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How the sailor and the island girl fell in love … a moment in time at Fugate’s celebrated

BY TONYA BRAMLAGE – In November of 2020, Gasparilla Magazine shared the story of local love birds John and Helen Brouwer with their readers. Theirs is truly a love at first sight classic tale if ever there was one. Sara Helen Sprott was the second youngest of seven Sprott daughters of the late Captain William C. and Anna L. Sprott. She was the assistant deputy collector of customs for the Port of Boca Grande in 1942. Ensign John LeFoy Brouwer arrived at the sea buoy entrance to Boca Grande Pass on Wednesday, April 22, 1942, and upon docking was granted shore liberty where he was relieved from his Naval duties. At the invitation of Captain Carey Johnson, Ensign Brouwer and Captain Thomas W. Nazro went for cocktails at Fugate’s Patio Bar.

Little did Helen and John know that fateful night while Frank Sinatra’s song, “Supposin’” played in the glow of the moonlight at the Patio Bar, that they would find one another. Embracing each other oh so close on the dance floor, the two began repeating the words of the song, “Supposin’ I should fall in love with you,” not knowing that moment would be marked in time  for every one of us here on Boca Grande. Throughout World War II, Fugate’s Patio Bar had been a popular gathering place for  island residents and visitors.

In celebration of this historical, local legendary, love story, the Boca Grande Historical Society is partnering with Fugate’s Patio Shop this February 14, 2021 from 3-5 pm to give you the rest of the “untold” story of Helen and John. Come and discover the history making arches, original tile entrance, and signature beverages that brought a chance meeting for the love of a lifetime.