Dan stayed in the CCC for the maximum time allowed, two years. During that time he worked in four camps around Florida as a cook. He figured that was the best way to be assured of a meal.
In the last days of 1936, he was “booted out,” as they called it when a recruit reached the end of his service. He traveled back to Rocky Creek to retrieve his savings of nearly $350 and visit the graves of his parents. He then returned to Florida by train along the Southern Railroad through Macon then down along the coast and into Jacksonville. Hiring was just starting for the winter season and he quickly found work at the Washington Hotel as a breakfast cook. After the winter season, he continued to follow the railroad south working over the next few years in hotels in Daytona, Palm Beach and Miami.
The Alcazar House, St. Augustine
New Year’s Day, 1940, Dan was working at a private brunch for Philip and Fina Davidson, owners of the Miami Beach’s Palms Court Hotel where he worked. Davidson asked Dan if he’d like to work at a guest house they’d bought in St. Augustine, called The Alvarez House. The idea of working in a small place and not a hotel, being well paid, having his own kitchen, and being out of the Miami heat in the summer was appealing, so he went.