WILL MORIATY RESPONDS:
Thanks for reading our on-line publication and my column La Floridiana.
I knew of Melvin B. Asp through my mother and through Helen Asp, who was Melvin's widow.
As I can recollect, Melvin B. Asp was either an adopted son of or very closely related in some manner to John and Mabel Ringling. I know that he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Force and possibly the commanding officer of MacDill Army Air Field (others credit him as being the Commander of Drew Army Air Field in Tampa). He commanded the USAAF's Twenty-Ninth Bombardment Group Heavy which was formed into the Forty-Fourth Bombardment Group Heavy by Brigidier General Tinker in 1941. He was involved in a crash of some type (I believe an air crash or a World War Two incident) that effectively ended his military career and left him disabled.
I lived in the Asp guest house in the summer of 1975. The Asp house is a Meditteranean Rivival house on Beachway Drive in the Culbreath Bayou section of Tampa (the Asp's sold the Culbreath's the land for that development) that was occupied by the Asp's from the time it was built until the time that Helen died, in, I believe, 1984 or 1985. Both the house and guest house still exist.
The most fascinating story I remember Helen recounting (Melvin had long since passed away by the time I met Helen in 1971. She had known my mother, however, for close to twenty or thirty years by then) was that of her and Melvin being whisked away on a gondola from the dock at the Ringling Estate's Ca d'Zan to their home on Beachway Drive in Tampa! And that was done on a routine basis!
How romantic and how different a life we led in this area all those years ago!
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