Sunday, December 15, 2013

These Roots Grow Deep

the McClellan property in Wellborn Florida
I find it incredible to think that a descendant of a signer of the original Florida State Constitution would be a person who has never set foot in the state of Florida. But that is the case in my own situation.

How far-flung we as a people have become, that our lives today are so removed from that of our ancestors, not only in time, but in place.

How precious it would be to regain what archivist blogger Melissa Mannon calls “a sense of place.”

It was interesting capturing the vignettes of Florida visits of my maternal grandparents and their family, found among my aunt’s belongings last month.

There is my grandfather, in some February, 1949, photographs—though now in his fifties, looking as athletic as ever—spending time at the original McClellan property of his wife’s ancestors. The farm is now abandoned, and I believe it is no longer owned by anyone in the family, but these pictures capture a bit about what the place once was.

rowboat on Lake McClellanMy mother used to remember the farm hands getting up impossibly early (well, in the eyes of an urban dweller of the twenty-first century) to fish for their breakfast in the lake—a lake, once entirely surrounded by the McClellan property, which now actually bears the former owner’s name.

By 1949, my grandfather could take a row boat out there, on that lake, just as the farm hands had done for probably the last one hundred years.

Now, however, though the place is still there and the name recalls the memories, it is a place long abandoned by those who once benefitted from its bounty.

At least we still have the photographs.

standing by the palm trees in Miami Florida


  1. Palm Trees oh my I love them...makes me feel warmer! Great old photos! In the first one it looks like grapes or some kind of vines were growing or had been growing. have never seen that growing. I noticed some initals in the palm tree are they significant?

    1. If there was any place that could use some of those warm Florida temperatures right now, it would be up your way! It's possible those were grape vines--the climate would be right.

      I saw those initials carved into the palm tree, too. I don't think they are connected to my grandparents, though. This was a public park area, so they could have been the "handiwork" of any random person. Who knows???

  2. Such a "dynamic" man! That dog probably had a hard time keeping up with him!

    1. He was pretty active, Iggy. He was out running after work every night before running after work became fashionable. My mom used to tell me he ran in his wingtips because there wasn't any such thing as running shoes back then.


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