Friday, May 18, 2012

Sentimental Journey

(US 19, Tarpon Springs, FL, 1986)

(US 19, Tarpon Springs, FL, 2012)

Kris and I hit the road after some Waffle House today for our trip down memory lane  The two pictures above serve as just a small indication of how lie has changed.  In 1986 (top photo), the corner of Tarpon Ave (FL 582) and US 19 had a Bojangles and the Tarpon Mall.  Today, there are more plazas, but the Bojangles is gone.  Sadly, so are Florida's colored US road signs (damn federal mandates).

This was hardly the star of the show today.

(Holiday, FL, 2012)
That's my grandparents' former home.  They lived there beginning in the early 60's.  My grandfather died in 1989, and my grandmother stayed into the late 90's.  The best "old" picture I could come up with was this dandy family picture taken in 1971.  And no, that is NOT Sean Adams holding the guitar (as was suggested today).
(Holiday, FL, 1970)
It was an emotional roller coaster of sorts.  In some ways, our trip showed me an area that has completely changed.  In others, there were bits and pieces that looked entirely the same (one of the hotels we used to stay at is a time warp).  A text came from New York (Lisa) asking about my emotions.  There were an intense flood of memories.

Kris and I approached it from the east - and the minute I saw the Wendy's - the damn WENDY'S - I knew where I was.  That was the first time I ever had Wendy's; before they ever hit my home area.  We drove the main drag - US 19 (which stretches from just south of St. Pete to Erie, PA) and, sure, so much of it looked different (the famed Innisbrook resort entrance looks nothing like it did when I last saw it) but yet things looked similar as well.  I definitely knew where I was - I guarantee you that.

(Fred Howard Park, Tarpon Springs, FL)
Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs is as beautiful as ever; the Gulf looking so inviting.  But we simply didn't have enough time for everything on this day, and are supposed to return to Tarpon Springs' Sponge Docks before I go home.

So we drove.

We took very few breaks, getting out only to walk around Howard Park and grabbing gas and a couple of sweet teas near St. Petersburg (Rob...drinking sweet tea?  Well, go the "Arnold Palmer" route and I'll drink it).  And trust me we couldn't possibly hit every thing.  Memory Lane is pretty long around these parts, and I'm not even sure I could truly remember where to find everything.

We ended our ride at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  Love it.

Still more to do on this trip.  Beach.  Sponges.  Maybe the Rays/Braves game tonight.  Stop by Steinbrenner Field (I've already seen Steinbrenner HIGH SCHOOL!!).  Grab a look at Raymond James Stadium (where the Steelers won super XLIII...and some other team plays there).  Maybe some golf (please please please please).

Heck, I even went to a kickball game (good game, Brittany)...after awesome Japanese Hibachi.

Days are flying by.  I'm just trying to enjoy it.

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