I’m writing this note from my old bedroom in Englewood, Florida. Once the place I used to lock myself in for hours to chat on the phone with friends, surf the Internet, and sometimes do homework, it’s now not only my mom’s office but it’s home to treasures from my family’s past. A photo of my mom’s parents when they were dating and one of a baby-faced boy in an Army uniform (her dad), a photo of my great great grandfather on my dad’s side working on the family island in Maine as a lobsterman, another of him in a tiny cabin keeping warm on a break, and transcripts of interviews my grandparents did about the town they raised their family in.
I’ve always been fascinated with history, but I never really began to discover my own until recently. Growing up my grandparents lived in Boca Grande on the close-by island of Gasparilla. I remember looking at Papa’s old photo album with pictures of his service during World War II and hearing Nana talk about her parents, both natives of Scotland. She was first generation in the United States. When my grandmother passed away, we looked through tons of old photos from when she and my grandfather were young. We found old letters that my grandfather wrote home while he was in World War II, in his own handwriting. I could almost hear the words come alive in his own voice.
While these blasts from the past were a fun reminder of what amazing relatives I have, I know there is so much more to learn about both sides of my family. This month, I had the opportunity to meet Victoria Laney (page ??), a resident of Ocoee, and was inspired by her stories of discovering who she was by tracing her family history and by how far back her stories reached. I learned where I can go to research my family’s past and to get to know the relatives I’ve never met. Now that I know what to do, you can be sure I’ve added tracing my family’s history to my to-do list for this year.
What We’re Working On
Central Florida Traditions
Are you a native of Central Florida? Do you have any local traditions? Maybe you always go to the Silver Spurs rodeo in Kissimmee or take a yearly trip to Gatorland. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it.
Family Friendly Entertainment
Tell us what you and your family do for fun in Orlando besides the theme parks. From your favorite putt-putt place to fun parks to play at, we want to know the best places to go.
Correction: In the January issue, Heather Moncher was misidentified as Heather Cortes. She is David Cortes’ personal trainer, not his wife. His wife’s name is Lenida Cortes.