Thursday, June 10, 2021

Visiting Old Florida

My maternal grandparents were hard-working Ohio farmers. It was rare that they ever traveled more than a few miles from home. However, in 1959 my parents convinced them to leave the farm and animals in the care of two of their children, and travel by car with my parents to Florida. 

When I came across a cardboard box of Florida memorabilia in our grandparents home, I claimed it, brought it home with me, and have been marveling at what my parents and grandparents did and saw. Many of the places are not far from where I live now!

They drove to and from Florida mostly along highway 301. There was no Interstate 75 cutting north-south through the state. After finding a small bar of soap from a motel in Gainesville, Georgia, I could see that their route to Florida avoided Atlanta, like we try to do when we're traveling!

Of course, there was the standard must-keeps - a bag of moss, seashells, and a bottle of Orange Blossom perfume that cost 75¢. The moss and seashells have been tossed.

Brochures reveal that they visited Silver Springs in Ocala; Cypress Gardens (current home of Legoland);  attended a Passion Play and heard the Singing Tower - Bok Tower (where we celebrated my birthday in March!) in Lake Wales; and the Seaquarium in Miami.  

I'm really curious about this place in Ocala: "Uranium Valley and Caves." 

Ticket stubs are from Silver Springs, and Ross Allen's Reptile Institute. Who wouldn't want to see 'gators for $1.15? 

In the Silver Springs souvenir book is a picture of swimming in Silver Springs, in 72℉ water. This doesn't exist anymore.

A little 15¢ box of photos was interesting. 

Black and white pictures are of Silver Springs (that famous arched palm) and a Stuckey's in Belleview. 

My uncle traveled to Florida before my grandparents did, so it's possible he visited Bok Tower earlier, in 1956. 

He would have been there, to hear the bells, on my birthday. 

Forty-five color postcards show the tourist attractions and sites of Florida in the mid-1950s.

These four postcards were jumbo-sized, so they must have been favorite places. 
Top L-R: Cypress Gardens, and Bok Tower
Botton L-R: Miami, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the Keys.

This alligator is a nut cracker.

And someone liked Cracker Jacks. 😁 

This is the only picture I have of them in Florida. L-R: my Mother, Grampa and Grandma. Looks like they're at Cypress Gardens. My dad took the picture.

It's nice to have these things (and more that I didn't share) that give me pause to think about how times have changed... and not changed. Generations of people vacation in Florida, and knowing that my ancestors did, makes me feel good.

Book Recommendation
Another great listen! This title was recommended by a line dancing buddy, Judy. 

Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff is a charming tale that came, for me, at just the right time because it made me recall times spent with my grandparents.

"Fish" (Fischer) spends time with his grampa in this story about Fish and "Bread" (Dale Breadwin) who are two young boys growing up together in Wisconsin. Bread's dad is abusive, so when Fish sees him beating on Bread, Fish shoots and the boys run. Two fatherless boys take off cross-country, encounter the wilds and its perils. Chasing the boys are four adults: Fish's grampa; Fish's mom; Sheriff Cal; and Tiffany who works at the local gas station. But more danger awaits the boys than any of them realize. 

I found this story captivating with nice visual imagery of wildlife, forests, marsh, meadows, river, and stars.  Linda's score: 4.4/5.0



  1. Oh my goodness. How exciting to find those treasures.

  2. I love your treasures, Linda. Oh my. The photo your daddy took is exceptionally memorable. 2 beautiful ladies.
    The treasures are such sweet memoriesπŸŸ‘πŸ€πŸ’πŸŒΌπŸŒŸ

  3. I remember taking my mom to Cypress Gardens in the late 80s. She often watched Day of Discovery on Sunday mornings, so it was fun for her to go see where it was filmed. You have some fun treasures and memorabilia. The photo of your grandparents and your mother is really fun to see!

  4. How wonderful, just like a time capsule.

  5. A lovely story Linda. So nice you have all this 'stuff' from your Grandparents lives.

  6. Great treasures and so neat to see so many places you're familiar with through their eyes.

  7. How fun to look through those old post cards and see the connection to where you live today. Who would have known. I have a collection of old post cards and find them fun to look at. Always think I'll use them in some mixed art but can't find the time to add another art form to my agenda. For that matter I'm finding it hard to keep up with the projects I already have in the works.

  8. What a treasure trove of memories Linda! It’s like mini museum of Florida at that time.

  9. What a find! How nice for you to be able to look through those and reminisce. Happy memories.

  10. That was fun! I visited Florida with my sister, mother, and grandmother in 1955. Unfortunately, one of my clearest memories is of seeing a chain gang at work near the road. Some things have changed for the better.

  11. Thanks for sharing! It brings back memories of the times I went to Florida. Love the gator nut cracker!

  12. Thank you for sharing these holiday souvenirs that now carry memories for you as well as a glimpse back in time.


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