Announcement: We’re Moving to the Sunshine State!

10 Jul

My first trip to Daytona Beach (my 2nd birthday present), 1973. It took Dad all of five seconds to turn me into a beach baby.

The rumors are true: we’re moving to the Sunshine State! There are a couple of wild cards that may shift our intended in-state location and timing, but it’s safe to say Florida, and it will be very soon. We’ll keep you posted.

I’ve had a long, happy history with Florida (see photos from the early years below); in fact, I’ve always felt it’s where I should be—as much as I’ve felt at home in Burlington, Vermont or in the state of Rhode Island, crossing the Florida line or setting foot on its soil was accompanied by an overwhelming sense of peace and belonging (I almost went to college there—I could have lived with my grandmother—but my father vetoed that). I love heat, I love humidity, I love palm trees, I love sand-orange-jasmine air. I can’t wait to have coffee and get ready for work—as I watch a lavender sunrise. Do the daily grind—and at end of it, hit the pool and sit on my lanai. Have a local Publix and Beall’s and Gooding’s and Steak ‘n’ Shake. It may or may not be a better life, but it’ll be a different, less haunted one, and the stress of reality is nothing when you’re doing it where your heart is.

This also brings exciting opportunities. I miss my days volunteering with sea life and history, and there are many more locations close by to do that than there are here. I was thrilled to discover there are several established writing critique groups under the auspices of the Florida Writing Association, conferences, and colleges, all within a short drive. I also have friends scattered all over the state, so no matter where we end up, I’ll be within a few hours’ driving distance of at least a couple of them. And let’s not forget what I truly love: attractions old, new, abandoned.

I’ve spent the past eight weeks on the toughest part: packing up the writing, journals, photos, books, scrapbooks (I actually finished that part just past Midnight on Independence Day—wow). Now that that’s done, the rest is cake—furniture? Dishes? Linens? Out it goes. Brighter items await.

Which brings me to The Goodbye Project—saying goodbye to my stuff, which I photograph and ditch. Every week I post the photos and the items’ associated memories. If any of you have issues getting rid of sentimental (but largely useless) objects, I can’t recommend this process enough. It has made it easier than I ever thought it could be. Those are all over at www.kristipetersenschoonover.com –and they’ll continue after I relocate, as I plan on writing about all the places and activities I will miss in the Northeast, like the Bronx Zoo, Newport, the Adirondacks in summer, the Garlic Festival and good old creepy New England cemeteries.

With all of this going on, it’s been tough keeping up with the writing career—and I had to take a pass on my workshop at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony in August, which saddens me—but gives another writer the opportunity of a lifetime! However, Literary Mayhem has commissioned an original horror story for January 2012, State of Imagination has retained “Denigrating David” for its July 1 issue, and GhoStory Guru and Read Short Fiction are still going strong. I’m also working on getting in a blog tour. More on all of that in my regular blog archives (www.kristipetersenschoonover.com)—most of those notes were posted in the past month, so check out postings for June 2011 if you’re curious.

Happy Summer!

Mom and Dad treat me to my first dip in a pool, Daytona Beach, 1973. As Nathan pointed out, “they put you in a pool when you were two and you’ve never wanted to get out.”

Waiting to board the Magic Kingdom’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride in Walt Disney World, 1977.

The family at Silver Springs, 1981: from left, my sister Missie, my brother Chuck, me, and Mom.

The kids and I feed the seagulls at Daytona Beach, 1985.

Chuck and I check out our first real sea turtle up close, Ponce Inlet near Route 1A, 1987.

The kids and me in the Magic Kingdom in 1987.

In front of my favorite Daytona Beach restaurant in 1988. The sweet rolls rock!

Me, left, and my childhood best friend Kristen Hansen, right, in Fort Lauderdale ( where she still lives!) March, 1992.

On the beach in a rain storm, Sarasota, May, 1992.

Fishing off Longboat Key, May, 1992.

In Key West at Sea World, September, 1998.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Announcement: We’re Moving to the Sunshine State!”

  1. Peter S. Hart July 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    That turtle would be O.K. if it really were a sea turtle. It’s not. It’s an even more rare Gopher Tortoise. You were lucky to see one close up, especially one that big. They are endangered now.

    And Aunt Catfish’s! I’ve been there and love it. I lived in Florida for 10 years in the 70’s and 80’s and it was one of my favorite places to eat. I used to get up early on Saturday morning and be at Daytona Beach in 25 minutes, and watch the sunrise and spend the morning there, before it got really hot.

    Let us know where you end up.

    Peter S. Hart

    • kristipetersenschoonover July 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Wow, Peter, thank you so much! I feel like it was a SUPER magical omen now — perhaps a portent of things to come! Thanks so much for sharing that. I will probably put that out on a future edition of my newsletter and blog and point people to your Twitter.

      I can’t wait to go to Aunt Catfish’s. Right now, we’re looking at the Orlando area (obviously), but I may end up out near Daytona. We’ll see! I will definitely keep you posted. I just can’t wait to get there. And no matter where I end up, I will DEFINITELY be getting to Aunt Catfish’s at some point. They are still there and going strong. I called them just last week, in fact, to ask about a menu item (I know, dumb, right?)

      Thanks again for sharing this great info.

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