Sunday, January 14, 2007

Leaps Of Faith

(Best dog, Ranger in Labrador heaven)

For most of 1988, we lived in park housing at Fort Matanzas National Monument, I had been stationed there before earlier in the '80's also, so our combined time on the island was longer than it seems. It was at this time, with a new baby, and a little different view of things, that I was exploring the possibility of teaching. We had bought our 10 acres over on the wild coast of Florida and really wanted to put down roots and raise Katie and whoever else might join our family as Floridians ... real (dare I say, "Pure?") Floridians.

You don't have to understand that, just know that it was extremely important to us. For me, it took 3 years of living outta' state to realize just how important it was.

We took the Fort Matanzas assignment as a convenient way to get back to Florida, but I knew I was going. I just wasn't sure of the timing. This was a toughie ... I had spent a big chunk of the 80's in the NPS and was a good Ranger.

Things just don't happen of course. You make them happen. So, I slipped over to the county where our 10 acres was located and interviewed for teaching jobs. There were none at the time, or at least ... none were offered to me!

Then in August, I got the call. A teacher was leaving, could I start ASAP?

A two week notice and I was gone. During those two weeks, we found out Emma was on her way and we were in the "no health insurance" gap between jobs. Also, the county I was going to teach in only issued pay checks once a month! As if it were 1875 or something.

So from Island Paradise with steady if small paychecks and the familiar ... we went to this. I lived in a motel for about 2 weeks when the teaching job started. Mrs. FC and Katie came over later after our mobile home (from our sojurn in Savannah) arrived on the property.

We had been living in this in Savannah to avoid rent and were trying to sell it long distance when the teaching call came through. We immediately had it shipped to our land. This would be our home for about 9 months.
To her credit, the increasingly pregnant Mrs. FC did not divorce me or run screaming from the marriage. Posted by Picasa


pablo said...

I'm guessing that you're talking about the FIRST Mrs. FC, right?

Laura said...

Just bust out laughing over the caption of the photo of Katie in the post below... LOL! I read the post to Rick and he's laughing here. Our lives are a little bit similar, he also lived in a hotel for 2 weeks when we moved here, and I was still up in G'ville. It was a fairly run down hotel, too. yech.

We also bought a mobile home and put it on 5 acres of land during the same time period! 1987, and Samantha was born in 1988. The hardest thing to do was to sell the mobile home so we could build our house!

You all have been through a lot to get to where you are today. That once a month paycheck must have been killer. Hope Katie resolved her drinking problem in due time. LOL.

Deb said...

Thanks for telling your story! I had been wondering if you had to go back to college when you made the career switch--you must have already had the teaching credits. Good planning!

And, no Bud for my babies either! :)

Floridacracker said...

In for a bite of lunch (chicken pilau) after working on the canoe, my aquaculture tank, visiting the pig, etc.

Oh yeah. You are correct.

I am always amazed at the similarities in our family paths :)
My motel was rundown too.
The monthly paycheck schedule changed to biweekly eventually. Typical of the school bureacracy to drag it out and collect interest on their employees pay.

While still a Ranger in Savannah, I began taking evening courses in education to prepare for the switch. We have to MAKE things happen, but you know that.

SophieMae said...

That really is a beautiful hunk of Flarda dirt - er, sand! And a right handsome dawg. It's getting harder and harder for me to face selling our place here, coz I know we'll never be able to afford a 'comparable' these days.

If I'd known 'then' what I knows now, I'm pretty sure I'da been a ranger myownself. And maybe not given up that teaching scholarship. Ah, hindsight.

Re sheepehead, that's a neat trick. LOL! I've known people who can do it, but I have yet to get the hang of it. Do love me a nice sheepshead dinner, though. Oh, yeah.

Hurricane Teen said...

Ah, FC, Chocolate Labs melt my heart!...And I am very jealous of the Chicken Pilau right now.

I understand your wanting to raise your kinds in a "pure" part of Florida. I do, too...unfortunately it's disappearing do fast, and whatever's left is so expensive, that I'm afraid I'm doomed to cookie-cutter subdivisions myself. "Dear Lord, what has happened to this land I love?"

ImagineMel said...

Thanks for your comment. I'll have to print it out for her. I am relieved to know Katy has overcome her difficulties! And sorry about the whole weirdo dress up sword kid...It's only going to get worse the closer we get to the medieval fair. *sigh* Happy day off tomorrow!

swamp4me said...

Ranger to teacher, teacher to ranger...we are living opposite lives :) But if you think about it, both jobs deal with education -- mine just has a law enforcement component.

I am relieved to learn that you don't drink Bud, but it begs the question of where Katie got the can. Perhaps you have outgrown Bud and have graduated to real beers since this photo was taken.

vicki said...

I'm loving this saga. As I read it I think back to my own transition to responsible adulthood and wonder what it will look like for these children of ours.

That Katie was one cute munchkin. When the time comes she deserves a quality brew.

Floridacracker said...

Our house sits right in front of where that trailer sits in the photo.

The pilau was perfect with a little datil vinegar drizzled on it. You can't imagine how fine that dog was... sigh.

They took the video camera and made a Blair Witch style movie that had us in stitches.

My big brother has never outgrown the Bud we drank as farm laborers in our misspent youth. It was his can after a picnic on the "lawn". My dad put it in Katie's hand ... clown!

You could just eat her up!

Alan said...

Better a mobile home that's yours than to live in a mansion that belongs to someone else.


Floridacracker said...

That's exactly why we bought that singlewide. We were renting a house in Savannah one day, mobile home owners the next.

Thunder Dave said...

Good boy Ranger, Good boy! (spoken in your best doggie voice of course!)

Floridacracker said...

Of course!

Zanne said...

Wonderful post. I know exactly what you mean about the "real" Florida and pure Floridians. My ancestors were among the first white settlers in Florida and my grandmother was Seminole. Unforuntately, I had the very, very bad luck to be born and mostly raised outside of Chicago.

But never you mind....while my father was serving his country for the 2nd time (in Korea) we lived in a sharcroppers shack on my uncles land in the very rural Florida panhandle. That's where the sugar sand got under my skin and where I came to the realization that no matter my circumstances of birh - I AM A FLORIDIAN through and through.

On my most recent visit to Florida I put thousands of miles on the rental car, leaving the Orlando hotel at the crack of dawn each morning as my husband trotted off to his golf tournament. I was in search of the real Florida - probably only real Floridians would have a realization of what that means.

I am positive I drove within miles of your property on my quest. The place that took my breath away was Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Cross Creek. The guide must have thought I lost my mind because my eyes filled with tears when I entered the old wire gate into "the land that time forgot". It fit like an old glove. The old Florida does exist, if only in my memory and a lovingly kept monument to Rawlings.

The cracker sharecroppers shack has long collapsed, but that place felt more like home than this 13-room mini-mansion where I currently reside.

Thanks for a daily reminder of the pure Florida.