It seems that Florida keeps drawing me back. Am I going to be one of those Florida snowbirds someday??? Florida’s not the worst place to be, but I hope it’s Arizona instead.

My Dad was an adventurer (maybe this is where I get it from), and moved us to Florida from Pennsylvania when we were growing up. Not once….but twice! The first time was in 1976. I’m not sure why we moved back to Pennsylvania, but we lived in two places in Florida during that period…Clermont (orange groves, alligators, and fire ants) and Kissimmee (strawberry crepes at the A-Train restaurant, the Angus steak house, root beer, and a tornado). I’ve been back to Kissimmee several times, and it has changed greatly. I heard recently that the orange groves are now gone in Clermont, and it’s all tract housing.

These were good times. As children, my siblings and I enjoyed the new surroundings, new discoveries, and making new friends. We had no clue what it took to relocate a family of six. This relocation to Florida lasted about a year.

After two years back in Pennsylvania, Mom and Dad made the move to Florida again in 1979. Mom loved Florida. She thought the people were so friendly, and still talks about it today. She especially liked it when you went through the grocery checkout with baking supplies, and they asked you what you were making. On this second go-round, we started in Fort Lauderdale, where my parents were helping to get a hotel/restaurant off the ground for new management. It didn’t go as planned, and a couple of months later, we moved to Kissimmee again. We were there a few months before moving back to Pennsylvania, which I still call home.

When we moved back to Pennsylvania this time, I met Betty Jean, who would be my best friend for the next few years. Back in those days, you really only had *one* best friend. The new tradition is to have several, which is fine with me. We are still besties. And get this…Betty Jean has connections to Florida, too. Her grandmother moved there from Pennsylvania, and Betty Jean has now moved there as well. We’ve been blessed to have several opportunities to visit together there.

My job even draws me to Florida. In the last 3 years, I’ve worked with three separate, distinct clients in Florida. I have been blessed with meeting many wonderful people on these projects, and now have several more good friends in the Sunshine State. My brother came to visit during my first project in Tampa. He spent a lot of time fishing (one of our favorite pasttimes when we lived in Florida), and we traveled to Titusville and Cape Canaveral to visit with our Uncle and Aunt, and to see the space shuttle Endeavor launch. I have since discovered that both of my brothers have dreams of moving back to the state.

My family took one road trip together, the only family vacation that we experienced together, from Pennsylvania to Florida in 1993. Mom was going to the Chef’s Convention, and all six of us (Mom, Dad, and the 4 siblings) rented a passenger van for the trip. I have since traveled to Florida for 2 more chef’s conventions. Oh, then there was the year that my daughter was in the Junior Olympics, competing in trampoline….in Florida.

I don’t think the state calls me strongly enough for me to make a move there, but I truly enjoy visiting and having this state play a significant role in my life.

2 Comments on Florida’s calling me

  1. Mary says:

    Faye – I went to two different schools during my time in Kissimmee. I don’t remember the names, but recall that the middle school was a round building with “pods” of classes…three teachers in a large classroom, with three groups of students that would rotate between the three classes (english, science, math, if I remember correctly). The most distinct difference in schools in PA vs. FL is that the Florida schools I attended did not have indoor hallways…you walked outside to change classes.

    Ironically, I just got back from another trip to Florida. 🙂

  2. Faye says:

    When you lived in Kissimmee, did you attend school there? If so, which one? I lived there from 1970 till 1979, then again from 1983 to 1985.

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