Friday, May 12, 2017

When I Thought About It, My Head Spun


Big Lagoon State Park
12301 Gulf Beach Hwy
Pensacola, FL 32507
GPS: 30.31380o, -087.41318o
Elevation: 223 feet

"Wake Up To Wonderful" is the tagline for The Egg and I Restaurant where we began our second full day in Pensacola. This chain restaurant is a new one in our book of eating experiences. The food and service were good. So have a meal there if you encounter one. The name "Egg and I" recalled a book that was popular many years ago, so I looked it up. Here is what Wikipedia told me:

The Egg and I, first published in 1945, is a humorous memoir by American author Betty MacDonald about her adventures and travels as a young wife on a chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The book is based on the author's experiences as a newlywed in trying to acclimate and operate a small chicken farm with her first husband Robert Heskett from 1927 to 1931 near Chimacum, Washington. On visits with her family in Seattle, she told stories of their tribulations, which greatly amused them. In the 1940s, MacDonald's sisters strongly encouraged her to write a book about these experiences. The Egg and I was MacDonald's first attempt at writing a book.

So much for useless trivia.

Today we took a guided tour of the Historic Pensacola Project by University of West Florida Historic Trust Museum – a small section of downtown Pensacola set aside to capture the early history of the city and thereby west Florida. Groups of noisy school children, loud buses, and intermittent rain with lightning and thunder made the job of our poor tour guide almost impossible and our experience less than three stars.

Like most others, this tour walked us through the preserved homes of a few of the wealthy, as the guide gave us the story of their lives in the face of hardship in this wild and hostile land. Reflect though that hardship is a relative thing. Those who faced real hardship never had a house to be preserved and placed on a historic tour. They went nameless to the grave as will most of us.

Amidst the thunder and lightning, a bolt of lightning hit me that makes the story for this post.

I grew up in Philadelphia, PA, what is known as 'the mid-Atlantic'. Our history is simple. We were a British colony, then a commonwealth in the USA. Never anything else. Period, end of story.

Not so with this part of the country, and many parts of the world for that matter. What happens to normal life if every few years you belong to a different country? A new government, new laws, new language, new currency, new history taught in schools. How about new definitions of legal and illegal? How does an attorney practice law? What about contract law? And inheritance law?

I put this together to illustrate what I believe could have, should have, and probably was chaos.

Time Capsule of Western Florida

1513 -- First European contact made by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León
1539 -- Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida and entered the Mississippi River.
1565 -- Saint Augustine founded by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (that is east Florida)

YEARS
RULER
DURATION (yrs)
1559–1719
Spain
180
1719–1722
France
3
1722–1763
Spain
41
1763–1781
Britain
18
1781–1821
Spain
40
1821–1861
USA
40
1861–1865
CSA
3
1865 to present
USA
152 so far

What happened to the average settlers who ventured to this new land, encouraged by their home government with the promise of great fortune? Did they give it all up and head home when the administration changed? Life went on somehow. So maybe none of this mattered. After all, most of this political monopoly game was being played thousands of miles away across an ocean. When I thought about it, my head spun.

This query was not part of our guide's script, so he continued to talk about the difficulty of having pianos and wallpaper shipped from Europe to the settlements in the new world. Maybe I should stop speculating and do some research myself?

After the tour fell apart due to the rain, we took refuge in the Pensacola Bay Brewery, where I tried a local brew whose name I didn't write down.
A welcome respite on a rainy day

I bought one of these glasses to add to my collection.


The rain stopped but everything was still drippy, so we spent some time in the museum. I recognized some of this from my youth, proving that I belong in a museum.
I commuted to high school on trollies like this one. They were green though.


We finished off our day with dinner at Hub Stacey's At The Point
Hub Stacey's At The Point --
an interesting restaurant near our campground


Michelle and I each had a cup of Lobster Bisque and half a Tuna Salad sandwich. Delicious.

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