”The wind was now howling out of the southeast. Papa turned the skiff over on top of us to protect us from the hurricane. The wind was so powerful that it lifted the skiff up several times despite Papa and Mama’s holding it down from the inside.
I lay on the wet palm fronds and watched my parents fight the storm. Every so often, something would THUD into the boat probably a log the wind had picked up. I was more scared than I’d ever been.”
Eight year old Charlie Pierce’s family came to the southeast coast of Florida in 1872. Charlie recorded his adventures in diaries and one of his descendants, Harvey E. Oyer, wrote a series of books about Charlie.
Every Monday at 1:00p, (since about 2012), I Skype with my Florida grandsons and read to them. I began this when I could no longer travel because of Gary’s illness. This weekly appointment has been really good for my relationship with the boys and I highly recommend it for all my grandma friends. Now 7, 10, 12, and 13 these boys love reading, but seriously, who doesn’t like to be read to? I love listening to audio books while I paint. Check out www.LibriVox.org
But, I digress. We are currently reading about Charlie Pierce and The Last Egret. It is book two in the series. I’m here with my Florida family now and last week we went to some of the places Charlie lived and explored with his Seminole friend, Tiger.
This is Battlefield Park, near Jupiter, where Charlie found Major Lauderdale’s rifle I love this park for its meandering paths, thick palmetto forests and beautiful lakes. We surprised a deer who ran like lightening!
On the way to dessert tonight, we drove by the Jupiter Lighthouse, where Charlie’s dad worked. I have a great memory of climbing to the top with Gary before he got too sick.
Hypoluxo Island, is now filled with lovely homes. The Pierces built their house here and it stood there for 100 years. They had a snake named Orion, living in the rafters who ate the roaches.
This Kapok tree, (below) on Palm Beach Island, is within 100 yards of the former store, (now the site of the Flagler Museum), a 20 mile round trip from Charlie’s home. The tree is old enough that Charlie may have sat in its shade to eat his lunch before the long walk home.
Can you imagine being a young boy in such a wondrous place? Charlie would go on to more adventures and eventually became known as the “barefoot postman”, but that’s another story...
He died in 1939 and is buried in Palm Beach.
I asked the boys their favorite books from our weekly Skyping time.
MICAH: “Around The World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne (fascinating characters, rescues, humorous, and suspenseful)
OWEN: “Devil at My Heels” by Louis Zamparini (same Olympic athlete and POW of the “Unbroken” book and movie, but in this older autobiography, Louis includes his repentance and salvation story of how he became a follower of Christ)
MILES AND DEREK: “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame (this classic had us laughing at how bad Toad was and how hard it was for his friends to help him.)