I moved here to Sarasota/Bradenton in Nov. 2013 after living in the St. Louis Missouri area for 30 years. My dad was in the service while I was growing up and he loved living in warm climates so, when the opportunity came up, I decided to move back to a nice warm climate.
I was born in Key West, FL but then we quickly moved to Taiwan. I spent my first 4 years there, but I can’t remember much about it. After a short stay in North Carolina we went to Okinawa where I had first grade. That place was awesome! I remember playing outside every chance I got with my sister, brother and whatever new friends we made.
Second grade we were back in Key West. In 1965 Key West was a very different place than it is now. I don’t remember seeing any building taller than 2 stories and the tourists did not rule the roads as they do now. I remember going to the beach and having plenty of room to play chase with my sibs! And the water was so clean!
We had a half year in Maryland before we went to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico! We stayed there a year and a half and visited the beach every weekend. I learned how to snorkel and eat prickly pear fruit (very carefully!). My brother, sister and I would take the school bus for an hour to get to Ramey Air Force Base for the day. Those were long days but coming home was a blast. We lived in one of those neighborhoods that had a gazillion kids and we’d all hang out in the street to play.
My absolute favorite place to live was where we moved to next. Summer of 1968 we went to the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea! We lived on the north side in a town called Kyrenia. When we first got there my family lived in the Dome Hotel and my mom got us to go exploring by promising us a Coke if we’d check out that castle down the road. Yes, I said “castle”! We ended up loving that castle. We found passages that no-one seemed to know about, and we would spend hours playing in there.
My brother ended up going to boarding school in Turkey, which was a sad part of living there, but, when he came home for visits it would all be good again! My sister also had to go away to school after the second year there but, until then, we explored all we could together! We even rode our bikes east up the mountain to a town called Bella Pais where there was a monastery and seven miles west to kayak at a beach there.
Every weekend we’d go with my parents on a diving boat with Andreas Carioulu(?) and snorkel while my parents SCUBA dived under us. They usually speared some fabulous fish like a grouper and then Andreas would cook fish and potatoes for everyone on the boat!
It may have been my age- (9-12), but I found the whole time there to be magical! The air, water and even the plants, seemed to sparkle! I can still hear the tinkling bells of the sheep and goats as the shepherd led them past our house to go up to the hills to eat the grass. The Suncoast reminds me of those feelings I had growing up and, when I moved here, it was like I was coming home!
Photos from Laura Bell Adams