We are in the airport, heading down to Florida for a week. Traveling with a toddler and a pre-teen while 33 weeks pregnant on a crappy airline with a stopover may not sound like your idea of a great time, but I can't wait to get the hell out of here. Hopefully in a few hours, I will be poolside at my parents' condo, letting other people fawn over these kids. When I was a kid, we went to Florida every April to visit my grandparents. I already detailed a few memories in the post about my brother, but here's a few more:
* I only remember flying once when I was really little. We drove down every other time, stopping in Maryland to see my aunt, and then taking 95 the rest of the way down. It's a loooong drive in a minivan from NJ. Becky and I always had to sit in the back, and Brian had the middle seat. I wrote an essay about these trips called, "Carolina Pottery and Other Adventures on I95," that I have been pitching relentlessly. Seriously, who WOULDN'T want to read about my families' road trips? It's pretty goddamn funny.
* What is Carolina Pottery? Wow! You Gotta See This Place!
* We also did South of the Border a lot, spending more time there if my dad wasn't traveling with us that year. He is too highbrow for a Sombrero Tower in a place called Pedroland Park. When I was 10, I bought an aqua blue South of the Border half shirt with flourescent pink palm trees on it. I would pair this with layered aqua and pink socks. It was beyond hot.
* I also had a flourescent yellow Mickey Mouse tank top that I bought at the Red Barn flea market in Bradenton. I would wear this with matching hair clips.
* I still think that Coquina Beach in Bradenton is one of my favorite beaches in the world.
* My grandparents lived in a mobile home. Everyone in their park was from someplace cold, and would hang signs with their names on them inside an outline of their home state. Betty and Joe from Michigan, Al and Sue from Ohio, Peg and Jack from Pennsylvania and of course, our house, Tony and Cookie from New Jersey.
* Everyone in a mobile home park goes to sleep early. It would be dead quiet on the street after dinner.
* My mother always had this misguided idea that she should do our own taxes, but being a member of my family, she would always wait until the last minute. Tax day almost always fell while we were in Florida. We would haul a box of papers down from NJ and she would stay up all night in my grandmother's kitchen drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes until she got them done.
* We would have fresh orange juice in the morning. My grandfather and dad would eat grapefruits from the tree, halved and sprinkled with sugar. Everyone in the neighborhood came to our house for morning coffee.
* We went to the pool in the morning because children weren't allowed to swim between 11 and 3. Sometimes we played shuffleboard. We also played a lot of mini golf.
* When I was older, in college, my sister and I flew down to Florida with my parents. We were late, as always, getting to the airport and my mom shoved us toward the gate while she was waiting for my father to park the car. "Wait for us in Tampa," she shouted. This was before cell phones. Luckily they busted through the doors just as they were closing.
* I always remember my grandfather's peanut butter pie when I am down there.
* My grandfather's sister had a house on the same street as he lived on. Now my aunt has a condo a few doors down from my parents, and my other aunt also owns a place in Bradenton. I guess we are up next, in about 30 years.