My family moved to Florida in 1967.   We lived a block from the beach in Ft. Lauderdale (for a brief time), in a world of aqua, pink and white, and walked regularly into the salt water and breaking waves.  The days were hot, humid, and endless that first summer.  Experiencing a world so different than the one we left made an indelible impression.  Strange, tropical, glorious, sultry, exciting, sinful, unnatural, very natural.  I have similar feelings every time I return, but with years of memories added to the mix.

Florida has changed in many ways over the years.  Dad taught me to drive on a dirt road bordered by cow pastures, near our home in Plantation.  Today that road (Broward Boulevard continued) is an eight-lane raceway through a megalopolis of malls, theaters, restaurants, homes, condos, businesses, etc., and extends many miles west into the Everglades.

The population tripled.
Disney World happened.
And sometimes you're anxious to get home after a visit.

But Florida has also stayed the same.  The climate.  The natural beauty.  And the quaintness, funkiness, and healing spirit can still be found if you look in the right places.  That's why you're always, always longing to go back.

Here is my overdue homage to Florida, my home for many years.  I spent days going through 35 years of photos, looking for images that captured times and places, those that held memories of family and friends.  It was a a labor of love, a great nostalgic trip, and a reminder of how things were back in 'the day' through to the present.  (How do people remember their lives without pictures?)

Here are the photos I chose.  They are in stream-of-consciousness order because that's the way I think about Florida: in snatches that connect people, places, and moments.

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