Back in the late 1970s, my Grandpa Cooper was able to take retirement from his work with the City of Detroit on the early side and planned to spend it living year-round at the newly winterized Cottage on Lake Charlevoix with Grams. He swore that he never wanted to visit Florida and he definitely didn’t ever want to buy a place there and become a snowbird. However, after my grandparents first winter at the Cottage–an especially cold and snowy one–there was a change of heart. My grandparents decided to accept the invitation of family friends/extended family, the McWains, to visit them in Palmetto on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Because of that trip, my grandfather’s reticence evaporated and he fell in love with Florida. He was like a kid who had just discovered a magical new world. They ended up buying a place in the same manufactured home park the McWains lived in, and they became snowbirds, dividing their lives between summers at the Cottage and winters in Florida. They only relocated within Florida once, the year before Grandpa died, buying a place in Englewood. Grams continued to divide her year between Florida and Michigan until she passed in 2016.
My sister, Barb, and I took our first flights traveling to Florida from Detroit Metro Airport to stay with Grandma & Grandpa Cooper for spring vacations. A number of years we would fly in to the Sarasota/Bradenton or Tampa Airports and then drive back to Michigan with Grams and Grandpa, stopping a few times to visit our other grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin in Kentucky. We have lots of great memories from the nearly 40 years we have had of visiting Florida. Lots of time at the Beach. Disney World with the Goodenoughs and Grams. Watching the water-skiers perform at Cyprus Gardens. 2 chilly Christmas vacations with our parents. Looking for sea shells and sharks teeth. Going to the Pool and playing Marco Polo. My first teenage kiss–while under my grandparent’s supervision! 🙂 Playing shuffleboard and miniature golf. Disney World with my parents and sister’s family. College Spring Break with Bar and Ker. Lots & lots of card games played over the years. College Spring Break with Rob and Ron. A fun trip with Terry where Great Aunt Irene made dinner. Great times.
My parents decided to keep Grams’ Florida home after she passed and so they are now officially snowbirds, too. I finally made the trek down to Florida to visit this past week, the first time since before Grams died. I needed to spend some time being kissed by the sun and the visit was fantabulous!
I was able to swim in the Gulf twice!
We went on a Lemon Bay Dolphin & Sunset Cruise where we saw at least a half dozen dolphins and a beautiful sunset.
I proved to myself that I’m not too old to rollerblade.
We ate lots of yummy food!
Friday was wild & stormy & awesome!
Here is a little video footage:
And it was clear by sunset.
What a wonderful trip! Thanks Mom & Dad!