Vic Lives On…Forever

vicStrange things happen.

My first husband was a man named Vic Latham and he lived in Key West. He was a huge, legendary kind of man who takes up too much space in the room. He drank, ate, snorted and smoked more than five men on a full moon night.  If they made a movie about Vic they would have to dig up Cecil D Demille to direct the damn thing. That’s how big he was.

He was more than twenty years  older than I and I was his fifth wife. (I was young and didn’t  think four previous wives was a bad sign for a marriage.) vic and I had two “first meetings”.

The second introduction occurred when my brother, Granger was getting ready to go to prison.   I had to take care of some shady business in the Florida Keys, for him while he was away.  I was in college at the time, semi innocent and dedicated, no, devoted, to my brother Granger.  He introduced me to Vic, who was one of the owners of a famous late night bar called the Full Moon Saloon (aka The Full Spoon Saloon). He asked  Vic to ‘keep an eye on me” while he was behind bars.

Vic fell in love with me. Hard.  I fell in love with Key West, the famous people who hung out at his house, the appearance of money and a rambunctious wildness, I fell in love with his charm, his stories and being completely adored.

After Vic and I had been dating for six months or so I suddenly remembered a picture, from a vacation my mom, dad and I took when I was a very little girl.  I called my mom and asked her to dig up the artifact. And she did. And it was so spooky I was nearly speechless for an hour.

My mother, father and I had visited Key West when I was eight years old. We ate lunch at a elegant bistro  called Louies’ Backyard. It was a beautiful old house on the ocean.  In the picture I’m wearing a blue Holly Hobbit smock shirt and eating steak tartar. My daddy is next to me with a bloody mary and smoking a cigarette.  The manager of Louies’ Backyard is standing between us staring directly at the camera with black eyes and a black goatee  He’s very tall, handsome and dangerous looking. And he’s the only one looking at the camera. It was Vic. He’d taken care of us that afternoon and he posed when my mother asked to take our picture.

For years Vic joked my father would have shot him right there had he known what would happen years later.

Obviously Vic and I were meant to be together. Fate was busy orchestrating our meeting and marriage because Jack and Mary were born, two of the most inexplicably magical, talented and extraordinary people on the planet. They are so much like Vic and so much like me. And they will change the world.

Vic died yesterday, Easter. But he lives on.

22 thoughts on “Vic Lives On…Forever”

  1. He was an immense figure, bigger than life, a perfect Key West Local with a capital “L”. We all loved his stories, the taller the tale, the better. Bar stories are the best kind and he loved hearing them as much as sharing. He held forth in that culture, The Full Moon Saloon where he on one side of the bar and all the rest of us on the other all together would enjoy a wild tale, what he called “a good lie”. He and Courtney are together again, with their southern charm and sharing “good lies” to keep each other – and all in attendance – satisfied. Cheers.

  2. I usually refer to myself as “after Suzy and before Becky”. I was a young girl and he was fascinating- I Loved Him. I still think the movie should open with Howard Paul walking out to sea with the rope around his neck, and the concrete block attached. I can hear Vic laugh right now. Sending my Blessings to you. DZ

  3. I met Vic only once. He was managing the Sheraton in Key Largo back in 1993.I was on my honeymoon and Vic told me stories of the real Key West back in the 70’s. He made a huge impression, so much so that I asked to friend him explaining how I met him by chance in 93.He friended me on FB and anytime I asked him a question about the old KW days he would answer. God Bless You Mr. Latham and RIP!

  4. my thoughts and prayers are with you . i worked with vic at broken arrow golf club in lockport. i will always treasure his friendship and of course the stories. may you find comfort knowing vic is now at peace and having a wonderful reunion with all his friends and family in heaven

  5. So sorry to hear. I worked for Vic, Jim and Sid at the Full Moon back in the day and met friends that I still hold dear. So many fun stories… I did get to talk to him on the phone a couple months ago and we shared a few more laughs. So glad now.

  6. Vic was one of my dearest friends. I spent twenty years in the Keys (Big Pine area) He even sold my house after I snuck away to Mexico in 1990.

    We enjoyed the wild times of the 70s to 90s in the Keys…………..

    I have nothing but huge appreciation, love and respect for Vic…………

  7. Nobody had more great stories than Vic. I remember one late night at the Moon on United street. Jimmy Buffet had come back for a while, he was there, me and Shelly, who I’m still married to, and of course Vic.Jimmy was smashed, singing and getting real with Vic. We just sat back and watched, amazed. More than any other Bartender, Vic is who I remember from my 10 years of conch living.

    1. So sorry to hear of Vic’s passing. He and Buddy were always my favorite bartenders at The Full Moon Saloon. I cut my teeth on many new things (and people) at that bar. Real coming of age for a little blonde from Charleston. Hello to Frisco Bob and best wishes. I do apologize for vandalizing your tee shirt collection the night you started dating Shelley. The up side of that is it probably brought you two much closer together but I digress. I miss my Key West days and all my Key West friends and ESPECIALLY The Full Moon Saloon. Aloha, Carroll

  8. I remember Vic as those were my Key West Years.
    Great Guy Great Fish Sandwich..Sorry for your loss

  9. Diana,
    I’m so sorry for your loss! I love Vic stories! When we were little visits with Uncle Vic were never dull. Granky (Mary) loved to talk about Uncle Vic and his adventures! She loved her visits to Key West. Please know that y’all are in my constant thoughts and prayers!

  10. Diana, I’m so sorry to learn of his passing, sorry for Jack & Mary, sorry for the end of an era. Any time you’ve mentioned him, I think of Hemmingway and the larger-than-life persona he must have been. Sending love, and lifting prayers for peace in your collective hearts +

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