So, it was Sunday, August 9th, that we drove to Pensacola. Like I said before, I sure wish we could have gone back another day, but it was a 92 mile drive along the coast, which made it feel like it took 3 hours to get to. I wouldn’t have minded, but the kiddies can’t hang like that. The drive to Panama City was long enough- although I have to say- they were pretty excellent the entire way up.
I was pretty excited to see what Pensacola was all about since that is where I was born and where my mom grew up. We moved when I was one, and I haven’t been back since. My mom has always said the most wonderful things about it. I was especially looking forward to seeing the beach because she always raved about how beautiful the white sand was.
My mom was born in Parkesburg, PA, but moved when she was in kindergarden to Pensacola. She grew up there until her second year of college, that was when she left for school in Mississippi, at The University of Southern Miss. She would still travel back and forth home on the weekends. It wasn’t until my mom was done with college and I was one, that my grandparents sold the house and moved to Greenville, SC.
Once we drove over the bridge, into the very small beach town of Navarre I could see how beautiful it was beginning to look. The road, Gulf Blvd. turns into Viva de Luna Drive which flows right into Pensacola Beach. There is a section between the two beaches that is simply breath taking. Somewhat desolate- reminiscent of a small desert- with tiny dunes of sand so white that looks as pure as snow, with the ocean just off in the short distance. How really beautiful.
We stopped and got out. I couldn’t have been more taken. The sun was still shinning as the sky over the gulf began to darken. A storm was beginning to roll in just adding to the mystique of it all.
Dad- Pensacola Beach
1957 to 1973
We drove by the house my mom grew up in. The color was different of course, but it looked great. The owner was outside mowing the lawn when we drove by. I yelled out to him in the rain, and told him not to be alarmed at me taking a photograph. Mom told him he was doing a lovely job taking care of it.
mom and uncle dave playing outside
773 Copley Drive, in Cordova Park
We drove around the entire day seeking the places Mom knew. It was a great day for me because it was part of my history. A connection.
Here are some of the places we vistied:
As we drove by, Mom remembered her class song. As she sang it, it just reminded me of a time that was still so innocent. I would have loved to have been able to live at least a day during that time, just to have experienced it.
Class of ’68
Hail to thee our alma mater,
True to thee will be
To thy teaching and thy standards,
Is our ringing cry
Hail to thee our alma mater,
church my parents were married
January 6, 1973 – A STAR IS BORN
Saint Marks Methodist Church
I was baptized on Easter Sunday, 1973
my first residence
my first pool
I couldn’t get over how immaculate the apartment and pool looked after 36 years. The up-keep was astonishing.
the sun setting behind the city welcoming sign
Of course our week in Panama City came to an end as quickly as it began- all good times do. I would like to go back in a couple years, and spend more time in Pensacola. I would love for my husband to see it, and for us to spend more time on the beach.
As I was making the drive back home- I stumbled upon the smallest little church with these crosses out front. The crosses were bigger than the church. I couldn’t even imagine how many people could fit inside- it was so small.
And, about 5 min. before coming upon the church, this song by Miley Cyrus came on the radio. I’ve heard the song before because my girls love her, but I never had really listened to the words before. The lyrics are so profound and really resonated with me. I paused the song on my satellite radio when I stopped to photograph the crosses, and I played it several times once I got back on the road. I think I even tired my kids out with the song.
But, you know how sometimes you hear a song or a poem and you think it was written just for you. That is what I feel when I hear this song.
When I got home I was anxious to see if she had actually written it, because it is such a powerful song for someone so young, so I had my doubts. Unfortunatly- she didn’t write it, but it doesn’t take away from the song. It fits her voice.
Here are some of the lyrics:
Songwriters: Alexander, J; Mabe, J;
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”
Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on