very different mix of kids with a different agenda. Numerous fights broke out in contrast to our previous visit, when we never saw one serious altercation,” Adelman wrote. “We decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and did our best to stay clear of spontaneous riots and focus on the positives, which included visits to the beach and the Elbo Room.”

“Several of my coworkers (we were cocktail servers at a New Jersey hotspot called Savannahs) had opted to fly to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break,” wrote reader Lin Materia, who recalled “the fire alarms constantly going off in the hotel. Being my first Spring Break, I did not know they were false alarms. I grabbed my purse and walked down several flights of stairs barefoot. When I got to the lobby, I was scolded for being barefoot, and they didn’t want to let me back in my room without my key. We did have a great time all in all. Now I reside permanently here in South Florida.”

Bottom line: If you find fault in the traffic, the rowdiness, the sunburns and shots and carrying on, just know that it’s not kids these days. It’s just kids, no time setting needed.

And for everyone coming down for spring break now, just know that your parents and grandparents did the same thing, and were probably even worse-off than you., 954-356-4605 or Twitter @Daniel_Sweeney