Spring Break 2014! Beauties in bikinis and guys with rippling muscles glistened in the Florida sunshine. Ocean breezes and a Diet Dr. Pepper kept me cool under the boardwalk at Fort Myers Beach while I only had eyes for grandson Daniel.
Jim and I stayed in a (great value and super clean -just click to see details) rental vacation home in Cape Coral, Florida, the city we called our home from 1986 to 1998.
Cape Coral was in a real estate development boom with homes under construction on every street when we arrived. We contracted for our home to be built and chose tropical colors for every room plus aqua Bahama-shutters at most windows for the Florida breezes. A lengthy screened lanai extended along the back of the house with French doors from the master bedroom and breakfast room to step casually to an in-ground Jacuzzi. Triple-sliding glass doors opened from the living area creating a barefoot indoor-outdoor style. Custom painted tiles with hibiscus, beach scenes and shells brightly decorated my kitchen back-splash, surrounding the kitchen counters and set the tropical vibe in the master bathroom. Each room was a new challenge to decorate and so much fun. Outside, we planted bougainvillea, tabebuia, hibiscus, croton, palm trees and much more. Then much too soon, we had to move. Owners of companies made decisions without consulting me, and we had to move on to jobs in another city, leaving the friends and home we loved so much. I didn’t know it when I shed tears, but wonderful adventures with beautiful surroundings and more loving friends were waiting for us ahead in Coconut Grove, Florida.
Two of our dearest friends, Wally and Dianna, welcomed us back to Cape Coral with the same warm connection we’ve always enjoyed with them. Wally seems to have knowledge about almost any subject while not seeming like a know-it-all; he can explain the workings of a vast number of things – especially anything in the nautical field! Dianna is truly in the same league, but I would say that her specialty is culinary. Her lovely mother was a caterer – and not just any caterer! Banquets for football teams and even the Governor of Florida were on her resume! I will try to get some recipes from Ms. Dianna; meanwhile, just enjoy a few pictures.
Wally and Dianna always have interesting friends – with the possible exception of us – and this evening was no different. We heard stories from a nice gentleman who lived in a Swiss castle when he was a youngster. His wife with long dark hair and beautiful eyes was lovely as a Russian princess, and she shared stories about her childhood that kept us spellbound. I think she should write a book since her stories are much more interesting than my life under the shadow of Opp’s water tower.
The white sands and abundant shells of Sanibel and Captiva Islands were on our agenda. However, these pristine islands were apparently on everyone’s list.
Traffic clogged the entry and exit roads, plus everywhere in between. We did see the islands again, and they are just as beautiful, not changed much at all. We know the relaxation of visiting without the crowds and finding a bucket of beautiful shells! We couldn’t eat at any of the favorite restaurants since they were packed out. There was no place to park so I could get a photo of the famous Bubble Room. I could taste the delicious cake which is served in huge slices. So close and yet not on my fork.
I’m sorry to say that Subway was our eating place, on the front porch. Nearby was a favorite shopping place of mine when we lived on the Florida West coast – Goodwill on Sanibel. They have great merchandise donated by those much wealthier than the Ambrous family. I found like-new Ralph Lauren capri pants for $6.99 and Jones New York shorts for the same price. Now, you know why l liked the store.
After our fine meal and shopping delights, we drove past mansions and cottages on Captiva with captivating names: Bali Hi, Livin’ on the Edge, Orange U Glad, Seas the Day, Hale Makai, Zurich by the Sea, Tenderly, Shell Seekers and Chateau Blanc.
I’ve only hit the high spots with my Spring Break story. If I open up with too much detail, an ocean wave of emotion will carry me away with memories of our home and our life in Cape Coral. For instance, we drove past our house that still has its soft peach paint color that I selected, and we saw the tall, spreading trees we put into the ground and nourished as small plants from the nursery. I thought about asking the owner’s permission to take pictures, and then we drove away deciding to leave it undone. It isn’t our house now. Better to think about our French cottage in Alabama!
My list of things to do was not checked in many of the boxes. Time flew! We did check the best box as often as possible. SEE AND HUG DANIEL AND HANNA! Check, check, check and check again!!