Bobby and Allison (Sandy's son and wife) enjoyed Sandy's birthday party!
Sandy opens a birthday present - a digital frame from her husband, Craig!
Laurelbrookites meet again after 40 years!! Most anyone who ever attended Laurelbrook knows Dena (left) as the best cook Laurelbrook ever had! Sandra (center) worked in the school kitchen with Dena in 1968; Linda (right) graduated Laurelbrook in 1969. Dena's sister, Janice, (front, center) graduated in 1965 (I think. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
My playmate, Susan, lived in this house at Avon Park, Florida in 1960. I have often wondered what happened to her. I'm so happy to have found this house again, but I imagined it as quite the mansion back when I was 8 years old!
The Lake at Avon Park where we lived a small children. I almost drowned in the lake near the spot of sand you see across the lake from where this picture was taken. Walker Memorial Hospital and the barracks also stood at the sandy edge of the lake.
"Boiled Peanuts Don't Fly Upsidedown"
My 5-day visit to Tampa is almost over and there's a lot to share - and much we shared!
Starting with Sandy's birthday party (pictured); Our visit with Laurelbrook friends, Dena and her sister, Janice and others (pictured); a reminiscent trip back to Avon Park, Florida where we lived almost 50 years ago (pictured). (It's where the Avon Park SDA Church is currently located). We went shopping at the LakeShore Mall in Sebring, Florida where we were adopted by grandma and grandpa Mascunana on June 29, 1962. We met up with Teresa Lucas at the mall. I was employed by Teresa at Teresa's Country Homes in Berrien Springs, Michigan for several years. (Whew a lot for one paragraph!) But, it's been a busy and surreal vacation.
Today Sandy and I got up early and drove to Avon Park from Tampa. We weren't sure we'd recognise the place where Walker Memorial Hospital once stood across the lake from the SDA church school where we enjoyed about one year of formal education before grandma whisked us off to Carver Creek, Missouri in 1960.
Nervously we peered at every lake we passed on the right-hand side of the road as we drove in the rain to Avon Park, but then we saw the little sign for the Avon Park SDA church and knew we were on the right track! We counted the years and decided it had been almost 50 years, so we could be forgiven for not remembering every detail!
What we found was a whole lot of sand where Walker Memorial Hospital and the army barracks we lived in, had once stood! (Sand pictured). We stopped at the next closest building that happened to be a walk-in clinic to ask if anyone remembered the army barracks. For a few moments, we wondered if that clinic had been the building we lived in, but we remembered it as being on the right-hand side of the hospital and not the left.
Anyway, as I waited for someone 'older' in the clinic to come out and talk to us, I noticed a 3-inch 'cock-roach' on the ceiling right above where a patient was sitting.
"This must have been it," I said to everyone in the room. "We used to have cock-roaches like that where we lived." Of course everybody jumped up, and the doctor came running out to get rid of the cock roach! But then he wouldn't talk to me, and we left to go ask someone else!
We got our information at the mall. An older man we asked said the hospital had been torn down about a year ago, but the army barracks had been torn down 'about 20 years ago". Guess Sandy and I were a few years too late!
Back at the Avon Park lake - The only part that hadn't changed very much - ...We were pleased to discover our favorite swimming holes (now full of alligators, we're sure), and to find the home of our friends where we used to go and play! You may recall in my book that I lost contact with my little playmate, Susan, (last name forgotten) when grandma left without letting us say good-bye to any of our friends. Today I took a picture of Susan's old house! What memories!!!!! (Click in and notice a little black dog in the window. I think Susan had a small dog! A coincidence?)
Well, there's alot more I'll write about including the great home cooked meal Dena made for us!!!! And the WOW deals we found shopping with Teresa in Sebring! But to keep this short enough for Sandy to read and not quite as long as my friend Floyd's web postings, I'll end with telling about the boiled peanuts.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that when I visit in Florida, I always look for boiled peanuts at the roadside fruit stands! Today on the way to Avon Park we noticed several, but one that boasted of "the best boiled peanuts in the county". We decided to stop in on the way back. When we arrived and I asked about the boiled peanuts the nice man said, "Not the best in the county, but the best in the state!" He offered to fix me up with some to take back to Ohio. "I'll sell you a gallon," the entrepreneur offered. And, how could I refuse!
Packing all those hot salty boiled peanuts in bags and securing them in a fruit box, he suggested that I put them in the carry-on luggage. He gave instructions for heating them up when I get back to Ohio and said as we waved good-bye, "Just don't fly upside down with them".
(To Hubby, Sheba and Ching-Ching. I miss you and I'll be home soon!)
Take Care On The Journey,