Sunday, March 27, 2011

Poolside Postcard

Lido Beach Casino Swimming Pool, Sarasota, Florida 

Sent from Sarasota, Florida in 1954.

Here's another favorite postcard from my collection! I love postcards that have been sent before because it's always interesting reading other peoples letters from years and years ago. This is a Florida Postcard, Sent from Florida to New York, yet I bought it in Sand Diego...I wonder how it got there?? One thing is for sure - many times it's hard to read the handwriting!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Mystery of the Moon Trees

When Apollo 14 launched on January 31, 1971 astronauts were not the only ones making a big leap on the moon. With them they carried hundreds of tree seeds!

The goal was to see if seeds taken to the moon and brought back to Earth would grow properly. Stuart Roosa, the astronaut who had taken them to the moon in small tin canisters, had selected a variety of Redwood, Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Douglas Fir and Sweetgum seeds. Upon their return to Earth the seeds were germinated and in 1976 the seedlings were transported and planted all over the world. They became known as "Moon Trees"!! The trees had no trouble adapting and grew normally. Many are still alive and flourishing today.

Official Moon Tree emblem

BUT the weird thing about this whole experiment is that NASA failed to keep any official records of where they planted the trees!?!??! I mean they kept track of a few, one was sent to The White House, another to the emperor of Japan, and one you can find right in front of the Kennedy Space Center. But what about the hundreds and hundreds of others?? For all we know, we could be surrounded by Moon Trees!!

Located at: Florida Division of Forestry in
Tallahassee, Florida
Plaque reads: Moon Tree, Loblolly Pine, Pinus Taeda

Moon Tree at the Kennedy Space Center
 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Moon Trees had been all but forgotten until this year where there has been a surprising amount of new interest because of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 14 mission. Since 1996, NASA Scientist Dave Williams of Washington, D.C. has taken it upon himself to track down as many as he can. Right now 80 or so trees have been located and six of them are in Florida!!

   Located at: Keystone Heights Public Library 
                in Keystone Heights, Florida.     

  Plaque for Keystone Heights Moon Tree.

For some other great links - including one to buy your own Moon Tree seedling or seed kit - visit NASA's official MOON TREE page. Scroll to the bottom to see a list of all recorded Moon Trees thus far. Maybe there's a Moon Tree where you live!! And if you know of a Moon Tree that's not on that list - for gosh sakes tell
Dave Williams!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daytona Beach: Part 1 "He Was A Good Dog"

That's right folks, I've spent most of my time in Florida in Daytona Beach. Instead of overloading one or two posts with info I figured why not split it up into several parts! More fun!

So I'd like to share with you one story from the Daytona Beach history books that always puts a smile to my face. The story of Brownie the town dog.

The year, 1940. The town, Daytona Beach. The dog, Brownie.

It was a hot summer day. The black asphalt burned the poor mutt's paw but he barely noticed the pain.  He owned the town. A nameless vagrant on the hunt for something - maybe food, maybe shelter, heck maybe he was just looking for someone to love. And then he found the shade. A little piece of shadow that unbeknownst to him, would change his life.

Tourist with Brownie the town dog
State Archives of Florida

Brownie rested underneath the awning of the Daytona Cab Company and before he knew it he had more than one best friend. The cabbies here weren't just looking for some cheap fare with Brownie. They pooled their tips together to build him a doghouse. A little jar was left by this house for donations and before they knew it the whole town was pitching in, paying for his food and veterinary bills. Eventually the donations got so grand they had to deposit the dough in Brownies own account at the Florida Bank & Trust.

Everyone in town, adults, children, tourists and locals, they all got to know Brownie, he really became the town dog. The cabbies would even buy him a pint of ice cream everyday. They called Brownie the number one goodwill ambassador for the town of Daytona.

Then one sad day in 1954, Brownie died of old age. There was enough money in his bank account to purchase a casket and headstone. Seventy-five people attended Brownie's funeral. The mayor read a tearful eulogy. The city of Daytona Beach had lost a best friend.

Today you can still visit Brownie who resides in the beautiful Riverfront park in Daytona's downtown district. In 2007 there was even an official Brownie Festival that included a Brownie look-a-like contest. Some people even claim to have seen his ghost or felt his presence while visiting his resting place. A little dog topiary guards Brownie's grave. If you find yourself in Daytona, go say hello!

ALSO I would like to introduce this amazing website I found Florida Memory. They've given me permission to use photos from their site, I can't wait to share more from their collection!

P.S. I wasn't able to find my own pictures of Brownie's grave so I'm using these borrowed ones temporarily.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'll Pick Oranges For You...

Saint Petersburg postcard. Sent January 18, 1938.
This is one of my favorite postcards from my personal collection. One common theme running through these sendable pieces of art is the fact that while winter is in full bloom wherever you live, in Florida it's warm enough to wear a sundress and pick oranges! But don't worry northeners, summer is right around the corner!

This postcard has actually been used, more specifically January 18, 1938!! Can you believe that!? It's addressed to Miss. Gladys Kuhnla, it reads (to the best of my de-coding):

Hello Honey, We had friends take us out riding this afternoon and they took us over to Passa Grill and near Indian Rocks, Real hot and we enjoyed it. Mothers letter arrived today with Mrs D(cannot figure this one out) letter. Love to All, Grandpa

Pass a grille and Indian Rocks are both beaches in Florida that you can still go and visit!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To All Who Come To This Happy Place, Welcome....

To Florida.

I see Florida as its own magical amusement park. If I had the money I'd open up a place and call it FLORIDALAND. Florida's history is so rich and full of the bizarre, the unusual, the imaginative and the wonderful that you'd never get bored. Sometimes the rides might break down, be lost forever. The only proof they ever existed is a picture in a book or a thought in your head. But down that long sandy beach, some of those places, those memories, you can visit again. Some of those places are still around waiting to say hello.

Lotsa people just have one view of the ol' Sunshine State. They never got outta Orlando, maybe they had a bad run in at the old folks home or a meth lab. But that's just one small slice of the key lime pie.

I don't know everything about Florida, heck I haven't even visited half of it! But boy do I love it there. So let's make a deal:  I'm gonna tell you about Florida and you're gonna listen, because whether you like the place or not, you won't find it anywhere else!