Tag: memoir

Sailfin Mollies with blue flags flying…

Sailfin mollies can be found fresh, brackish, and coastal waters all over Florida, but most people I have pointed them out to were unaware of their existence. A minnow is a minnow to many…and if someone only
sees a group of female sailfins, he or she might easily dismiss them as slightly larger than average mosquito fish.  Their bodies are light grey or silver, and rows of spots appear in straight line patterns along the sides, back, and dorsal fin.

However, the mature male of the species displays an enlarged dorsal fin and a wide tail that are tinged with iridescent blue.  As a child wandering along the dark tannin-colored creek, I often marveled at the shimmering blue tail of a sailfin near the bank, and watched as the male darted about his harem like a sultan trying to ward off any rivals.


From the 4th chapter, “Minnows,” in Growing Up Floridian:

From the moment I caught my first Golden Topminnow in Indiantown, fish fascinated me. The diversity of the species in the creek, which flowed through the swamp separating the headquarters of the Quarter Circle A Ranch from State Road 62, captured my attention on the first day I wandered along the creek’s banks. The variety of shapes, sizes, and preferred habitats of the minnows was lost on my brother and others like him who focused on fish that could be caught for the dinner table. Smokey concerned himself with how big the bass, bream, and bluegill were and only gave passing attention to my captures of Flagfish, Pygmy Sunfish, and Golden Topminnows.  

1924 Silver Dollars…



Until I went through my mother’s keepsakes after she passed away in April of 2013, I had not realized she kept the first silver dollars I earned when I was seven years old. She told my brother and me that she would put the money in a bank account for us, but she put the value of the earnings in the account and kept the actual silver dollars as mementoes for us. How do I know? When I brought the first dollar home, she examined the heavy coin and remarked that the dollar was minted in 1924, the year before she was born…and the next one I gave her, also dated 1924, elicited an explanation that all silver dollars were not made in 1924. For comparison, she used one of my brother’s minted in 1878. Those coins nestled in an old leather coin purse were among her treasured possessions.


From the 6th chapter, “First Paying Job,” of Growing Up Floridian:


The ranch foreman, Vick Blackstone, told my brother and me that he would pay us a silver dollar a day to walk along beside a flatbed truck and toss saw palmetto roots and trunk pieces up on to the truck bed. Vick’s enticement, shiny new silver dollars, produced a visible bulge in his Levi’s right front pocket. He pulled out a few to enhance his sales pitch.

“You can earn a handful of these by the end of the week,” he chuckled as he winked at us.

My brother and I were sold. Of course, we did not have anything on which to spend the money, nor any place to go anywhere near the ranch, but our parents had already taught us the value of saving money. We just were not sure of the reason behind saving “for a rainy day.”

Milking the cow…literally…


As I took this photo with a Brownie box camera, my mother milked our cow, Lulu, and gave a few squirts of milk to Rattler, the wandering mongrel.



From “Lulu, a milk cow,” the 7th chapter of Growing Up Floridian:

The rude introduction I received from our Jersey milk cow occurred one early December afternoon when I was seven. I had just returned to the ranch at the end of my second week in the first grade at Parrish Elementary School. I heard, before I left to catch the bus with my brother, that our father had found a cow that had recently given birth to her calf. The calf was kept by the local dairy farm in hopes the heifer would grow into a better milk producer than her mother, who only gave a little more than a gallon of milk twice a day. That quantity was more than enough for a family of four, and she delivered enough cream in that milk to allow us to create milk-based staples.


In the style of John Holmes: “Map of My Country”


Writing in the style of a poet is a way to practice creating poetry while creating original poetry. The poem, “Map of My Country” by John Holmes, is a powerful self reflection. 

In 1954, Holmes typed a copy of the poem with lengthy annotations, explaining the choices behind the evolution of the poem. This annotated version has been recreated here:


One way to write in the style of a poet is to go line-by-line through a poem and ask a question that would get at the heart of the line. Then, the writer could answer that question in the rhythm and with the substance of the original line. What follows is Holmes’ poem and my attempt to write is his style.

Memorial Day connection:  According to Adele J. Haft in “The Map-makers’ Colors”: Maps in Twentieth-Century American Poetry in English,” the Navy adopted John Holmes’ “Map of My Country” (Holmes, 1943; see Holmes, 1999) for the “libraries of its ships and stations” (Eyges, 2007, 117). The first of several American collections dominated by map metaphors, “Map of My Country” opens with a sprawling twelve-part poem (3–34), an autobiography so expansive that it not only pays homage to the American people and places that enriched Holmes’ life, but also charts his generation and the literature that molded those who lived through two World Wars.

“Map of My Country” by John Holmes

A map of my native country is all edges,
The shore touching sea, the easy impartial rivers
Splitting the local boundary lines, round hills in two townships,
Blue ponds interrupting the careful county shapes.
The Mississippi runs down the middle. Cape Cod. The Gulf.
Nebraska is on latitude forty. Kansas is west of Missouri.
When I was a child, I drew it, from memory,
A game in the schoolroom, naming the big cities right.

Cloud shadows were not shown, nor where winter whitens,
Nor the wide road the day’s wind takes.
None of the tall letters told my grandfather’s name.
Nothing said, “Here they see in clear air a hundred miles.
Here they go to bed early. They fear snow here.”
Oak trees and maple boughs I had seen on the long hillsides
Changing color, and laurel, and bayberry, were never mapped.
Geography told only capitals and state lines.

I have come a long way using other men’s maps for the turnings.
I have a long way to go.
It is time I drew the map again,
Spread with the broad colors of life, and words of my own
Saying, “Here the people worked hard, and died for the wrong reasons.
Here wild strawberries tell the time of year.
I could not sleep, here, while bell-buoys beyond the surf rang.
Here trains passed in the night, crying of distance,
Calling to cities far away, listening for an answer.”

On my own map of my own country
I shall show where there were never wars,
And plot the changed way I hear men speak in the west,
Words in the south slower, and food different.
Not the court houses seen floodlighted at night from trains,
But the local stone built into house walls,
And barns telling the traveler where he is
By the slant of the roof, the color of the paint.

Not monuments. Not the battlefields famous in school.
But Thoreau’s pond, and Huckleberry Finn’s island.
I shall name an unhistorical hill three boys climbed one morning.
Lines indicate my few journeys,
And the long way letters come from absent friends.

Forest is where green ferns cooled me under the big trees.
Ocean is where I ran in the white drag of waves on white sand.
Music is what I heard in a country house while hearts broke.
Not knowing they were breaking, and Brahms wrote it.

All that I remember happened to me here.
This is the known world.
I shall make a star here for a man who died too young.
Here, and here, in gold, I shall mark two towns
Famous for nothing, except that I have been happy in them.


From the “Epilogue” of Growing Up Floridian:

“Remapping My Country” (with respect to John Holmes)

Massachusetts, a rectangle, ends as a boot,
kicking back the salty waves of the Atlantic,
a barrier island sheltering Cape Cod Bay,
where people can stop for a Sandwich between
Plymouth and Provincetown.
Buzzards Bay intrudes at the ankle,
while Vineyard Sound is ground under the heel.
Nantucket looks longingly at the toe
and westerly at the dust kicked up over Martha’s Vineyard.

My snow-suited youth understood little about latitude lines
crossed when visiting a grandfather’s stone house in New Hampshire.

Reds and yellows of New England falls
dappled the rural hills in memories
of September jaunts to Vermont.
The sight of lobster traps in stacks pulled forth
scents of Old Bay seasonings bubbling around
red claws and protruding feelers that fed
galloping appetites born in piles of playful leaves.
Road signs spoke only of overlooks, not of what to look over.

Parental tales of trips taken twenty years earlier
in a Hudson Commodore did not realistically inform the imagination swaying in the back of a Mercury Comet.
A child’s mind must explore his own byways,
and he must sculpt his own dragons in the clouds.
A black bear on a stone wall frightening chipmunks
did not intimidate a latter day Mohican Cooper inspired.
Fly fishermen down a distant stream did not decorate
the AAA triptik followed up the east coast.

A Studebaker Daytona, ten years later, on the same route
populated by Firebirds, Fieros, Camaros, and Thunderbirds,
shared the roadway with 18-wheeled behemoths jockeyed by
ratchet-jawed rooster cruisers defying the double nickel.
The flat tires fixed on the shoulders refocused the destination
that was not intended as a permanent relocation but as a
waypoint during an exploration.

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, written in the year of my birth, set a traveling rhythm twenty years later.
His journey was not retraced, but the spirit was embraced.
The only Mary Lou I knew populated Ricky Nelson’s song
on a worn out eight track tape,
but letters from Floridian tourists set new waypoints that
beckoned off interstate exit ramps.

Brautigan’s Confederate General at Big Sur altered my reality.
Trout Fishing in America took me down a humorous path.
Richard’s images entwined within me on western mountain slopes and rolled down shimmering highways into setting suns.

Topographical symbols reveal the contours of my life.
Straight, curved, dashed, and solid lines link moments.
Circled cities connected by yellow highlighted routes merge
melodic memories that bridge kaleidoscope reflections
with echoes resounded through my years.

1950’s Bicycle memories


My parents decided my brother and I could share a bicycle as Christmas present in 1957. They must have been enticed by a Sears catalog ad:



Fortunately, they were not frightened by bicycle safety manuals of the 50’s that vividly etched in the minds of readers the dangers of poor bike riding practices.








From “Christmas Bicycle,” the 2nd chapter of Growing Up Floridian:

Gleaming in the morning’s first rays stood a brand new J. C. Higgins bicycle. White accents on the fenders offered sharp contrast to the fire engine red frame and the shiny black white-wall tires. A big kid’s bike. No training wheels. I realized I did not know where to start. I had never ridden a bike before. I thought about waking my brother, Smokey, but his sleeping late behavior on this Christmas morning was going to cost him this time. I was going to give the bike a whirl first.

Caressing the brown leather seat, I tried to figure the easiest way to guide the bike off the porch. Wheeling the metal pony in a tight arc, I brought the front tire to the edge of the steps with a black plastic handlebar grip in each hand. The front tire’s rolling bounce on the initial step started a momentum that a sixty pound body could not control. Black grease teeth marks descending along the left leg of my jeans testified to the dangers of taking on a ride that might be too big for me.

Memories of Dogs…

I used My Dog Skip by Willie Morris (1995) as a read-aloud in middle school classrooms for about 12 years, which means I read the entire text aloud six times a year at a rate of about 2 1/2 pages a day. Reading the text to the classes would take about 8 weeks. I would pull vocabulary words from each section,  would have students write definitions for the words in the personal dictionary sections of their notebooks after an oral discussion of the terms, and would give students extra credit on their essays for effectively using up to ten of the words in a major written assignment. So, I got to know the book fairly well…and never tired of reading the memoir over and over.

Willie Morris began with:

“I came across a photograph of him not long ago, his black face with the long snout sniffing at something in the air, his tail straight and pointing, his eyes flashing in some momentary excitement. Looking at a faded photograph taken more than forty years before, even as a grown man, I would admit I still missed him.”

Of course, Willie Morris was one of several writers who inspired me to write a memoir and sent me in search of old pictures of my first dog.


Note: The shadow indicates I’m using my mother’s Six – 16 Brownie box camera.

From the 11th chapter of Growing Up Floridian:

“Rabbit Chase”

Timidly emerging from the tree line, the black and white mongrel sniffed the air and peered up the dirt road. I saw him from the picnic table bench that summer day because the small black animal sharply stood out against the white, dusty, shell-packed road that curved away from the trees, split in two just beyond my family’s house, then ran by the ranch’s other two houses, and reconnected in front of the wide two- story barn. Each split ran in front of those two ranch-hand houses separated from each other by a wide flat piece of clover-covered pasture, in the middle of which sat a creaky old windmill that pumped water into a ten-foot long concrete water trough.

The dog started up the road, looking from side to side as if some danger might pop out from behind the mature pine trees populating the pasture on both sides of the road. The mutt, clearly undernourished with visible rib lines apparent under his shaggy coat, had a white blaze on his chest, a white patch on his right ear, and a couple white-stockinged front feet that brightened his otherwise dark wispy form.

I waited until the mutt was almost in front of the house but still a hundred feet from the picnic table before I spoke.

“Hey, boy,” I called in a quiet, soft tone.

The dog looked, ducked around with his tail between his legs, and started back the way he came, but glanced toward the table and paused. His tail wagged twice before he continued down the road.

Sandhill Crane population seems healthy locally

Seven different pairs of Sandhill Cranes herded offspring around the River Run Golf Course last Friday. The chicks ranged in size from about 10 inches to over 4 feet tall. Two family groups less than 100 yards apart loudly proclaimed their rights to the territory for about five minutes. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contends the resident population of Florida Sandhill Cranes is between 4 and 5 thousand birds, while another 25,000 greater Sandhill Cranes migrate to Florida in the winter. There are six subspecies of Sandhill cranes—greater, lesser, Florida, Cuban, Mississippi and Canadian with the Cuban, Mississippi and Florida subspecies of Sandhill cranes being non-migratory. National Wildlife Federation link with subspecies info.


Link to Will McLean’s “Courtship of the Sandhill Crane


From the 23rd chapter of Growing Up Floridian :

The loud rattling kar-r-r-r-o-o-o I often heard at sunrise as a boy on the central Florida ranch immediately brought to mind the image of an elegant, gray bird of almost five feet in height that stalked both the marshes and flat open land I roamed. The long black bill, white cheeks, and brilliant red cap marked the sandhill crane as the classiest member of my favorite Florida birds. Long running strides the bird used at takeoff coupled with the powerful wing strokes that propelled the crane aloft were athletic moves which defined the stately bird as a beautiful symbol of wild Florida.

Although I often saw Sandhill Cranes on golf courses up and down the state in later years, my most enjoyable view as a child was a sunrise takeoff when several of the birds were silhouetted against the red-orange sky as they gave their rolling calls that bounced off the tree line and came echoing back. Several others wading in a marsh below, would looked up, and give an answering call. Several times in more recent years, I have observed a pair of cranes sail overhead across I-75 into the sunset as I returned to Florida from a trip north. Each of these sights was a classic National Geographic moment I have enjoyed over and over again.

Poetic drama in the Caribbean

I saw this scene unfold while working on the Yankee Clipper, part of the Windjammer fleet, in the Caribbean in 1972. When I saw Don Ray’s painting, I had to get a print and was inspired to capture the battle in poetic form. The real life drama was caught on film:


Caribbean Collisions

(In response to Don Ray’s painting of a flying fish being pursued by both a Magnificent Frigate and a dolphin fish.)

Fins folded, the flying fish lifts,
bursts from beneath the sea’s surface
to glide at forty-five miles an hour
across the crests and rifts.

Coryphaena hippurus, chartreuse purple flashes,
agitated dark dorsal flags flying,
dart underneath in patterned pursuit
anticipating winged dashes.

Overhead, a frigate’s black wings reflect cobalt blue;
narrowed in diving descent,
his deeply forked tail alters flight
and allows hooked bill to pursue.

Adapted after a million years of predation
silver herring aircraft take off
with the lower lobe of the caudal fin whirring
in instinctive defensive navigation.

Feathered pirate, Fregata Magnificens,
descends, snaps his hinged, hooked trap,
plucks the airborne sard,
claims the prize, and ascends.

Undeterred, dorado drive pinnate prey
through waves into gusts to glide
over furrows and undulating ridges
to bank off swells in an aerial ballet.

A dance of the eons is enacted on the oceanic tide
by a triad of species entwined;
evolved adaptations of flight and fight
on a sun dappled sea collide.

M. Taylor

A take on “Floridays” by Don Blanding and Jimmy Buffett…plus a tribute to both

Chapter 27 of Growing Up Floridian, “Who was Jimmy Buffett’s Unpopular Poet?” takes a look at my early connection to Jimmy Buffett, and Buffett made an interesting connection to an artist who was famous a bit before his time.

Don Blanding  (1894-1957) was a poet, novelist, and artist of the Tropics. He wrote Floridays in 1940.






“To You”

A book of sounds and scents and sights
Of Florida-days and Flori-nights,
Flori-stars and Flori-moons
And Flori-suns of Flori-noons.
Flori-fragrance on the breeze
And blended blues of Flori-seas.
Patterns drawn with pen and words
Of Flori-folks and Flori-birds.
An hour of friendly chit-and-chat
Of flori-this and flori-that
With pictures when you care to look.
I hope you like this Flori-book.

Don Blanding, “Im Mo Ko Lee”
Fort Pierce, Florida, 1941.
From Foridays.

“To Jimmy Buffet” (In the style of Don Blanding)

Buffett’s songs of rhythms and aromas and crazy ways
Of Flori-beaches and Flori-bays,
Flori-boats and Flori-jets
And Flori-casts of Flori-nets.
Flori-catches in the Keys
And bleached blondes in a Flori-breeze.
Measures sung with guitars and drums
Of Flori-tales and Flori-chums.
Melodies of camaraderie in tropical climes
Of Flori-bliss and Flori-rhymes
With images that grab your eyes
And take you on trips through Flori-skies.


by Jimmy Buffett 1986
For Don Blanding, Wobby Wiemer and “Groovula”

I come from where the rivers meet the sea
That’s part of why I’m so wild and fancy free
I was early into crazy ways
My folks said, “;It’s just a phase”;
They were hopin’ for better days

Now in my line of work I seem to see a lot more than most
Write ’em down, pass ’em around
It’s the gospel from the coast
Reflections not just replays
Takin’ time to escape the maze
Lookin’ for better days …

Pale invaders and tan crusaders
Are worshipping the sun
On the corner of walk and don’t walk
Somewhere on U.S. 1

I’m back to livin’ Floridays
Blue skies and ultra violet rays
Lookin’ for better days

I’m back to livin’ Floridays
Blue skies and ultra violet rays
Lookin’ for better days, lookin’ for better days
Lookin’ for better days
Lookin’ for Floridays

(Better days, better ways)
Everybody’s lookin’ for
(Better days)
Somewhere beneath the shinin’ star
(Better days)
Take me won’t you take me to
(Better days)
Sure could use a few
(Better days)


How do Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a buzzard, and a hummingbird come together?

On the third hole of the Buffalo Creek Golf Course, a wake of buzzards often circles overhead. Whether that action is a symbolic comment on my golf game or not, I am not sure, but any time I see a turkey vulture or a black vulture, I am reminded of the poem, “To a Buzzard Swinging in Silence.” The hummingbird connection is twofold: Lynn and I just took a trip to AZ to see my mother-in-law, Martha Bodenchuk, and to visit Patagonia’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds…and I wrote a poem in the style of Ms Douglas in response to a hummingbird.

MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998

Ms Douglas’ “To a Buzzard Swinging in Silence” was published most recently in Florida in Poetry, in 1995.

“To a Buzzard Swinging in Silence”

by Marjory Stoneman Douglas

I never knew how fair a thing

was freedom, till I saw you swing,

Ragged, exultant, black and high,

Against a hollow, windy sky.

You that with such a horrid gait

Lumbers and flops with red, raw pate.

I never knew how beauty grew

From ugliness, until you flew

With soaring, sombre, steady beat

Of wings rough-edged to grip the fleet

Far coursing horses of the sky —

To ride, to ride them gloriously.

Oh, brother buzzard, you whose sin

On earth is to be shackled in

To horror, teach me how to go

Like you, to beauty, sure and slow.

Like you, to slip such carrion ties

And lift and lift to high, clean skies,

Where winds and sun and silence ride,

Like you, oh buzzard, glorified.


In the style of Ms Douglas’ poem,

“To a Hummingbird”

I did not understand how bright a thing

was winged flight, till I viewed your skyward fling,

shimmering, motionless, then darting away,

emerald against the bluest day.

You with an elongated, pointed beak,

amid tubular flowers holding the nectar you seek.

I did not understand how sheer speed

from tiny wings could lead,

with twisting, turning, tattooed tacks

on courses flown on invisible tracks,

to flights of dreams of silver days.

To gaze, to gaze along the slant of heaven’s rays

and find the summit of ambition

in the constant ambrosia-seeking mission.

I must be taught to search like you

for life’s most vibrant enticing hue.

Like you, to taste sensual dessert,

Like you, to move in symphonic concert

and flit and flit in cloudless realms

beneath the gods’ anointed helms

where buds and blooms and aromas waft.

To you, oh hummingbird, my hat is doffed.

1954 Boston Garden Rodeo

Jock Mahoney, known only as the Range Rider in the 1951 to 1953 TV western Range Rider, was one of the celebrity attractions of the 1954 Boston Garden Rodeo. He appeared during the 11-day Boston rodeo with Dick Jones, who was his saddle pal in the 79 episodes of the Range Rider. Mahoney also played the lead in Yancy Derringer, the popular but short-lived western in 1958 – 59.


From the Harvard Crimson:
“Lest the West” by Edmund H. Harvey, October 23, 1954

A rodeo is something that has to be smelled to be believed. The World’s Championship Rodeo in Boston Garden…All the best broncs are there: Country Butter, Sling Shot, Pig Eye, Drunkard, and the best riders and the prettiest girls. Also, The Range Rider and his Saddle Pal…The Range Rider (who) wears blue suede shoes…after the calf-roping contest,…time for the Range Rider (Jack Mahoney) and his Saddle Pal (Dick West)…The Range Rider jumps on a horse, but he does it three ways under a spotlight. Saddle Pal is a stooge who tries to do all the things that Range rider does but just thumps against the horse’s side. After each mounting he looks around at the crowd, and shouts, “Well, howdya like the Cavalry split-the neck mount? Didya like it HUH?” Everybody yells and claps and the Ranger Rider mounts another way (which I forget what they call). This goes on for a while and the Range Rider and Saddle Pal stage a fight. Then, they ride around the arena and throw their hats to the people that have applauded the most. This is the feature attraction…

My mother – a cowgirl by desire


This past Mother’s Day led me to reminisce about my mother’s mention, years ago, of her adventure of riding in the opening parade of the 1954 Boston Garden World Championship Rodeo held between October 20th and October 31st. I went through some old photographs and found the purple and gold ribbon she wore that identified her as a Parade Guest when she carried one of the flags on horseback in the opening ceremonies. Pictures of her on horseback from her teenage years through early adulthood always captured her in her happiest moments.

From the 6th chapter of Growing Up Floridian,“Faye Blackstone”:

Faye, who enjoyed an audience, described how she and Vick met when they were both rodeo performers, and a picture of them getting married on horseback in 1937 was evidence she pointed out to back up her story. She told us that she started riding and trying to perform tricks when she was younger than we were. A few pictures of her as a young girl getting progressively older climbed up the wall near their bedroom door. One wall of the living room was divided in half by pictures of Vick riding bulls, roping calves, bull dogging steers, and riding broncs with a saddle and without, while the other half held pictures of Faye barrel racing, standing on a horse at a full run, hanging off the side of her horse almost touching the ground, and bouncing off the ground into the air about to remount as a horse ran through a rodeo arena. Others pictures captured Faye riding in colorful opening parades of rodeos in Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and the Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne.

“My mother rode in a rodeo parade in Boston Garden once,” I proffered.

Faye looked up from pouring glasses of milk, tucked a blonde curl behind her ear, and agreed, “I know. Your mother and I have talked about those days a few times. She was very pretty back then and is still a good lookin’ woman who can sit a horse well.”

Celebrating that 1960’s TV Western atmosphere

     My aunt and uncle, Pris and Mike, with my cousins, Valerie, Pam, and Leslie, came to the Quarter Circle A Ranch on State Road 62 about seven miles outside of Parrish the fall after my brother died. In this picture, Aunt Pris poses with Val, sitting tall in the saddle; Pam, holding Leslie; and me on a little pinto that would rear on his back legs if I dug my heels in and pulled back sharply on the reins.

         The television airways were dominated by western tv shows: Bonanza, Cheyenne, The Dakotas, The Rifleman, Stoney Burke, Marshal Dillon, Laramie, Wagon Train, The Virginian, The Wide Country, Rawhide, The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, Have Gun – Will Travel, and Gunsmoke. With such a lineup of westerns each week in the fall of 1962, there is little wonder we all wanted to be cowboys and cowgirls.

Indiantown, 1956

         My brother and I embarked on our careers as bandits when we arrived in Indiantown. With our toy guns, Mexicali hats, and inspiration from the Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) and Pancho (Leo Carrillo), we raced through the palmetto scrub looking for wrongs to right.

Exploring Floridian Reflections


12 year-old me in July of 1963 with my 4-H Hereford steer getting ready for the Manatee County Fair.



                     Inner cowboy adrift on literate shores


      The Six-Word Memoir is the challenge to describe one’s life in only six words: My rural, Cracker-cowboy, Florida childhood took a detour when my parents were divorced, and I spent my teenage years on the beaches of Florida’s west coast. My passion for reading led me in and out of college and along twisted paths and hallways of educational institutions. A variety of teaching positions on several levels actually enhanced my appreciation of well-written literature. Teaching Shakespeare, Frost, Poe, and MacDonald have offered stimulating journeys that invigorate my mind. My explorations were most rewarding when youthful student intellects engaged and shared the adventures.

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