A Wanderer Comes Home
When I speak to groups at libraries and bookstores, I often ask, “How many of you were born here in Florida?”
Usually no hands go up. So I’m that rare bird, a pelican if you will, who can claim to be a native Floridian, born in Jacksonville.
However, I didn’t get to stay here long. I was four years old when my father got out of the Navy, and my parents moved back to Southern Illinois so he could finish college. But my mother was a Southerner through and through and her mother lived in Summerville, SC, a small town outside of Charleston. Every summer we drove down there to spent time with my maternal grandmother and great aunt. In the long summer nights, they told us stories about “the War of Northern Aggression” while we swayed back and forth in the porch swing on the piazza of their historic home.
I’ve also lived in Vincennes, Indiana (where I grew up); Muncie, IN (where I attended Ball State University); Central Illinois; St. Louis, MO (17 years); Sunningdale, a suburb of London, UK; metro-Washington, DC; and now I’m back to Florida. The minute I saw this little white cottage on the beach in Jupiter Island, I felt like I’d come home.
My friend Elaine Viets told me she has a serious case of “office envy.” That makes me laugh. Others have said, “If I had your office, I’d never get any writing done. I’d be looking out the window all the time.” But the truth is that this is my favorite room in the house, and it inspires me. I’m surrounded by things that spur my creativity. I keep several collections here, including figurines of hedgehogs and turtles, a small number of seashells, and tons of books. Actually every room in the house has a bookcase, except my laundry room. Hmmm. That’s an idea!