With snow in the forecast I question the fact Spring Break is now history. Nonetheless, just one week ago, Trey and I were dribbling the basketball in sunny Homestead, Florida. This vacation was Trey's chance to experience what life is like on an avocado farm. I reason, the more my kids understand my youth, the better they understand my decisions and parenting style. Like it or not, we parent often according to how our parents "parented" us. To some regard, Ron is better understood simply because we live in his "hood." His childhood home is a block away; we are surrounded by his friends and family; the kids attend the same schools and sports programs from his youth. In my case, I have a lot of "explainin" to do! Everybody wants to be "known," particularly by their kids and spouses. Trey likely better understands why I value fresh foods, quality family time (even if it involves work), exercise, and frugality simply from the 6 days we spent in Homestead.
From the back yard view one would think life on the avocado farm was a splash... and we did have fun. But we also worked a lot. School friends became hired hands picking avocados 8 or more hours a day. Potential boyfriends were no longer options once they worked for my dad! Without a doubt my siblings and I developed a strong work ethic, responsibility, and thrift; we also learned to value education. Never did we want to rely on manual labor for our livelihood; although ironically a lot of the exercise I do would be unnecessary if I continued my Florida avocado picker career! Activity, exercise, movement, daily functional activities strengthens and preserves our bodies. My dad, at almost 80 is living proof. The amount of walking, lifting, mechanical work performed on the farm keeps him moving like a teenager, or even younger, considering these days many of our teens are hunched over computers, desks, and Ipads.
Trey with his grandpa, "Poppy," upon our spring break arrival. Poppy was a Delta Airlines pilot for 30 years in addition to an avocado farmer. At the age of 60 he retired from Delta but once a farmer always a farmer...no retirement in sight yet. He began with 5 acres in 1965 but continued to buy more land and in 1975 (the year my brother was born) built our home in the middle of now a 40 acre grove. My mom, by virtue of association became co-director of the farm in addition to her varied duties as full-time mom, teacher, and community volunteer.
All our years spent in the Redlands agricultural area brings us to the primary purpose of our vacation; assisting my parents in downsizing and decluttering much of what they accumulated and acquired through their 50 years of marriage, friendships, work and farming. Certainly a sensitive subject as so much of what we "store for safe-keeping" may be viewed as outdated or insignificant to children, friends, or strangers. Whether in a classroom, substituting, tutoring, or volunteering, teaching children has always been part of my mom's purpose and passion. One of the greatest areas of accumulation in our garage was schoolbooks, teaching aids, worksheets, folders, toys, and flashcards. Some supplies were from her original teaching history in Miami (1965 )while others, more recent texts, purchased at local garage sales. She will be the first to admit, one of her primary hobbies and social activities is rummaging. Garage sales have uncovered priceless keepsakes but also an excess of items. (Refer to my January post, Uggs or Ughs, for some of her outrageous, new, and useful finds!)
When my parents confessed they desired to release some stuff (admittedly much of it scrapbooks, love letters and photos from my youth); Mike, Shannon and I jumped at the opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane. One might say all the stuff, "drove us to the bottle (pictured above,)" but in reality we had a blast. Beautiful weather and a concentrated purpose on helping our parents decrease "stuff;" stuff potentially affecting their emotional and physical health. We focused our efforts in the garage and attic of our home plus the "old" toolshed pictured below.
My brother is a humorous, patient, easy-going guy...he also has advanced tech skills. He posted this pic on facebook when his services were requested to update our 1984 entertainment system (record player and cassette deck included.) "This was behind my parents entertainment center - Dad says "why don't you just get this organized, need to plug everything back in neatly when the new one comes Tuesday" Over the 30+ years, quite a few wires/components have evidently been installed and uninstalled. #rustyclarkgriswald
Thank you for reading about our vacation! If ever you are headed to South Florida and desire a "tour", let me know, my dad is always looking for willing workers! The avocado grove makes an ideal youth camp for suburban kids. Please bring me back a strawberry milkshake and warm cinnamon bun...I'm having withdrawals! Happy Spring XO