This has been a hard week for me. Seeing what has happened to the beautiful Florida Keys. I am heartbroken to see the devastation of my old home. Seeing the pictures coming out is so heartbreaking. There are so many people who are now homeless. Where will they go? What will they do? It is very sad.
If you look in my profile you will see where I mention how I once lived in the tropics. Well those tropics I speak of were the Florida Keys.
In the mid 1970's we moved down to Key West. We were tired of winters in upstate NY and wanted to be warm. A friend told us we should go to Key West. So we did. Just. Like. That.
It was an amazing place in those days. And so cheap. Our first apartment cost $60 a month. We met so many people who were there for a variety of reasons. Mostly to be warm and have a laid back life.
During the day we would go to the beach. Our kids would play with all the other kids. It was idyllic. It really was, At night we would go down to the pier and watch the sunset. Some of us would bring our artwork down to sell to the tourists. After sunset we would often go to someones house for a feast. We all brought food and there was music and feasting. No one had a car. We rode our bikes everywhere.
Many of the friends I made back then I am still in contact with today largely due to Facebook. I also have a few friends who either never left or have gone back there to retire. As you can imagine I have been very worried about a few of them who did not evacuate. As it turns out they are OK but without power, water and the basic necessities.
It appears that Key West did not suffer too much damage. Mostly downed trees and some flooding, The Upper Keys are a very different story. Especially Big Pine Key. It looks like a bomb went off in multiple places. Tornados hit many of the upper keys.
In the early 80's we moved from Key West up to Big Pine. In those days there wasn't even a grocery store. It was very isolated, very hot, and very buggy. We built a house there but we had no electricity as there were no electric poles out where we lived. So the house was built entirely with hand tools. We had a lovely garden where I grew papayas, coconuts, mangoes and bananas. We never really liked Big Pine as much as Key West as we were so isolated and so it wasn't long before we moved on. Up north as they say down there.
The thing about Key West, for me anyway, is that although you can leave the keys, the keys never really leave you. And so all these years I have carried it with me like a lost lover. And even though I have found a new place to live/love, my love of the Keys will always be in my heart. My sorrow is overwhelming.