residence

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:

fort mrer

  • 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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365 Challenge: Day 112 – NYC

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NYC: New York City; a major metropolitan area in the state of New York and the country of the United States of America

nyc

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!

Since everyone who reads my blog likely knows I live in New York City, as I’ve mentioned it a few times, it’s the most logical place to start. But what you may not know is that I’ve lived in two of the five boroughs over different periods in my life. But before we get into those details, a few interesting facts about New York City:

  • When Europeans first appeared, the land was inhabited by the Algonquian Native Americans, specifically the Lenape tribes.
  • It was originally settled in the 1620s by the Dutch and referred to as New Amsterdam. By the 1660s, when the British seized control, King Charles gave the lands to his brother, the Duke of York… hence how it became known as New York City.
  • In the mid-1700s, it was a central port for incoming slaves and NYC had the largest number of households (~40%) with indentured servants and domestic slaves.
  • It was the first capital of the United States, when the nation was first formed, until it moved elsewhere around the year 1800.
  • If you include all 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), it comes close to a population of 10 million people of 300 square miles in 2017.

New York City became my home for the first time in 2007 when I moved cross-country for the second time (more on that in coming Sunday posts) and did not want to live in the suburbs where I had grown up. I felt like Brooklyn would be the ideal spot for me at that time and remotely searched for an apartment to rent for when I’d move back that fall. Cobble Hill seemed to be the best mixture of urban and suburban, and I found a garden level apartment in a brownstone that I rented for two months from Halloween through New Years. I’d just adopted Ryder that Thanksgiving weekend, too, so his first home with me at 12 weeks was Brooklyn!

After the two-month lease was up, we found a more permanent apartment that we rented for one year in what was called Downtown Brooklyn, right on the border of an area in the gentrification process. I loved living in Brooklyn. I could buy drugs on one corner (no, I never did), but I had a trendy Whole Foods on the other corner. I had a 30-minute door-to-door subway commute into midtown Manhattan where I worked. There were tons of restaurants and bars, a hip and trendy vibe for my late twenties and a grown-up apartment as I began my thirties. It’s also where poor Ryder was kicked out of 3 doggy day care centers for his rowdy behavior. I was so mortified that I could have a child who would misbehave, as I was a quiet and shy kid who I don’t think ever cried or did anything bad. Punishment for something, I suppose… But like all good things, Brooklyn came to an end when I moved back to the suburbs for more space for a few years.

But I returned in 2012 when my job became life-consuming and the 90 minute commute each way was too much of a burden. I was up at 5:15 AM to be on a train and at work by 7:30 AM, then left about 7:30 PM each night, arriving at home with some take-out dinner around 9:15 PM. I had 8 hours to get everything else done, play with the dog, keep the house maintained and spend time with my other half.  That was not working!

I chose Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan this time, a mere 20-minute walk or 6-minute subway ride as my new commute. I lived in two apartments during the first two years, but by 2014, it was time to buy my first NYC pad… we looked everywhere, but found our dream home (for the city) on the East Side where we now reside. I live among all the things I love… quiet neighbors, cul-de-sac street, older building with great charm and tall ceilings, a 700 sq. ft. outdoor terrace for Ryder to have a nice space to run around and chase birds and bugs. He brings me at least one of each nearly ever week. It’s better than the other animals he’d bring me when we lived in the suburbs. He is a little scrapper. But like The Jeffersons, I was moving on up to the East Side!

NYC means a lot of things to many people. Between Wall Street, Broadway and Harlem, the crowd is one of the the most eclectic and diverse in the world. I love that I can hear up to 800 different languages in my city, and that I meet at least ten people from different cultures on a quiet day… between crossing the street to pick up dry cleaning, get lunch, stop at the bank, walk Ryder or meet friends for dinner, I’m always sure to recognize a new ethnicity and remember why this can be the greatest city in the world.

But to me, NYC means something different. It’s the place I call home not because I want or choose to be here, but because I grew up nearby in the suburbs. I didn’t choose this place, it seems to have chosen me. One branch of my family tree moved from upstate New York into Manhattan as early as the 1830s, which means my family has considered NYC home for nearly 200 years. At least one member of every generation in my family has lived here, whether it was the Bronx or Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan. Staten Island is the only borough we’ve never actually lived in, at least to my knowledge.

As I look to the future, NYC will be home for a little while longer, but not forever. I’m already beginning the search for where we will choose to move next. But no matter what happens or where I go, we will always come back here a few times a year to experience what it feels like to be home.

 

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.