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Florida ~ Some memories and a 100-word essay

Updated on January 30, 2012
My dad a.k.a. Clark Griswold.
My dad a.k.a. Clark Griswold. | Source
We all posed by our favorite palm tree. I think his name was Fred.
We all posed by our favorite palm tree. I think his name was Fred. | Source
Welcome to Florida! Here's an orange!
Welcome to Florida! Here's an orange! | Source

When I was little, summer meant the beach to me. We would cram ourselves into the family station wagon and take off to Florida. My dad would drive straight through with the occasional bathroom stop, but other than that, he wanted to make good time and get to those little cottages we would stay in across from the beach. The place was called Elinor Village. I looked it up a couple years ago, but I don’t think it’s still there because I couldn’t find a listing.

I love watching the movie “Vacation” because Clark Griswold reminds me of my father. He wanted to see everything and make every moment special, but things usually happened - funny things and some not so funny things.

For example:

  • One year my brother left his Stretch Armstrong in the hot truck and when we got back in from shopping, ol’ Stretch was nothing but a mushy pile of goo. We played with him until he split open and stuff started oozing out. Mom took it away. We cried.
  • After being on the road for a long time and almost at our destination, my cousin decided to take off his shoes. We were late checking in to our hotel that day because we had to sit on the side of the road and let the truck air out. He was told to never take his shoes off again. I think he still sleeps in them.
  • My dad usually drove the entire time, but one night he got so tired that he let my uncle take a crack at it. Everybody was asleep, except uncle of course, when my dad wakes up and asks him where we are. He tells him we just passed into a town called “Hamburger”. Well, my dad had taken this route many times, and he knew there was no “Hamburger” in his directions. He checked the map and we were in Hamburg, Alabama. He had taken a wrong turn and we were in the wrong state! Poor Uncle never lived that one down. This story was brought out like cheap decorations every Christmas for many years after that.
  • I got a sunburn every year when we went to Florida. I have pale skin and I knew I would burn, but I just couldn’t stay out of the pool. One year I got in the pool around 10 a.m. Every so often, one of my family members would come by and tell me I was getting red. They came to get me for lunch. They came to get me for dinner. I didn’t go. I loved that pool. Needless to say, that night, after my shower, there wasn’t enough Noxema in the world to take away the pain. Big water blisters popped up on my arms and my brother drove his Hot Wheels over them the next day as we traveled to Disney World. I was miserable. Did I learn my lesson that year? No. I still whimper when I see those tiny little cars.

Those memories make me smile, and also make me miss Florida even more. I haven’t been since 2000 and I didn’t even go to the pool on that visit. I lost my bikini body when I was 4 so there was no point in showing off. I’ll get back some day, I know I will. I’ll get to enjoy some fun in the sun while sipping on my coconut daiquiri and wearing 4000 sunblock. I can just see it now.

Me and a palm tree.
Me and a palm tree. | Source
An alligator ate my sister!
An alligator ate my sister! | Source
My sister, my aunt, & me. Oh, and some random monkeys!
My sister, my aunt, & me. Oh, and some random monkeys! | Source

Florida, are you still there?

I miss Florida. I haven’t been there for a long time. I forgot what it smells like. I miss the hot sand and rhythmic surf. I reminisce about cute little bungalows and inviting blue swimming pools. I miss the souvenir shops that sell the tackiest items. Their motto must be: Anything is a souvenir as long as it has ‘Florida’ on it. I long for the days of Coppertone, flip-flops, and the sizzling sun. Quickly followed by burning flesh, chills, and Noxema. If I ever make it back to Florida again, I’ll need a hat and some 4000 sunblock.


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    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Mark, I'm glad I could bring back some memories for you! Thanks for the nice comment!

    • Mark Pitts profile image

      Mark Pitts 6 years ago from United States

      I grew up in North Central Florida, and spent a few years in the early 70's in a tourist town with a hundred or so clear water lakes everywhere. Florida is still there, the lakes are A LOT lower (too many people using the aquifer) but your Hub and memories make the memory for me even better. You are priceless.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      dancer lover: I've always wanted a house in Florida. A round or octagon house on stilts!

      Thanks for the comment!

    • dancer lover profile image

      dancer lover 6 years ago from 4411 billy bone crt louisville ky.

      My grandparents have a house down in Florida I only have been there 1time though.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      ThoughtSandwiches: haha! Hey, don't feel bad for my uncle, he did stuff like this all the time. He loved being the center of attention! He was probably disappointed when it wasn't brought up on a couple of Christmas visits!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Brett, I have a pretty good memory when it comes to the past, but most of the time I can't tell you what happened yesterday!

      Thank you for commenting and sharing!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Sunshine625, I actually have a big jar of Florida sand with tiny shells sitting on my desk right now. My nephew brought it back from Florida when he went last year. He's so sweet! Although, he did forget the sunshine!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Awesome slice of childhood! I feel bad for your uncle as I have a similar box of "cheap decorations" marked, Decatur, Michigan.

      Great Job!


    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Some lovely and funny memories of the area. Also like the pictures that you picked. I wish my memory was as vivid as your, but I struggle with last week! lol

      SOCIALLY SHARING and Tweeting.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      As a resident of Orlando, FL I appreciated your fun memories. I want to bottle up some sand and Florida sunshine and send it your way!

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 6 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      Have you visited your hub yet....I'm waiting

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eclectic....not so weird at all...I fell in love with New England when I saw an old movie about Connecticut with Bing Crosby...and then I moved to of luck to you!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Gypsy, I think you've got a lot farther to travel, but I've never been on a plane! You might just win this bet.

      To show you how television and movies have shaped and molded my mind(see comment to BillyBuc), I've wanted to visit the Catskills since I saw the movie "Dirty Dancing". I'm so impressionable!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      billybuc, I sure do miss Florida, but I've also wanted to visit Washington, too. I bet it's beautiful there! This sounds weird, but I've wanted to visit Washington since an episode of the X-Files.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed this one so much and it gave me some good chuckles.You miss Florida and I miss summers in the Catskills in New York State. When we're ready we can make a bet - don't forget that right now I live in Riga, Latvia - but anyway a bet of any ole' amount about who get where first - you to Florida or me to the Catskills - the starting point being our respective airports LOL

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love memories like that; thanks for sharing yours. Although I've never been to Florida I can still relate to the story.