Here’s more on our adventures in Gainesville, Florida. My hometown!
One more stop
We had plenty of time, so we visited a small museum that highlighted Gainesville history, the Matheson Museum. There was an exhibit on modern buildings of Gainesville, which featured many places familiar to me from the 1960s.
We also found postcards of old Gainesville and some books, one on the plants and animals of Alachua County. That book will take me back to my college days when my boyfriend and I would drive all over the back roads looking for armadillo, turtles, and deer on the side of the road.
And a drive
This is where it gets Suna-esque. We set off to look at some places from my childhood, so Anita could see them. We checked out my grandparents’ house, which seems to have lost its garage in a recent storm. It’s now in the middle of the bed and breakfast district.
Then I just HAD to visit my childhood park, because it’s now Tom Petty Park! Way better than its former name of Northeast Park. It’s sad that I grew up two blocks from Tom but had no idea. Well, he WAS older. I know my college friend Kirby-San from Japanese class is happy to see how well our former picnic spot is doing.
After making sure the duck pond and my childhood home are still there (yes) I turned right and went by all my other schools and my old church, which is now an evangelical one. And then I hit the Waldo Road, aiming for the airport.
Why? Well, for years I’ve had recurring dreams of going down that road and having the woods closing in on me, but I can’t get off. I can’t find the airport. And something evil is lurking to the right of me.
Now I know what the scary thing is. It’s the former Sunland Training Center, where people sent their mentally handicapped family members back when they weren’t mainstreamed and not encouraged to stay in the family homes. My parents would threaten us with living there if we were bad. Shudder.
I was just sure they would have found another use for the huge complex by now, but no. It’s still there, under another name, Tapachale. There are 500 people there now, with jobs and stuff. The article linked above says it’s more like a neighborhood now.
So, maybe knowing this will end my bad dreams!
We ended up hanging out with our friends Vince and Kelli, who generously let us stay in their short-term rental apartment for two nights, for both evenings in Gainesville. Lee had to hear a lot about high school and growing up in Gainesville from us. But Vince also renovates properties, so they had that in common. Plus Vince is also a Master Naturalist! He must be good folks, then, right?
We had two great dinners and tried many beers. There were also lots of laughs. What fine hosts! One day I’ll blog about what Kelli does to bring healthy food to Gainesville schools. It’s worth sharing.
But my fingers are tired, so I’ll end and look at scenery! We’re heading westward again!