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Florida love

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tampacoverWhen we first bought our house, I started studying the building methods of the period it was built, tracking the previous owners through publicly available city and county records, and learning about the history of the area we were planning on living in for a while to come.

I found brochures and magazines, knowfloridacoverinformation dedicated to the Florida tourist or investor.  A wealth of time specific salesmanship!  And, I started collecting.  I buy in little bits at a time, looking for pamphlets and brochures from the time period when my house was built, or with information on population and industry.

Two recent acquisitions of mine have a couple of choice passages that I felt compelled to share with you.  The first:  “Tampa Hillsborough County Florida”  alternately “Florida’s Newly Discovered Vacationland” on one side and “Florida’s Industrial and Commercial Center” on the other, was published jointly by the Board of Representatives, City of Tampa Board of Commissioners, and Hillsborough County Chamber of Commerce in the 1940s (pictured top left) includes a rather foreboding message to visitors:     “…please advise anyone seeking employment not to come to Tampa.”

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The second:  “Know Florida” a 1939 facts booklet issued by the Florida State Department of Agriculture through The Tribune Press in Tallahassee is an understandably dry, but well written fact booklet with loads of information on industry and agriculture throughout all of Florida, except two paragraphs where the author takes a trip into the most florid poetics I’ve ever seen aimed at my home state:knowfloridaexcerpt

The shocking change in tone from the paragraphs around it is quite jarring. I suspect that someone else slipped those paragraphs in there. Maybe the brochure was laying out just a little short, or the editor looked over it and thought it was a bit dry, so she pulled out her bong and basked in the Florida love for a while. At least two paragraphs worth.

For the love of Florida

For the love of Florida published on 1 Comment on For the love of Florida

I saw on the DVR that the next recorded episode of Stephen Fry in America was going to include Florida and I thought, ‘heh, I wonder what awfulness he’s going to find there.’  Not long ago I was actively looking for opportunities outside of Florida, and I have never been a fan of the traditional Florida fare of sunshine, beaches, mice, and water sports (citrus, I like).  Maybe because I have since settled down in my birth state, or maybe because it is my birth state, I was a little disgruntled when Mr. Fry’s primary visit was Miami, and his primary reaction was understandably scathing.  How, you might ask, can I be disgruntled when I understand his reaction?  Well, he visited Miami.  Except for The Golden Girls, there is and has never been anything tied to Miami that could entice me to visit there.  It’s like having someone come visit your house and they only see the inside of your garage, dented, stained holiday decoration boxes and all.

–by the by, I am in entertainment consumer love with Stephen Fry; as in, I love to consume and am terribly entertained by all his writing, speaking and acting.

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me at Cypress Gardens

So, partially as an exercise in state love, which I am still new to, I started wracking my brains for the bits of Florida that I’d rather have been seen by Stephen Fry.  What I realized, is that the bits of Florida that I think make it great are withering away.  Fewer and fewer of the quaint and wholesome tourist attractions of a hopeful postwar (WWII) U.S. can still be found in our tropical peninsula.  They are slowly making room for the attractions of today’s tourist.

Case in point:  Cypress Gardens.  I remember Cypress Gardens as a bright, hot, floral and fragrant fairy land of leisurely enjoyment.  As a typical American little girl, I was in awe of the pretty ladies who twirled their gigantic ball gowns into perfect circles of fabric as they perched on the green green lawns of the gardens.  At the time of my visit, Cypress Gardens was still doing well, but was most definitely the day trip that grandparents took their grandchildren on.  It was of their generation.   And, while they tried to pass it on to a new generation, most grandchildren, me included, didn’t spare it a second thought until it was too late.  Now that I’ve come around to my grandmother’s way of thinking, Cypress gardens has been swallowed up by LegoLand.Continue reading For the love of Florida

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