Florida ~ Some memories and a 100-word essay
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.
- 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.
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.