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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camping Right Downtown in Saint Augustine

It couldn't have been a prettier name as we pulled into Saint Augustine at sunset. It was retry crowded as a prime meter parking spot opened right in front of us about 200 yards from Castillo San Marcos. We checked the meter and it said free after 5 pm. It is 76 and clear. The Saturday night crowd is timid. The Daytona 500 crowd must be farther south.

The camper was perfect today. We drove a little over 200 Miles. The new shocks - alignment - tires - really smoothed her out.

We can see the bay and bridge from our parking spot.

We have absolutely no plans except to be home Wednesday.

February in Florida is wonderful.

Harry Everhart

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Florida State Beat Number 11 Clemson In Overtime - Happy Valentines Day

At about 4 PM today - our neighbor Fran emailed to say she had an extra pair of tickets for tonight's game with Clemson. They gave them to us for free - they were great tickets with a face value of $32 each. they were in the middle half court section down low. We left the house at 6:30 for the 7 PM game - we expected a full house because Clemson is ranked number 11. We found a free parking space and were surprised the place was maybe half full.

FSU was losing by 10 at half - and the deficit grew to 18 with about 10 minutes to go. A few fans started to drizzle home - I guess they wanted to get home before the temperature dropped into the 60s. It was 71 at game time.

The Nole looked lethargic - but with 6 minutes left they were whittling the lead. With 2 minutes to go - they tied the score at 70 - and it went into over time.

The last minute of the overtime took 17 minutes to play. I know because I was recording it. We moved right down behind the Seminole bench for the second half. they are great seats down there and it just seems like a different game. You get to see all the pushing and sweating.

After being down 18 - no one expects you to win. But the Seminole did. What a fun time. It was Coach Leonard Hamilton's 500th win. He is 70 this year - just like me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Doughnut Day - Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras

Back home in Pennsylvania Dutch Country - today is Doughnut Day. It was the custom to make fresh doughnuts on the last day before Lent. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

Down here in Tallahassee it is called Fat Tuesday. Over in New Orleans tonight is the biggest night of Mardi Gras.

Lulu and I celebrated by driving to the local Krispy Kreme and had doughnuts with milk.

It is pretty cool watching them deep fry today's stock. I had a chocolate glazed with yellow custard fill - and also a plain cake doughnut to not break my diet :-) Lulu had one glazed doughnut.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Threescore and Ten - Harry is 70 - The Wheels of Life

I quote the Bible less than Trump quotes the truth. But ever since my days of sitting through the long sermons in Bethany Church - the phrase "three score and ten" - mystified me. It refers to the length of a normal good life - 3 x 20 + 10 = 70. The Psalms were probably written before 400 BC. So it confuses me that with all our new medical knowledge we have only progressed for 70 years to the current life expectancy of 78 years.

I should have been much happier to have reached 70 - especially after having cancer 20 years ago. At the time I would have sold my soul for another 2 years. But now that I have reached 70 - I feel healthy and great - but it just sounds so darn old. I have already been retired 15 years! I am living off two pensions from the state of Pennsylvania and the federal government. I am firmly entrenched at the government trough.

It has been a short and wonderful road. I have experienced so much - and have had relatively few hardships. I have been sheltered by my parents - my sisters - my schools - my wife - my job - and my government. My life has been a life of wheels. My mother always said that the Everharts had gypsy blood in them. I guess that started when my grandfather decided to leave his wife and 4 kids to eventually join the Merchant Marines and die when the tip of a German torpedo entered his station in the engine room on a ship off the coast of the Dominican Republic in 1942. I have had the pleasure of wheeling through 7 of the best decades - I was born into interesting times.

The house I was born in

The 1950s.  I was born in an old farmhouse south of Tamaqua PA - we had a television but no plumbing. The doctor arrived by horse sled in the dead of winter and I arrived about 7 hours later on February 6th. 1948. My birth cost $15. Dad was a coal miner and Mom worked at a factory in town - so I was sometimes left to the care of my sisters - just 3 and 6 years older than me. I have long romanticised those wonder years - and sometimes considered going back and buying that house to die there.

The 1960s. After one month in a one-room school - we moved into town so that I could attend a school with 6 classrooms. The 60s were my wonder years from age 12 to age 22. I enjoyed the Beatles and Rolling Stones through a telescope from Tamaqua PA. The mines had closed down and my Dad took a job 90 miles away near Philadelphia. My Mom refused to move the family there and held down the fort with 3 kids and worked in a dress factory downtown. I had the pleasure of independence in a small town of 8000 people. We had good teachers and good schools that influenced me to become a teacher. I went to Kutztown State Teachers College about 40 miles away. 4 years later I had a bachelor's degree and a teacher's license. I was set for life. In 1969 - as a lifeguard at the community pool - I met the love of my life. I asked Lulu to go to the Woodstock Music Festival with me in my new Volkswagen - her Mom said no - but I went anyway.

The 1970s. Cars were a big thing in my life - even back then. Wheels were the freedom that got us to Washington - Gettysburg - Philadelphia - New York City. In 1971 - we eloped and eventually ended in Miami for the summer. It was our first contact with the wonderful state of Florida. My bride wanted to stay there and start her new life on the beach. I chose to return to the Valley and my dependable teaching job. Lulu went to my Alma Mater and became a school librarian in town. While she was still a student - we bought a cedar home kit - and built our family home on a site where we could see the spot we met. We bought a tour bus and made several trips to Florida - enjoying Disneyworld and Cape Canaveral. We founded a newspaper in town - I was the publisher - Lulu was the editor. When the kids came - I realized how much she did and how little I did - we sold The Tamaqua Paper to Russ Funk.

The 1980s. Most of our time was spent raising our sons that arrived in 1977 and 1978. We owned buses - minivans - and campers. Someone once said the Everharts will never go to Hawaii because you can't drive there. I took two sabbaticals and Lulu earned her Master's and Doctor's degrees in Florida. I found out what it felt like to be a mother of 2 toddlers - ages 3 and 2 - while Lulu went to school and worked from 9 to 9. I will never look at a mother's work with anything but respect after that.

In 1990s. My 5th decade was spent enjoying our kids in high school - driving to see them play basketball - and spending summers in North Carolina - Georgia - Arizona - Hawaii - and New York where Lulu taught summer sessions at colleges. While she was busy building a reputation - I had the joy of touring with my sons. Whether it was a snowy motorhome trip to Syracuse to see the Seminoles play football or a long train ride to Miami to attend the Orange Bowl with Mohammed Ali - it was the best time of our lives until then. Next - it was pestering our kids as they earned degrees at  Duke - Georgetown - University of Miami - and Florida State University. Our empty nest was a really hard void to fill.

In 2000s. After 33 years of teaching in the same school - at age 55 I retired from the Panther Valley School District. Lulu already had been a professor at St John's University in New York City for 10 years - so I offered to follow her dreams wherever it would go. She was immediately recruited by Florida State University. After inviting her to come to campus as a guest speaker - they offered her a contract on the spot. We would sell our cedar chalet home of 30 years - and move to Tallahassee. It was September Shock.

September Shock is a term I made up to describe a change that people go through only once. It happens the first year you do not go back to school in September after enjoying a summer off. Some people experience it at 18 - they go back to high school to hang around. Others it happens at 22 when they finish college. When I finished college - in September I went right back to school - but this time as a teacher. I was in a classroom at Panther Valley teaching some kids that were only 2 and 3 years younger than me. It was my one real job. I retired on my 55th birthday.

2012 Olympics - Lulu teaches in London in the summer

I moved to Tallahassee cold turkey. I went from being a popular teacher in town - the president of the  school board - the owner of a newspaper and print shop - a tour bus operator - a father of two busy sons - to being a trailing spouse - a retired teacher - a lame duck - alone in a new town - where my wife was busy becoming a tenured professor at a research one university. I was "eye candy" on her arm :-)  I was a thousand miles away from my closest relatives and looking for things to justify my existence. It's a whole new world.  I now lived in a town with over 500 places to eat coming from a place where one of the top 5 places to eat had Golden Arches out front. I could still watch football but instead of 1000 people watching the Raiders play the Panthers - I was in the shadow of 80,000 seat Doak Campbell Stadium and the National Champion Seminoles.

The 2010s. Now I finish my 7th decade. I am healthier now than when I retired 15 years ago - but 70 does not have a nice ring to it. When the "Loving Spoonful" sang "a quarter of my life is almost past" I could never have imagined singing about "when 95% of my life is almost past." Lulu fills my life with wonderfulness. Grandkids grace my life now. My kids have done well and they are busy nurturing their kids through the first decade. We travel a lot in Lulu's job. In 2018 -  we will travel to - March in Belgium - April in Hawaii - May in Greece - June in Germany - July in England. We have a new to us camper that sits waiting for us to have time to see the USA in your Chevrolet.

Our camper
I have purchased 75 cars - trucks - campers - scooters - buses - and trailers. I am trying to make it through my 70th year as one without any new purchases.

The Everhart 9
If this seems a little whiney - I want to express how happy I am that I got this far. Getting cancer at 50 scares the heck out of you. I think of Babe Ruth - Abe Lincoln - Wolfgang Mozart - John Kennedy - Marilyn Monroe - Joan of Arc - Elvis Presley - Buddy Holly - Jesus - John Lennon - Robert Johnson - they have never had the pleasure of seeing the world from this side of threescore and ten.

Our sunset years in Tallahassee

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Josh's Carport

Thou shalt not covet thy friend's carport.

My buddy Josh lives about 20 miles north of town. He has the coolest carport. It is tall enough to hold 4 of my motorhomes at once.

He has a Jeep CJ that just had a frame off restoration - a Mustang - a Mercedes SUV - and a Mercedes Sedan. What a nice stable full of ponies.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Cousin Carl Zimmerman - Cuban Missile Crisis Hero

Carl Zimmerman - the building in the background
is the Tamaqua Flat Iron Building

I am enjoying a beach vacation with my cousin Carl Zimmerman in Panama City FL. During the vacation I found out he was stationed at Pensacola FL during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He served on a spy ship that actually did surveillance during the crisis. 

Carl has homes today in Tamaqua PA and near Tampa FL. He is honored on this poster which currently hangs near Five Points in downtown Tamaqua. 

Carl and I had the same grandmother - Bertha Brouse Everhart Hontz. Our Dads were stepbrothers.

Panama City Beach - Water Temperature 88 Degrees

Lulu - Marylou - Jan
Tamaqua La Leche League Alumni - 1978
We are spending a few days at Panama City Beach FL - about 2 hours west of Tallahassee - with our Coal Cracker friends Carl - Marylou - and Jan. I just took this picture at 2 PM today of Lulu - Marylou - and Jan. We are staying at the Beachside Resort - none closer to the surf. Water temperature - in the pool - is 88 degrees. Ocean temperature is 59 degrees. Air temperature is 67 degrees - and the sun is very hot. Ocean front rooms can be had here for $50 a night during the off season. Spring break starts in a week or two and the rates start to rise.

Lulu now lives in Tallahassee about 2 hours east of here. Marylou still lives half the year in Tamaqua PA and half the year near Tampa FL.  Jan makes her home near Phoenix AZ. There has never been a pool that these 3 ladies have not loved.

Tonight we plan supper in the Hofbrau House.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

We Went To See The Florida Project Last Night

It seems as if our whole lives have been arranged around making trips to Florida. First - when we lived in Pennsylvania and organized trips to Disneyworld. Now as residents of Tallahassee - we go all over the state in our camper.

This film shows a little of the dark underbelly of life in the Sunshine State.

We saw the independent film on the campus of Florida State University with the students. The film has won many awards.