A known fact of life is that change is inevitable. If there is one thing that my honey always gives me a hard time about is that I am so resistant to change. I know this. I like everything in order and routine. Unless of course I decide to change it, then I am ready and open to a change.
Here is where I am going with this, more so than any other grandchild, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their home in Naples, Florida. I loved it there. I would spend weeks there in the summer or spring break. We did a lot of fun things but the most fun I had was when they would drop me off at the Port Royal Club for the day. Everyone that worked there knew who I was so I guess I had a staff of built in babysitters. All I had to do was sign for my meals and whatever else I wanted. I was grown up (along with a few other kids) and had run of the place all day every day. Glorious!!! If I close my eyes I can still go back there. The white sand private beaches and the Olympic size pool by the sea. Grill to order hamburgers with Charles Chips for lunch and a seafood buffet on Friday night that was worthy of royalty with ice sculptures and piles of shrimp and lobster tails a mile high.
The streets of her neighborhood were immaculate, lined with palm trees and perfectly maintained yards. Every home in her neighborhood was on the water. Canals were dug off the intercostal waterway at Gordon Pass and every house had a boat docked. Some were small yachts and some were retired folk fishing boats. The concept of this development was based on pirates. Port Royal – a haven for pirates in the Caribbean for about 200 years. Blackbeard loved it. All the streets are named accordingly… Galleon Drive, Gin Lane, Rum Row, Kingstown Drive and so on. The main entrance was directly across from the club, down Kingstown Drive and her street was Gin Lane. I would say her house was about a mile from the entrance. When I was about 8 years old and living in Naples, I would take the bus to Granny’s house after school. For some reason the school bus was not allowed to go into the neighborhood so they would drop me off at the entrance. Granny was supposed to be waiting for me in the car … but most of the time she wasn’t there. Probably because she wasn’t used to that chore and forgot. So I would get off the bus and walk to her friends house which was much closer and actually across the channel from her house. Mr. & Mrs. Bee would always be home and welcome their young visitor with cookies and milk. Granny would come get me whenever she took a notion to or they would drive me to her house when they had to go somewhere. That is when Granny had the genius idea of providing me with my own mode of transportation… a bicycle. She would make my grandfather take it to the entrance when he went walking and park it behind a palm tree so when I got off the bus I wouldn’t bother her friends because I was too lazy to walk a mile to her house. And that eliminated the need for her to remember to pick me up. I think I may have been the first latch key kid in that neighborhood. If they weren’t home I would climb over the small wall between the garage and the laundry room and there was a key under the mat to that door. I loved it when they weren’t home because I would help myself to the bread box or pantry which always had an ample supply of goldfish. Like they wouldn’t know who ate them. I treasure my time in Naples. It is the one part of my childhood I look back on and smile about. I remember it from when I was 4 or 5 years old on up into my early 30’s. My last visit there I was 30 years old and probably about 2-3 months pregnant with my daughter. No one knew I was pregnant and I wasn’t about to broadcast it on that visit. I remember having such terrible back pain and spasms. I had pulled something years earlier and it would act up from time to time and this time I was miserable. While we were there my aunt decided we should go to the club and get a massage. I don’t know who that sweet woman was that worked on me but she fixed my back. And when I say she fixed my back I mean that 15 years since, almost to the day, I have not had a back ache. God Bless her.
About 6 years later, it was time to sell the house and move Granny to NC so we could have her closer for the remainder of her time with us. When my mother went to move her and deal with the sale of the house I called her and told her she better go to the store and get some new knobs for the kitchen cabinets and bring me the ones that have been in that house since the 70’s. That was the one thing I wanted from there. The cabinet knobs were beans, corn and such inside the knob with resin. I loved them. And they are on my cabinets in my house today. Every time I look at them it takes me right back to my granny’s kitchen, overlooking the water with the palm trees swaying in the breeze. Most people buying homes in her area were buying the old “florida style” homes for the lot and tearing them down to build GIANT gazillion dollar homes. The people that bought the house wanted to keep it as it was and because of that they took less than ask price.
Ok – where am I going with this walk down memory lane??
This past Friday afternoon I was looking online at the news and there was an article that listed the 15 most expensive streets in the country. Coming from a family of real estate brokers, I decided to read it thinking there might be one in North Carolina. To my amazement, as I am scrolling down the list I see Nelson’s Walk which I knew was in her neighborhood. So I google it to see where it was in relation to her house…right around the corner. So, the natural progression with the help of google maps I went to look at her house. Typed in her address and it showed me an empty lot. No way. So I go up and down the street… and google her address again… empty lot. Then I notice the feature to go back several years to the last time it was mapped and see what it looked like. BINGO.
There was her house… in 2007.
In 2014 it was gone.
Open another tab to realtor.com… house had been sold in 2013 and apparently the person who bought it is building a $14 million home on it. By the time it is done I bet there will be enough grass to cut with a pair of scissors.
I have to confess, what I saw took my breath away and swallowed me in a fog of sadness. Pieces of what made me who I am are vanishing along with the people I love so dearly. My Aunt is the only person left from that part of my life. So, some things change and some things don’t. But in life that is the one thing we can count on… change. I guess I need to adjust my sails for the changes ahead in my life. They are coming. Until then I shall enjoy the moments, treasure them, breathe them in deeply and cherish them because they will be gone in the blink of an eye.
Live every day as if it could be your last and you will regret nothing.