Category Archives: Victorian

Freedom – Just How Free Are We Right Now?

Standard

The concept of freedom is completely ambivalent. While I live in America, Home of the Free and Land of the Brave, I do enjoy a wide number of freedoms that citizens across the world do not. I can speak about what I wish to whomever I wish. I can come and go at will pretty much wherever I wish. I can write whatever I want without fear of censorship, although there are times recently when that seems threatened. I have the freedom to worship, or not, as I wish and to say whatever I feel about God or his non-existence.

So why is it that I feel trapped and without freedom? Six years ago my mother died of a massive brain aneurism and I transplanted my youngish family from our established 25-year home in the growing metropolis of Jacksonville. We moved 80 miles west to a community with a blinking light and post office as its claim to fame between Lake City and Live Oak. My father, married for over 50 years, needed a surrogate care-taker because he’d never cooked or done laundry. So we chose to move. We sold our house and moved into a dream house. A 100-year-old Victorian with wrap-around porch, huge floored attic, the biggest bedrooms we’ve ever seen, completely renovated and beautiful, on 5 lovely acres in the country. Mama and Daddy had done wonders with it over the 20 years they’d worked on it. Daddy retired at age 55 from the Broward County school system and they’d split from South Florida to resettle in North Florida.

The house was beautiful, if full of antiques (they were both collectors) and stuff. It took me over five years to finally sell or give away all of the stuff they’d accumulated. Anyway, we settled in and cleaned house. We had it repainted in and out, new wallpapers and curtains. We made it home. Daddy had a cozy log house built on the property so he could maintain some semblance of sanity. It had been a long time since he’d been part of a busy six-member household.

Well, Daddy died about three years later and we had an auction to get rid of the rest of their stuff and put the big house on the market. We wanted to go back ‘home’ to Jacksonville. Oh, by the way, my husband still works in Jax, driving three hours a day on the interstate.

That was when the market collapsed. I tried selling the house myself for a year and got a few nibbles.   http://www.mcleranhouse.com Then we hired a realtor with NO nibbles. We were stuck. We are stuck. We can’t abandon it like some others are who are being foreclosed upon. We own it outright. We need the sale to buy a new house. So our freedom, and that of a lot of others in America right now, has been obliterated until America gets back on its feet after this depression. And yes, it is a depression when so many are out of work and losing homes.

But, to end on an up note, because I believe we will all pick up the country by the boot straps and move forward, this will not last forever. And as I and one of my daughters like to do; we look for the silver-lining, because we know it is there somewhere.  One benefit has been turning the log house into a Vacation Rental business. It allowed me to quit teaching as it provides a fairly decent income.http://www.flablackbearcabin.com

Advertisements

Writing in the Country – An Idyllic Life?

Standard

One might assume, if one saw me sitting in the corner of the Parlor of my 100-year-old Victorian home where my ‘office’ is located, that with the views of my 5 acres of grass and trees and no houses or kids playing in the street, I would be happy.on swing reading

It’s not that I’m NOT happy. But I’m a city girl. Raised in a suburb of Ft Lauderdale in the 60’s, then when married lived in population-bursting Orlando for 8 years. Moved to population-exploding Jacksonville for 25 years, now living in Lake City, with a total population of about 12 has come as quite a social shock to my system.standing by dragon at pond

I didn’t really choose to live here, either, which is part of the problem. I didn’t even choose the house and property. (Looks up to Heaven) Not that I’m complaining Mama and Daddy, but I wish I was back in Jacksonville. I’m glad I had the ‘old house’ experience I always dreamed of, but we’re over it now and want a brand spanking new one.

You see, 5 years ago Mama died of a massive aneurism in her brain. My parents had been married for 52 years, so Daddy had no idea how to take care of himself. He took care of the house and property, she took care of him. So when she left so abruptly it fell on me to take care of him. He wouldn’t leave his home, so we left Jacksonville. And our beloved, remodeled home. And pool. And pleasant to stroll around, safe for the kiddies  gated neighborhood.

hs frm gdn crnrAt first glance you’d say, But don’t you love having no traffic or accidents?  Yes, of course. But I miss shopping at a mall. Ours has about 5 stores. I miss a big, plush movie theatre. Ours is from the 70’s and has never been remodeled. We just got a Starbucks last year. We have NO Target! We have to choose from the same 20 restaurants every time we eat out. Sure, we can drive to Gainesville for all of these things, a hour away, but who wants to drive that far to eat out? Besides, my husband drives 1.5 hours to Jacksonville daily to work then 1.5 hours home….DAILY. See what I mean? I’ve done more Internet shopping since moving here than ever. All the money I used to spend at Target goes to Shell Gas now.

Our house has been on the market for 2 years. It’s a beautiful house and property, everybody tells us so. But Daddy died as the market collapsed, so we’re stuck.Even if someone wanted it, they’d have to sell their first and so on and so on.

BUT, I have beautiful views from every window and quiet to write. I guess that’s worth a lot. Not to mention a house we own, today that’s priceless.  Even if I have to drive 25 miles a day to get the kids from school.