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Florida, As We’ve Known It…

In Florida, the memories of past happenings often get overcome with current trends. The most amazing thing about Florida, now, is everywhere you look, the earth is being sold, built on, and occupied with giant condos, houses, and apartment buildings. We hold our breaths to learn “what’s next?” Many residents who have been here for years cannot get excited about such plans. Like everything else, our Florida is up for changing.

The latest occurrences have been two damaging hurricanes. Daytona Beach Shores, that has come through so many hurricanes unscathed, was overwhelmed during the experiences of Nicole by the ocean—when the wind was strong and the water already high from the earlier hurricane Ian. Some of the seawalls were left standing while the ocean sped beyond them and washed out half the grounds of some of the motels. Major damage was done all along the coast.

Hard to imagine how often a memory appears in your thoughts and brings back special happenings half a lifetime later.
In the early years of raising a family, we felt so strongly about upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Planning, decorating, enjoying the seasons were the most important times of the years. The ideas and plans seemed to automatically be passed down to the next generation—and the next.

When Mom and Dad and four growing youngsters moved to Florida, the children found the place very intriguing. Nowhere else in their travels had they experienced the sight of tall white birds flocking on a spot of grass to enjoy their breakfasts together—or a series of large turkeys comfortably running around as if Thanksgiving meant nothing to them.

For the new family in Florida, Thanksgiving Day was different and exciting. Imagine having dinner in a motel unit or on a carport. Those two locations became the norm in those days. The first year was to be at the family’s motel business, dining on long tables set up to stretch across two rooms of their motel home, to accommodate about twenty members of family. Outside the sun was shining brightly (it didn’t rain) and chances of going swimming in the ocean later were quite possible.

For years after that, when settled in a home with a double carport, the carport became a perfect setting for a large family holiday dinner.

Now, the holidays and a colder than average winter, in 2023, we will seek to bring our beautiful place and its people back up to the great state we have always known as Florida.

Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.