If you’r stopping by from Julia’s Hooked on Houses home tour, welcome! You’ve caught me just after a family trip to Florida to see my Dad’s place of birth and we saw some wonderful beach cottages on the way. Enjoy & thanks for stopping by! I love home decorating too, so look around for some inspiration and come back and see me. Our whole day of exploring led us out to Spring Creek which is near where my dad was raised. As we were driving out that way, we saw Vickers Drive and of course had to stop to take a picture. My maiden name is Vickers and I’m sure there have to be many relatives still in the area. My dad lost contact with all of his large extended family over the years, since when he was 12 his family moved to Panama City, where he grew up and graduated from high school. Interestingly, he was the only one of 10 kids who did graduate from high school and went on to college too. His parents could neither read nor write. My dad became a preacher after he went to Bible College and preached for about 40 years until he retired over 15 years ago.
My daddy, Mr. Vickers and Vickers Drive, how cute is that?
While we were driving, my niece wanted to know all about what they call swamp cabbage, which my mom’s family grew up eating. If you’re at a fancy restaurant, it’s called Hearts of Palm, but my mom’s family grew up chopping the top out of the palm trees and harvesting that tender heart, cooking it and eating it. I never learned to appreciate swamp cabbage, but my mother’s family sure have eaten a lot of it. My mom grew up on a farm too, near the Tampa area, but they were not nearly as poor as my dad’s family was. My mom is showing Lauren where exactly the heart of the palm is located and how it was harvested.
And they used to chew on this grass, which I can’t remember the name of. Lauren wanted me to take her pic chewing away on it. She is a city girl all the way, as are me and my sister. We moved to Atlanta when I was 6, so I have no idea what it’s like to live out in the country like this.
He drove us out to Shell Point, which is one of the few developments in this area with million dollar beach homes. It was a pretty drive.
There were some nice homes on Shell Point.
Here’s me with my flat-ironed hair. Lauren flat-ironed it for me & I’ve never had it this straight. I think I like it and will have to practice doing it with my flat-iron.
Over the years, we have heard my dad tell many stories about where he grew up and all the things they did. One particularly great story is when my dad had a taste of his first Coca-Cola. Remember, this is all back in the 1930’s when the Great Depression was going on. My dad’s family was very poor and lived off the land, farming and fishing and not ever making much money. They traded eggs at the local store to get groceries, butchered their own meat and hunted in the woods for food. My Grandpa saddled up the old mule, put my dad on him and sent him to Spring Creek for a “mess of fish” for dinner. He gave him 25 cents for the fish and an extra nickel for a “sodie water” for Daddy. So, dad rode down to the store, got the fish and ask the man for a sodie water. The man asked him what kind and he said…just a sodie water. So out from the cooler came a bottle of Coca-Cola, he snapped the top off and gave it to my dad. Daddy turned the bottle up and took a big long swig of coke, not having any idea what to expect. He said it came out his nose and eyes and just about blew his head off….we have laughed and laughed at that story over the years and now for the first time, we saw the old store where he bought his first sodie water (above). It is owned by a family that’s been there many years and they now live here in the old store. He was disappointed that this Spring Creek area has not been developed into something nice and useful, but rather just left to deterioriate. There used to be restaurants, a big fish house here, and lots of activity going on, but it is long gone. Gone also are the springs that used to boil up in the bay here in Spring Creek. We were told by a lady here that it’s been about a year since the boils stopped boiling. That really made my dad very sad to hear that. He said that right out here in this bay used to be several boils that were as big as a house. You could see the water churning from the shoreline and the fish were abundant around the boils. Many years ago, they outlawed net fishing, so that put a lot of fisherman out of business.
We found the cutest little puppy running around at Spring Creek and I had to pet her.
A pomegranite tree growing by the shoreline. Next, we headed to the old dirt road where my dad was born and raised. It’s still not paved. His old house has long been torn down, but we did find the spot it was on. A brick house has been built way back off the road on the same piece of property his family once owned. There were many aunts and uncles all around this area too. His dad had 40 acres here during the Depression until they sold it all to move to Panama City. My Grandpa developed some very bad skin cancers at the time and my dad’s 2 older sisters had married and moved to Panama City, so they encouraged the family to move too. There were 4 siblings still at home at that time (including my dad) and they all moved to PC to live. I think things were a little bit better in the bigger city. My dad sure has a lot of fond memories growing up in these woods and on the bay though. My parents were down this way about 5 years ago and had stopped by a neighbor lady’s house when they saw her outside. She was so friendly and glad to see them & remembered my dad’s family fondly.
So, we decided to stop by Mz. Rosetta’s house to see if she was at home and she was. She came out and we all got out and met her. What a sweet lady! During the 30’s when my dad’s family & extended family lived in this area, they had a couple of black families as neighbors and all the kids played together. Mz. Rosetta’s late husband was a playmate of my dad’s and she remembers all his sisters and parents very fondly. They were all a community at that time. I asked Mz. Rosetta how old she is and she said she really didn’t know, that she doesn’t have a birth certificate.
We had a full, interesting day in Spring Creek, seeing where my dad was actually born and raised. I’m so thankful for my parents, for the legacy they have given us. It’s amazing to me to see how far removed from our roots that we can get in just 2 generations. My sister and I didn’t grow up rich, but we know nothing of going through the Great Depression like they did. We had a rich and colorful heritage on both sides of the family and I can so appreciate going back there at this time of my life to see where we came from. I didn’t know my dad’s family all that well at all. All I knew was going to Panama City when were were little to visit my Grandma and Grandpa (and some of the relatives) until they both died and they both lived well into their 80’s.