Old Florida returns

July 6, 2008

Unless you lived in the state before it was overrun with people, the term Old Florida means nothing. But when I grew up there with my two brothers, it meant uncrowded beaches and orange groves everywhere. But even Old Florida had its tourist attractions, such as Silver Springs. One day, long ago, my mother took us there.

Without context, this image from the outing nearly a half century ago looks kitschy. Evidence of a tacky Florida before it became Disney-fied. But it’s among twenty family photos that brother Bill, now a criminology professor at Florida State University, sent me today. Until now, I had only two pictures from those early years.

So I don’t see kitsch; I see a window into a past, faded and indistinct, but framed in the vibrant colors of what once was.