Florida

Almost a month ago, my family spent a weekend in Florida. With my sister and I both “grown up,” and the four of us all having lives that involve jobs and things we care about, it is very seldom that we are all able to commit to a weekend together for an adventure. We went to Titusville, a town outside of Orlando, to visit a handful of my dad’s side of the family. Here are some things that happened:


I don’t fly regularly, therefore I am SUPER EXCITED anytime I do. I mean, seriously, you’re literally flying through and over the clouds. It’s beautiful. Luckily my sister and I had plenty of space on the plane, so I was not distracted by a lack of legroom or annoying strangers. Full on cloud fixation!


This is Dottie and Ray (Dottie is my dad’s cousin). We stayed with them, and basically had half the house to ourselves. I had my own room. It was ridiculous. Dottie has lots of stories and Ray worked at NASA for years. They’re quite nice and hospitable and enjoy playing trivia at a local bar.


THIS is Aunt Rita. She’s a big reason why we went in the first place. She helped raise my dad. He lived with her for a few years when he was a kiddo in New York. Needless to say, she’s pretty important. She’s super cute and sweet and very independent, which I really respect about her. Aunt Rita doesn’t like to arrive somewhere empty-handed, loved driving, and sometimes kept the kids up with her and her husband’s weekend parties back in the day. She’s awesome.
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On the left is my dad, and on the right is Rita’s son, Don. They’re sitting outside in Dottie and Ray’s gorgeous enclosed patio, with a golf course behind them (prime retirement)! Don has a mild-mannered personality, and enjoys living out of the city, surrounded by nature. So here are two childhood friends, almost 50 years later…a reserved yet genuine and caring interaction.


Left to right: Cameron, Gary, Dad. Gary is my dad’s nephew, who he somewhat recently got in touch with through Facebook (internet, right?). Cameron is his son who seems very smart and personable, especially for his age. This was my first time meeting them. Apparently Gary looks like his dad, Eddie, who unfortunately passed before I was born.

Most of our time was of course spent visiting with family. Honestly, to a 23-year-old Austinite there isn’t a lot to do in Titusville anyway. I asked about thrift stores in the area, and Ray was nice enough to take Eve and I around town on her search for records and my search for pretty and hopefully vintage things. She found a handful of awesome records for 25 cents each at the fifth store we stopped at. I got a dress there, as well as two necklaces and a few glasses frames along the way.


A big group of us went to a seafood restaurant called Dixie Crossroads. I don’t actually eat fish, but we had a great waitress who told me about a veggie burger that wasn’t on the menu. Almost everyone else got rock shrimp, which I’d never heard of, and we don’t have in Texas. The way it is prepared makes it taste kind of like lobster. Faces were stuffed and stomachs were happy. If you ever go there, get coleslaw as a side – delicious! Now here is a picture of my mom next to a giant lobster.

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Left to right: me, Aunt Rita, Dad, Dottie, Ray, Eve. This is the required group shot.

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After the restaurant on the last night, we took Aunt Rita back to her apartment, to say goodbye until next time. I decided to possibly embarrass my dad by putting up this photo because it’s so special. Aunt Rita, in all her cuteness, wanted to listen to Elvis on a CD she has. She started dancing as soon as it came on. Thanks to my mom’s suggestion and my dad’s compassion, he danced with her for the duration of the song. It was beautiful.

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Thanks for reading.
-Jenn

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