to my world, the real life Clackum’s Corner.
You won’t find it on any map, as it’s just ten and a half acres of
pastureland and woodlands in the middle of North Central Florida. It’s a rural area, inhabited by farmers mostly, and a few
ex-city-dwellers who got fed up enough to escape the rat race of the larger
cities. Five miles from us is the
town of Bell, which is where our post office, elementary and high schools, two
jiffy stores, a bank, a locally owned grocery, and a church, are located.
Nothing is within walking distance, and the nearest mall is located
forty-five miles away in Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida and
the Florida Gators.
most any day you can see forever, as there is no pollution, no concrete
buildings, and except for the pines and oaks, there are no obstructions to the
course, this wasn’t always Clackum’s Corner.
It was farmed out years ago and it took years for the land to replenish
itself. I wasn’t always here
either. I was born in Trenton NJ,
and spent the best years of my childhood in good old Brooklyn USA. My family, consisting of my mom and dad, my sister JoAnn, and
I, moved down to Miami in the middle 50’s, as many of the snowbirds do
eventually. After I graduated from
high school in 1965, I met my future husband, Larry, who was stationed at
Homestead Air Force Base. We were
married on February 11, 1966, and had three great kids, David, Jessica, and
Larry and David, Jessica and Kimberly
(Click on pics to enlarge)
the kids were very young we decided to move out of South Florida, as crime and
problems with drugs became more prevalent. We found this land in 1980, and knew
it was meant to be ours.
pretty much of a city-dweller myself, it was quite difficult acclimating myself
to this life. When you’re used to
falling asleep by the sounds of police sirens and gunshots fired at all hours of
the night, it’s hard to sleep with the mooing of cows in the next pasture at
11pm, or the crowing of roosters at 5am. But
as time went on, I started to actually enjoy the peace that it brought.
worked for nine years at the University and after I’d had my fill of having to
leave home at 5:30am, in order to get to work and find a parking spot (which the
administrators made us all pay for), and not getting home until after 6pm, which
meant having to make dinner for everyone, doing the laundry, cleaning, feeding
the dog, etc, and then going to bed by 8pm every night, I decided I’d given University
enough of my life, and I resigned.
I was talking to Jess about this the other night and she
brought up the fact that I never once gave them TV or Microwave dinners,
everything I cooked after working all day and driving for an hour to get home,
was all made from scratch. How I
did it, I’ll never know, but it was done.
I think it came from this martyr thing that was handed down to me by my
mother (bless her heart). Anyone who has children knows what I’m talking
about. If there’s a chipped
dinner dish, then you’re the one who uses it.
When the cake is cut and one piece is falling apart, you take it, and
smile about it as you do. I don’t
know why this is, it just is, has always been, and always will be, as long as
there are mothers and children. Fathers,
on the other hand, will stare down their children for that last piece of cake,
and heaven help the one child who dares to reach over with his/her fork and grab
the tasty morsel. Don’t get me
wrong here, these kids are and look healthy as horses.
I call them kids, even though the youngest is 30 and the oldest is going
on 35 this year.
love my kids, even with all the worry wrinkles (no grey hair, thanks to Clairol,
they send me Christmas cards every year) they have given me.
My oldest, David, was so easy going.
He was happy with anything we bought him. And clothes? …a complaint never escaped the child’s lips
about the color, style or whether it was what everybody else was wearing at the
time. Then there were “the
GIRLS.” Jess and Kim, the little
darlings were so cute with their little dresses and little patent leather shoes
when they were in the early years of school.
THEN THEY GREW UP. At 10 and
11, they already knew what was in and what wasn’t.
I must admit that Jess was an angel in the store; she appreciated
everything she got and didn’t really complain.
Kim was the baby and, yes, she was “the drama queen” of the family.
On our first visit to the hair salon, it took four grown women armed with
shears and blow dryers, to hold her down while the fifth gave her a haircut.
They were so happy to see us leave that they refused a tip if we would
just go. Needless to say we never
they are all grown and two of them have since moved out on their own.
Jess is still here, but will probably be moving out in the near future.
Sure, now that they are easy to live with, they all leave me!
But I have passed on the Hersh curse, being “May you each have a
daughter just like you.” It had
to be said. It was passed on to me
and it was my duty to pass it on to them. My
mother had the curse on her, gave it to me, and so on and so on.
we have this land, there are numerous wild creatures living in the trees and on
the ground, as well as under the ground. I
never saw them until one day when I started putting out a little bit of wild
birdseed. I continued to do this
every day, for the next 20 years, only as time went on it went from a little bit
of bird seed, to having eight bird feeders, various sized birdbaths and water
bowls, and dishes filled with raisins, bananas and cookies.
The fresh fruit and cookies began as a simple offering of bread and
butter squares to a little raccoon that I discovered had set up housekeeping in
our roof. He would peek his head
out in the late afternoon and I would hand them up to him one piece at a time,
using a long thin pole with a flat top on one end.
As time passed, he started coming down on the roof of the porch and
hanging upside down to see if I had come out yet. He became so tame that I could actually feed him by hand,
using a glove just in case. After a
year of doing this, I noticed there were now two raccoons living up in our roof.
The female was so shy, she wouldn’t allow any of us to see her, but her
little paw would extend out for a treat and I would hand it up.
One spring afternoon in May, I heard some high-pitched crying coming from
inside the roof. It sounded as if
one of them were in pain. I
realized what it was after a month or so, when we had the male, the female, and
three gorgeous baby raccoons coming down to eat.
If you’ve never seen a baby raccoon you don’t know what you’re
missing. One day when we were out
working in the yard, I happened to be under the trees by the side of the house
and I heard something. I looked up
and there were two of the babies playing right on the edge of the eave.
Being too young to realize what falling was, one of them leaned out too
far and before he fell I called Larry to come quick.
He got there just in time to hold out his hands and catch the little guy
before he hit the ground. In no
time at all, the mother was frantic and was afraid to come out to get him, so
Larry put him in one of the higher branches of the cypress tree and we walked
away, knowing she would come, and sure enough, she climbed down, grabbed him and
took him back up to their den in the roof.
A couple of seconds later we could hear her as if she was scolding him
for getting into mischief.
The babies grew up and left, but the male and female, whom I affectionately named Rocky and Racquelle, remained here. Two years ago Rocky left for parts unknown and I miss him terribly. A year later she had taken up with another male and they seem to be doing fine. Below are photos of Rocky and Raquelle.
L-R: Rocky accepts raisins from me, Rocky Raccoon, Raquelle sees Rocky coming
(Click on picture to enlarge)
are so many stories about these and other animals that live here on the land
with us. A few years ago we raised
a baby blue jay who lived with us for almost a year.
No, he wasn’t held captive in our home, he would come and go as he
pleased, but every day he would come in and eat and sleep in the house, and go
out again the next morning. I’d
like to share that with you later on.
There are many other things that are part of my world that I’d like to
share with my readers. I hope
you’ll return and I will have much more to tell you and show you.
When you have the kind of family I have, it would be a shame to not share
it! There are a lot of great laughs
ahead, and some tears too. So
please come back.
you again soon,