Monday's I plan to feature a guest writer, my husband. He has been painstakingly writing down the stories of his childhood to share them with his 9 year old niece. I wanted her to know what kind of childhood her beloved Uncle was able to enjoy. While enjoying them myself I thought these are so much fun to read, why not share them? So here are the short missives of his memories of growing up in wilds of Florida during the 1950's and 1960's. They're packed with misadventures, romance, and all the confusing things that can happen in our youth. Even though his hometown of Jacksonville is a big city with over a million residents now, during his childhood it was several small communities surrounded by countryside.
This is his story.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Memories of Fort Pierce
by Steven R. Hudson
The following stories are a collection of memories that I have been encouraged to put into writing by those who love me despite my many faults. Even though my life has not been one marked by great deeds or accomplishments, perhaps it will be a picture of life as it was many years ago before cell phones and video games. When children ran barefoot and innocent along forest paths and creek banks.
One of my earliest recollections is staying with my maternal grandmother. She and my mother's stepfather lived on Angle Road in Ft. Pierce, Florida, in an area that was at that time, typical
Grandma Cootie was a strict but very loving lady. She adored her grandchildren and would walk through fire to protect her family, displaying a fearlessness that belied her small 4' 10" stature. One day I was helping her gather eggs in the poultry yard and was attacked by a big tom turkey that managed to spur me good before grandma was able to get the bird away from me. After checking to see that I was not badly hurt, she retrieved a hatchet and promptly killed the turkey then dressed it. Later we all had a nice roast turkey dinner, compliments of the old belligerent bird.
Our family has always been a family of fishermen mostly out of necessity back then. Fresh fish was often on the evening menu and was the staple of most people of moderate means. We ate Snapper, Sea Trout, Croaker, Red Fish, Flounder and our favorite, Snook. Fish were abundant then. The river and creek banks were covered with Sea Grapes and Mangroves instead of condos and expensive houses like today. Fishing was as easy as driving down to the river bank and throwing out a baited hook. A fishing license was not needed and there were no size or number limits on the fish you caught. We never caught more fish than we needed, just enough for supper, served up with homemade hush puppies and cheese grits. We ate like royalty and did not even realize we were rich beyond measure. I can still see a picture in my mind of one of the fishing spots we went to then. I remember a beautiful tidal creek and a muddy bank at the water's edge covered with the holes of Fiddler Crabs. Spider-like roots of Mangroves formed a barrier on each side of the creek bank and you could see schools of Mullet cruising the shallow water. It was a splendid place.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~