Mar 25, 2011

Bradenton, FL: The Nesting of a Snow Bird

On this Flashback Friday, I am flashing back to 1983 specifically, but really to the whole '70/'80 years when my beloved Aunt Edna and Uncle Pete would winter in Florida with the famous "Snow Birds."  So many retirees wintering in FL and living back up north during the summer!  Retirement villages around Bradenton popped up everywhere.  Mobile homes, orange trees, three-wheeled bicycles (not a golf cart in sight) and shuffleboard.  Anyone remember those days?..... 

But what instantly took me back to this year, '83, was when I just now bit into a Cadbury Egg, which is making it's annual Easter appearance in retail stores.  I think the eggs had just been invented in the Spring of '83 and I went NUTS over them.  Aunt Edna and Uncle Pete stocked up their fridge for me, oh how I miss Aunt Edna and Uncle Pete.

My folks picked me up at Tennessee Temple University where I was doing time in April of '83 and we loaded the car for my very first Spring Break as a college kid.  You got the picture?  First Spring Break ever.  Going with parents in a station wagon.  Destination: Bradenton, FL, a retirement village. Wooo.  That's gonna be a wild one, eh? I'm happy to say that I was thrilled, honestly, I did not think it was dorky or lame, I was very happy.  I think I slept the whole way to Florida with mid-term exams behind me.  We left rainy, cold Chattanooga and woke up in sunny, warm Florida to a fridge full of Cadbury Eggs.

The retirees were always so happy to see me!
Most hot college girls were over on the other FL coast for Spring Break. 

Every spring the Pittsburgh Pirates would have their spring training in FL and Uncle Pete would wander over several days and watch them, probably got to know many of them.  Uncle Pete was like that.  We went over and caught a Pirates/Dodger game.  I met Larry McWilliams, pitcher for the Pirates.

Were those Snow Bird villages just a piece of Americana now long gone?
Or do they still exist?
I loved riding or walking through those friendly, quiet streets.  Waving at my Aunt and Uncle's friends, looking for gators, smelling the orange and lemon trees and various things baking in the mobile homes.
Everytime I bite into a Cadbury Egg, I get a headful of memories.
And I try to be the kind of person who would have a home so welcoming to starving college kids that they'll remember it with a smile 30 years later and pass it on.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Oh how I miss those days too Val, loved those two and they gave so much love. I remember dad and I sneaking down there one weekend and sat on their patio until they noticed us out there, what fun to surprise them. They were never negative people, remarkable!