I feel somewhat a traitor to my friends and family in the north. As you can see from the photo, Tallahassee has been absolutely glorious with perfect weather (at least as far as I am concerned), flowering trees (just starting), and wonderful opportunities to catch up with friends. This morning, I went to the university to meet with a long-time friend and colleague and it was so comfortable. Parking hasn’t changed at all, but the campus has as has the area surrounding the campus. I amazes me that things can happen so quickly. After all (1) I left here just under 2 years ago; and (2) I was HERE in October!! Some changes happened slowly, however — the demise of the Tallahassee Mall which was the place to shop when I moved here in 1974, the closing of independent and nationally-known bookstores. One thing really spoke to me this trip.
When Gayfer’s Department Store opened it was a really big deal in Tallahassee. I shopped for everything from baby clothes to china to Speak and Spell (anyone remember that?), not to mention decorative prints that I still have hanging in my new home. Even though Gayfer’s closed decades ago and the store became a Gayfer’s (gosh I hope I’m using the apostrophe properly or Robin will be calling) Maas Brothers clone for a short time, it has been unoccupied for many years. It is a sad commentary I think and itmakes me sad to see it. I remember going there with Michael when he was quite young and Mickey Mantle was there signing autographs on plastic baseballs. He wasn’t very nice actually but we were happy to get his autograph. I still have random mugs and platters that I got at the Trash and Treasure annual event. While this may sound like misplaced nostalgia for the good old days, I maintain that it is more than that — it is commentary on how we all have our own ways of remembering time and place.
In contrast there are so many new apartment buildings, restructured main roads through town that are lovely, trendy mid-town, and college town — no need for students to drive anymore — everything right at the edge of campus. My friend, Beth, and I went to Collegetown yesterday to check out Madison Social (a bar/restaurant), the Mexican restaurant, Urban Outfitters, clothing stores, yogurt shop and the Brooklyn Water Bagel restaurant. Not sure what’s original about this but they do serve bagels among many other things. I’m pretty sure the most important thing on the list for students is beer, but that’s for another blog!!
Tallahassee sure has changed, but here are some things that haven’t: A feeling of real hospitality, the spectacular weather, the gorgeous redbuds, magnolias, azaleas, and everything else that I don’t know what they are, Publix, and the people. How lucky I am to have a place to stay long enough to re-appreciate all that Tallahassee has to offer. Now it’s time to get back on the road and appreciate all that there is in my new home not the least of which is proximity to my amazing children and grandchild. By the time I get back, there will be a new grand-cat to welcome and Riley will be almost 6 months old.