365 Challenge: Day 119 – Fort Myers, Florida

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Fort Myers, Florida: a gateway to the southwest Florida region and the city of my birth

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. In the third set of five, we discovered all the colors (excluding black and white) that have an important meaning to me. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. This is our fourth grouping, covering weeks #16 thru #20 of the 365 Daily Challenge, and the topics will be: the 5 Places I’ve lived!

Last week was the city I currently live in (NYC), and so it makes sense that this week would be all about the city where I first lived — where I was born: Fort Myers, Florida. But before we get into those details, a few interesting facts about this lovely place:

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  • Fort Myers was one of the first forts built on the Caloosahatchee River to protect the European-American settlers against the Native Americans during the American Indian Wars in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • It was founded as a community at the end of the Civil War in 1866 and was formally incorporated as a city in 1885.
  • It is most famously known as one of the places where Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford lived for many winters, escaping the cold snow in the north.
  • For more information, you can check Wikipedia.

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So how does a guy like me get from Fort Myers, Florida to NYC… let’s roll back the clock to a few generations before I was actually born. My paternal grandparents were born and raised in NYC, as were many of their ancestors before them. They moved from NYC to Long Island, New York when my father was 13-years old and resided there until about 1970. All three of their kids were done with high school and moving on with their own lives and into their own homes. My grandparents wanted to live in a warmer temperature and visited some friends in Florida. While down there, they were driving around and found a beautiful piece of property in Fort Myers and a potential new business to own. Next thing… they moved to Florida and opened a bar in the early 1970s.

Shortly afterwards, my father and mother met and got married. They visited my grandparents after their honeymoon in the Bahamas, deciding they too loved Florida. They bought a piece of property on a canal and planned to have a house built in the future. Given some things going on in NY with my mom’s side of the family, my parents decided to move to Fort Myers sooner than they’d originally planned, found out that my mom was pregnant with me and committed to the change. They lived with my grandparents in their Florida home for a while and then right about the time their new house was built, I was born. {Aside: Silent pause for a riveting round of applause}

I have very few memories of my time in Florida, as I only lived there for about two years. What I do remember are two key things, both of which involve the canal that ran through our backyard. First, we always had a family of ducks who would swim in the water and nest in the yard. I have pictures of me following a family of ducks around, barely a year old, walking all over the place with them. I’m surprised the ducks didn’t bite me, but animals have always been drawn to me. The picture is not scanned, and I don’t have a scanner, so I can’t add it here. But you can imagine it! Or look at a similar one I found.

Second, we also had several alligators that would swim up and crawl out of the canal in the backyard. My father had a German Shepard dog, Lady, who I spent every waking moment with while I was very young. Lady would protect me from anyone and everyone, curling up under my crib, sitting next to me on the couch.  Well… she was not letting any alligator get near me. Luckily, they were smaller alligators and Lady could keep them at bay. But we also have a few pictures of Lady chasing alligators, me standing a few feet away from them, and my dad laughing about the whole thing. He knew Lady would protect me, so they weren’t too worried. And she seemed to enjoy her playtime with the gatas, as I would call them. Oh… the things you do as a child. Nowadays, I wouldn’t step foot near one of those suckers! Well, maybe I’d ride one for fun.

By the time I was two-years old, we left Florida and moved back to Long Island, as my maternal grandmother passed away. My mom had younger siblings to take care of, as well as be with her father through the initial mourning period. And that’s the extent of my stint in Fort Myers. I once drove by/through it in the mid-2000s when I visited Florida on a short vacation. We drove from somewhere further north through the outskirts on our way to the Keys; however, I wasn’t sure of the exact address and we were really pressed for time. So I never really made it back to see the area where I was born. And now… well… if the temperature reaches 60 degrees, I turn into an awful human being that no one wants to be around. So little chances of me ever moving back there, it would seem. Maybe if I start running ice through my veins instead of blood, then I might be cooled off enough.

How about you? Anyone else from south Florida? Anyone else born and raised in very different parts of the country? Stay tuned next Sunday for the third location I’ve lived, which if you guess Long Island, you guessed correctly!

 

 

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Kristin @ ASimplyEnchantedLife. Kristin and I met about 3 months ago through WordPress and Goodreads. I don’t recall which one came first, but you must absolutely check out her website. The color scheme, fonts and pictures are always beautiful, and you leave feeling tranquil and refreshed. Kristin’s site has lots of content, but primarily focuses on book reviews and faith & family lifestyle ideas. We may not read too many books in common, but we’ve found a few and always connect on good characters and beautiful settings. I’m very intrigued by all the Amish fiction she reads, as it has such a fantastic sound to it… but what makes Kristin someone to know is how wonderful of a person she has been in the little time we’ve known one another. With 6 young girls to take care, this mom knows how to keep things running… I honestly don’t know how she finds the time to keep up with her own posts and blog, let alone comment and chat with me about my posts (which we all know are plentiful), and I’m sure lots of other people, too. Please stop by and check out the spectacular layout and design on her site… and you’ll stay for a while searching for all the great content.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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32 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 119 – Fort Myers, Florida

    Roda said:
    July 9, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    If you visit the farm, the ducks can follow you once again!!!💚

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 9, 2017 at 7:51 AM

      That’s true!!! Good plan. Love the pics from your trip.

      Liked by 1 person

        Roda said:
        July 9, 2017 at 7:55 AM

        Very soon, my spotty service will go away completely!!😜

        Liked by 1 person

    Kristin said:
    July 9, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Aww, thank you so much for recommending my blog ❤ You're the best!

    This post feels kind of fitting since I just dropped a fairly large bomb in my weekly wrap up about moving—the ocean, finding home. And here you are—born of the sea. I might just love you even more now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 9, 2017 at 8:43 AM

      Moving… what? I opened your wrap up but was planning to read it while we’re driving upstate to see some friends for the day. I am excited to see what’s going on… and you’re welcome. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Kristin said:
        July 9, 2017 at 8:45 AM

        Oh it’s long and rambling and just a plan. It’ll take time because financially we can’t swing it yet. It’s definitely a plan though. I will look forward to your thoughts ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 9, 2017 at 10:10 AM

        Just read it! Will ponder today and respond tonight or tomorrow. Very exciting prospects.

        Liked by 1 person

        Kristin said:
        July 9, 2017 at 11:41 AM

        Awesome! Can’t wait to hear what you think. Do you think a personal blog is a good idea? I don’t want my extended family and/or acquaintances to know our plans. I doubt local people even read my blog but…just in case.

        Liked by 1 person

    kerrymckim said:
    July 9, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    Thanks for sharing! I have never been but I will someday. That is where the Red Sox do their spring training.

    Liked by 1 person

    Mischenko said:
    July 9, 2017 at 10:52 AM

    Very interesting family story, James! I loved reading it. I’ve never been to Florida, but my uncle has always lived there, even through hurricanes. Hope to visit one day. You sound just like me with the heat. As much as the pool has brought me joy this summer, I can’t wait for fall and winter. Cozy reading! Great post. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 9, 2017 at 7:28 PM

      Thank you! We need some cool weather. And autumn scents. And cider.

      Hopefully the hurricanes didn’t impact him too much.

      Liked by 1 person

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    July 9, 2017 at 11:25 AM

    I’m not from south Florida, but I grew up and spent most of my adult life in Panama City, FL (Panhandle coast). Very beautiful there. My older brother used to be in the charter boat business years ago. In the winter he would move his boats south and operate out of Fort Myers for those months.
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    July 9, 2017 at 8:25 PM

    Don’t know south Florida….but I know Long Island….

    Liked by 1 person

    MoJo said:
    July 10, 2017 at 12:09 AM

    Can we stop applauding now? 😉 We have gators out back as well but thankfully they stay behind the fence. I’ve yet to slap a bridle on one but I may consider it if gas prices spike again. You mentioned your disdain for the heat, but NY gets pretty hot and sweaty as well, no? Or am I just remembering what it’s like inside the cabs? (Btw that was not written with salacious undertones. I was referring to the lack of air conditioner all the cabbies seem to sport.)

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 10, 2017 at 7:57 AM

      Yes, sorry to leave you hanging with sore hands from clapping for so long. How rude of me. Alligators.. hehe… yes, NY is awfully hot in the summer for me. It’s been 80s for the last month with several bursts up to 95. I can’t take it. I want to move to somewhere cooler.

      And yes, the cabs are awful, but I kinda forgive them because having AC on in a car for 8 to 10 hours a day will eventually run it down, so they can’t really keep up on a hot day. I just avoid the subways then!

      Like

        MoJo said:
        July 10, 2017 at 8:34 AM

        I have visions of you hiding out in a grocery store dairy cabinet and that really amuses me. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        July 10, 2017 at 11:47 AM

        Yes! I would do that. I could totally be happy there.

        Like

    […] via 365 Challenge: Day 119 – Fort Myers, Florida — this-is-my-truth-now […]

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    Patty said:
    July 13, 2017 at 7:02 PM

    I’m not from there but my husband has an aunt and several cousins who live in Indian rocks Beach Florida. We love traveling there it’s so beautiful and quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 13, 2017 at 7:05 PM

      I’ve got some friends and some family who moved to different parts of Florida. I have a feeling I may be visiting there more often! It is definitely beautiful and quiet. But also hot.

      Liked by 1 person

        Patty said:
        July 13, 2017 at 7:11 PM

        Not as hot and humid as South Carolina 😂

        Liked by 1 person

    […] via 365 Challenge: Day 119 – Fort Myers, Florida — This Is My Truth Now […]

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    […] week was the city where I was born (Fort Myers, Florida) but this week is the place where I grew up — Long Island, New York. But before we get into […]

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    Ann Marie Bryant said:
    July 16, 2017 at 8:34 PM

    visited Fort Meyers while on vacation…I really enjoyed the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    Mama Cass said:
    July 19, 2017 at 9:27 PM

    Omg! I’m from Ft Myers! My family as been in Florida since the 1700s

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 19, 2017 at 9:30 PM

      Really? Wow! Your an original! I will have to ask what street we lived on.

      Like

        Mama Cass said:
        July 19, 2017 at 10:24 PM

        How cool to have that in common! Sure ask a way!

        Liked by 1 person

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