Sunday, January 3, 2010

Florida Thoughts

It was 36 below zero this morning.. just another chilly day in the state of FROZEN. If you are dressed in layers, and resemble a polar bear..you will survive. Have you ever been so cold that your tears freeze on your face, so cold that you can't feel your fingers anymore, and your feet feel like chunks of wood, heavy and cumbersome? You shiver, but shivering is good because because it generates heat. When you are so cold that you stop shivering..you have a big problem. If you look all glamorous in a skirt and some fancy boots with heels you are gonna be sorry if you car stalls today. Luckily anyone that lives in Minnesota will have a heart today..and stop for your sorry frozen butt.

Ah Florida..how I miss your oranges...and your warmth. Far Guy was stationed at MacDill AFB back in 1973, MacDill is in Tampa..we spent a fair amount of time at Clearwater Beach. Disney World had recently opened..we made trips over there to Orlando when we could afford it. I worked at the Base Day Care Center usually in the toddler room..children aged 2 to 5...sometimes I also worked in the Nursery..lotza babies. Trica was just little..she was one. It was cheaper for me to hire a nanny to take care of her..so I did. A young gal and her husband Frankie who was an Air Force Fire Fighter lived across the street from us, her name was Kathy and she was from Tennessee. She was a wonderful mentor..and taught this northern gal all about preparing for hurricanes. They had a little girl almost the same age as Trica ..her name was Tina..Trica called her Tee Wee. Kathy would tote the two little girls around..her husband worked 24 on and 24 off so on days when he was home sleeping she would camp out at our place..she also took care of our dog "Snuffer" and the four little pups that appreared after a secret rendevous with a neighbor dog..must have been a quickie.

Trica named those pups.. Flower who she called Flowie, Blackie, Brownie and Fatty. She was just little, I thought she did wonderful with the original names! Flowie and Fatty went to homes with children, they were raised under my gentle hand..but also with the hugs and kisses of a one year old..so they were not afraid of children. Blackie became "Baby Snuffer" and when she was old enough to be put on an airplane she made the trip to Louisville and became Far Guys Sisters dog. She was a marvelous little pup and looked exactly like Toto in the Wizard of Oz.. she lived a long and pampered life in Indiana. Far Guy gave away Brownie one day when I was at work. He just knew I was going to keep that pup for myself. Wouldn't you know it..an elderly gentleman just happened to come by one afternoon and he was lonely after his old faithful dog died. Well..it was a good sob story..but it didn't stop me from bawling, and I was pretty ticked off too.

June 1973 we were on leave between Lowry AFB and MacDill AFB, this was taken at my parents farm in front of the picture tree.

I went to work in Florida because we bought a new car a 1973 Gremlin..white..but we couldn't go very far..because there was a gas shortage that year. The rest of the country may have been fine..but I waited in line that year (winter of 1974) for gas..sometimes for hours. The car payment was sixty dollars a month. Not much by today's standards..but back then it was quite a chunk of change.

Florida was better than Germany..that was where he was supposed to go..back then you could trade assignments...within your specialty..remember me telling you how brilliant the Armed Services are..and remember they would have issued my husband a wife, child and dog if they had wanted him to have them. Germany..and yes we could go..but we would have to pay for it ourselves..I would have to live someplace and save up for the trip..the dog would have had to go into quarantine for six months ..Far Guy traded with a friend who was single he wanted to go overseas but he got MacDill. ( The powers that be are all idiots! ) The next day we could have had Mountain Home, Idaho and 100 dollars.. life is just not fair sometimes. But Florida was better than Germany..but not as much fun as Mountain Home. We loved the mountains when we were stationed in Colorado.


Far Guy took part in a program called Palace Chase..it took active duty people and put them in The Air National Guard for a six year commitment.. so he joined up and picked Hector Field in Fargo, ND as his base. Thus began a career that spanned twenty six years (1972 to 1998) . In essence I was a single parent..never knowing where he was going or when he would be back. Every chance I got, the girls and I would go south to Florida or Mississippi where he was TDY ( temporary duty).

When Far Guy was retired from The Air Guard in 1998, we began building here where we live now. We had to clear the land of trees and carve out a spot for the Greenhouse business..we bought a camper..let me tell you living in a camper in Minnesota really sucks in the winter..we escaped to Florida (Tyndall AFB, Panama City Florida with twelve miles of private beach) for the worst months.. Far Guy absolutely hated being in Florida..I absolutely loved it.. we made a deal..we would build a small tiny little house and we would live six months in Minnesota and six months in Florida..it was a great plan..except we built a much larger house than we needed in Minnesota..so we are stuck here.. actually Far Guy said that I could go to Florida anytime I want..but I wouldn't leave him behind..or would I? Mornings like this make me wonder:)

Jeanne asked me yesterday about the time we spent in Florida..thanks for the nudge to write about it!  If you haven't visited The Raisin Chronicles..now is your chance!

19 comments:

  1. I don't know what cold is at 17 degrees. I bet you would not even wear a coat.

    Thank you, Far Guy, for serving.

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  2. Long ago I lived in Flint where it got really cold sometimes. I remember my tears freezing on my cheeks, and I remember a time when we had snow above the cars! We dug tunnels through the snow and had a great time, but I was young then. I like this Pacific Northwest rain, thank you very much!

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  3. I didn't know you lived so many places. I've always lived within an hour of where I was born, except for a few months in the cities when I was a tiny baby, of course I don't remember those months. I had a puppy when I was a little girl and I named her Flower too.

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  4. I love the short skirt you're wearing in the '73 photo. I wore them, too, although my mother was very disapproving. I can see how you'd want to escape 36 below... it was about 4 above when we went out for breakfast here. We kinda thought everyone would be cocooning, but there was traffic everywhere!

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  5. This was so interesting learning about the previous places you have lived. It must have been hard being so far apart from Far Guy during those times. A wife on their own sure had to learn to handle a lot of things plus a be a mom, and jack of all trades too.

    I've never lived in Florida but I have vacationed there many times. I really miss it when the weather is like this. I wrote about your Minnesota cold temps on my blog yesterday. The only good thing about the cold that I know is it makes good snuggling weather.

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  6. I'vr been yearning for a couple of weeks in Arizona, but it's not nearly as cold here as what you have. Happy New Year.

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  7. Going between Florida and Minnesota sounds ideal! -- but think of all the things you wouldn't get done because you would be too busy and not hibernating indoors!

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  8. Here in Michigan my tears have frozen many times. Never sure if it's funny or sad. 1973...what a year. I had a new baby and a 7 yr. old.... gas lines were long and frustrating. Lucky for us, our neighborhood gas station (remember those, they knew your name, pumped gas and washed windows) owner was a wonderful man who always called me during the day when the line was shorter to come and fill up whatever car was in need. Usually it was my husbands car. He worked about 40 miles one way from our house and drove a '70 Ford Maverick. My car was a '66 Olds...he needed gas a lot more often than I did. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. HH

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  9. Florida is complaining because they are 50 degrees and the wind chills are bad, yes, right!!! This cold is so painful and doesn't look like will be leaving for awhile. The lives different people live are so interesting. I was living in Sidney, Iowa in 73, a rodeo town almost in Neb. and almost in Missouri. That was like living in a foreign country with the cowboy hats and all. Stayed there four years as a beginning teacher.
    I liked your blog as it was very interesting.

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  10. Oh, so cold I can not imagine it being that cold! I think my eyeballs would freeze. I sound like a such a wimp but living in the south and south west all my life 50's during the day is really cold.
    In 73 and 74 the lines were so long and remember odd and even numbers on the tags were the days when you could buy gas! At least that's the way it was in Texas.

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  11. My daughter lives in Madeira Beach, Florida and she used to live in Largo.We have been to Clearwater Beach and Panama City before..too...love Florida too, but my hubby won't move either. I must admit that I LOVE living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from April thru October but would love to be able to leave from Oct. to April 1..he doesn't want to leave that long and we actually couldn't afford to for that long unless we downsized from our present house. For now, one or two one week trips to the tropics is all we can do..but I will take that! It has been cold here too, but not as cold as you guys are getting!

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  12. It has been cold. I measure how bad it is by how stiff the barn doors are to slide open. I broke down and bought hand warmers that I've been using the past couple days while I clean stalls and fill buckets.

    Interesting story. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  13. Wistful memories of warmer days.....

    Sounds like a wonderful place to live, and of course you know that I am talking about Florida.

    Jen

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  14. Wonderful story! I lived in Bradenton, Florida, for several years. Hated the bugs! :) The weekend we picked up the new puppy (Higgins) we drove out to Tim's uncle's farm in Mountain Home, ID and spent a wonderful day there. I remember thinking how nice it would be to find jobs there and just GO! Small world, Connie. :)

    The Duchess

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  15. ah, you got deeper cold than we did. i think the coldest it got here was 14 below. the boys seem to love it, though, as long as we don't stay out too long.

    i've only been to florida once, and that was in november, which was a great time to be there. july, not so much.

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  16. 36 below zero?? Here is sit by my fireplace just procrastinating puttin' on the Carhartts (a real fashion statement for sure) and doin' my chores at zero this morn. I guess it's not that cold, huh?

    Oh the places you have been....thanks so much for sharing. I truly enjoyed the read once again!

    God bless your day full of the warmth of a flickering fire and hot chocolate!!!

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  17. Now thats cold and I'm chilly in L.A. today and its 50, going up tp a balmy 70. Its amazing that while class a uniforms in the military have not changed much in 35 years, our civiaalian clothes have changes drastically. That red dress thingy is classic, I may have to post one in my disco duds from 73' but then I was 8 at the time..:-)

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  18. I really enjoyed this little bit of your history.

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  19. Enjoyed this peak into your early married life. What fun it must have been to live in some place so different. I think it would make me crave oranges more than I already do too. Gremlins and the gas crisis (the first one) what memories!

    Interesting note, my mom's parents moved to Mountain Home, Idaho after she left for the coast and a teaching job. They lived there until they died, well when I was in junior high they started the snow bird thing between there and Mesa, Arizona.

    When I was a baby no one could agree on a name, youngest of six, my siblings knew every name known to man and didn't like the girl who had it. Well, I finally got my name after a week of coming home nameless. My grandmother called and told my mom about a pretty baby girl that they stood up for (baptism) because the Air Force families usually didn't have someone they knew close by, my grandparents would do that sort of thing for the young folks, anyway, her name was Leigh Anne. Well that's how I fantasize how her name was spelled, but when my mom asked her mother how the family spelled it my grandma Pape couldn't remember, "just spell it like it sounds I guess," was her answer. Lee, being one of my grandfather's name, became the way they spelled it and Ann just followed as plain as the fore.

    Well heck, that was a long comment eh? You just bring it out in me I guess. I like coming here and reading all your stories. I'm just glad Dirt and Anna are cooking dinner tonight so I can read all twenty-five of your posts that I am behind on!

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie