Jacksonville, Florida

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Candy and I are traveling to Jacksonville this week to visit my great-aunt who is 100 years old. Do we have any members in that location who would like to meet for coffee or tea or ice cream? If so, please start a private "conversation" with me.

My Great-Aunt Charlotte is my maternal grandmother's younger sister. I was very close to my grandmother and miss her like crazy. I've been wanting to visit my aunt for years. The problem is that she lives in Florida, and I don't do heat well. I decided to deal with it and visit her anyway. She is still quite sharp. Initially, she was very excited we were coming. Then, she had a bit of a freak out and told me not to come. I telephoned her daughter, my mother's first cousin, and the daughter and I have straightened everything out. We are having a tinyish family reunion of sorts.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Well, the train ride was arduous, but still better than driving for me. Our visit with my relatives was lovely. My cousin has a house one block from the beach. We all walked to beach and enjoyed it for about 20 minutes. We had a great dinner, and my Aunt Charlotte was happy to see us. She looks like she is about 70; no one would ever guess that she is 100. I took them some very old pictures of our relatives which was a great ice breaker. We really enjoyed my cousin, her husband and my mom's first cousin. Driving around Jacksonville was tough for me, but I coped.

Candy and I went to St. Augustine the next day and enjoyed the sights there. We went to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium, a Spanish fort, and visited a bunch of little shops. It's quite the tourist town.

The following day, we walked around Jacksonville and had lunch by the river. I had an interesting conversation with a man who lives on a boat. He was telling me how different living on the river is. I don't think I would like it as he was kept awake by a party at the restaurant which continued until 4 am. I'm too old for that stuff.

We survived the return train trip. I swear, I think they blow that whistle every 2 minutes.

How was your trip?


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I got to St. Augustine briefly when Son #2 graduated from college in Florida. Hurricane Alberto seriously rained on my parade, the shops shut down, and we waded back to the car in water up to our knees. I was heartbroken that we didn't get to see anything except the lighthouse.


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My trip was wonderful, save the long train ride. I think it was about 70 hours. Because this route was shorter, I chose it over the California Zephyr which would have gone through the Rockies. I did cross the Mississippi for the first time. I had conversations with a number of people I would never have met, many of whom were family members crossing the country to help family: grandsons going to help grandmas, elderly sisters going to help ill sisters, grandpas going to visit their daughters and grandchildren, mothers helping with new grandbabies, an elderly sister and brother going to a brother's funeral.

I did not ask why each of them chose the train, as I felt it was ill-mannered, but very much appreciated the different tenor of life (and perhaps economic class) than on the plane. Although, I did take the plane back home, and had a chance to have long conversations with two men in their 40's traveling for business, who were each quite open about their lives and feelings.

Pennsylvania is beautiful, unexpectedly so. I would say the most beautiful state I have visited so far. I adored Philadelphia which met and exceeded every one of my expectations. The first hotel in Center City was great; close to elegant restaurants, and I could walk everywhere I wanted to go, except the religious services I had set as my goal to attend, which were about 25 minutes away by taxi.

The high points were: my tango lesson, the religious service, and a wonderful meal at a French restaurant where I set a lifetime record in amount paid for a meal for just myself: $85 or more. The waitress "bought me" dessert and I proceeded to tip her $20 or maybe more.

I just by accident erased 2 paragraphs of this post. When I have energy I will fill you in more. Thank you for asking.
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two men in their 40's traveling for business, who were each quite open about their lives and feelings.
Most of you know that I have worked in prisons for the better part of 20 or 25 years.

While I am a accustomed to talking with men about the emotional aspects of their lives, and comfortable doing so I do not think that men of my own age, 60 plus, or even men in their 50's would have opened up to me. But that really is not the point I want to make: I was somewhat surprised, in retrospect that these two men did so. The man who I spoke to cross-country commented when we parted: it is so good to talk.

I guess I am saying that I am gratified and it is a confidence booster, as I have been tossing around the idea of returning to work on a private, part-time basis. I have been through so much in these past 4 years, it is good to feel I still "work."