My dad is a kind man, one of the kindest I know. I can’t remember the last time I heard him raise his voice. It may have been that time in the sixth grade when I slammed the door and broke the window when he wouldn’t let me have my own way.
My dad is creative. He has a way with words. Poems he wrote for me when I turned twenty-one and when I got married are proof of that. He also enjoys sketching, even though his eyesight is failing.
My dad loves the sea. A native Floridian, he grew up spending his summers on a Gulf island. He served in the Coast Guard after high school and spent part of his time living on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He and my mom spent their honeymoon on their favorite island.
Many of my childhood memories of my dad involve the beach. Most family vacations were spent on one of the islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Dad taught me how to body surf and the names of all of the seashells we found. We visited the pier and watched the people fishing, hoping to see a shark. Many a Saturday was spent on one of the boats we owned over the years.
We had a favorite beach we would always visit. You may have heard of it — Anna Maria Island. It was and still is our favorite slice of paradise. When my brother and I were young, and our family was at the beach, we would daydream about pulling up stakes and moving to the beach. Always Anna Maria Island. My dad was a baker so our daydream always included opening a bakery on the island. He would do the baking and my mom, brother and I would make deliveries.
Dreams Come True – Sort Of
Well, a few years ago, that dream partially came true. My husband and I along with my parents bought a house on Anna Maria Island. We did not, however, open a bakery, but we know of a really great one down the road that makes delicious muffins, cookies and cakes. We all enjoy spending time on this beautiful island.
There are so many memories of times spent on the island. Memories from my childhood, to times spent here with my husband to introducing this place to my children. One of my favorite things is to hear my dad’s special memories of the island.
He spent many summers of his childhood on the island. His mother would load up all her kids the day after school got out and head down to AMI. They would rent a wood-frame house near the beach as did other families from their hometown. My father’s grandmother worked at a hotel on the island and his father helped build a bridge to the island. They would stay on the island until just before it was time to go back to school.
I love to hear my dad talk about his summers on the island. It would have been in the 1940’s so it looked much different from today — more woods and not as many houses. The children had much more freedom to explore and find an adventure. A couple of years ago, we rented a golf cart and drove up and down the streets on the island. He pointed out some of the homes they stayed in and the homes of the friends he hung out with. Nostalgia.
My husband’s parents lived on the island for a couple of years when his two sisters were babies. We speculated that my teenaged dad may have passed by a young mother with her daughters playing on the beach at some point. Little would he have known that it was his future daughter’s future mother-in-law!
Anna Maria Island will always be a special place for me. There are so many memories. I’m especially glad that I share so many of these memories with my dad. I’m also happy to be spending this Father’s Day weekend with him on the island.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
Love, Your Darling Daughter