Our Florida vacation: going home

August 1, 2016

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

My parents, two sons and I spent three weeks taking a much-needed vacation in July to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday and my 20th high school reunion. On the way to our final destination of Jacksonville, Florida, we stopped into the two towns where I’d spent the happiest five years of my childhood in the neighboring towns of Chipley and Graceville, Florida. I was going home. 

I was ages five to nine when we lived there. My dad was attending seminary and we lived for four years in a farmhouse and one year in a pastorium.

For a little girl living in rural northern Florida in the mid 1980s, life was, in a word, idyllic.

Picking peanuts right out of the ground to take them home to boil while we watched football…climbing the fig tree to look out over the hogs and horses…playing with my dolls on the front porch swing…buying candy for five cents at the corner drugstore…

[tweetthis]My childhood in rural northern Florida was like a real-life Hallmark movie.[/tweetthis]

Welcome to Graceville, Florida where we lived while I was in first through third grades.

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Graceville, Florida, “Where the living is easy.”

 

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The Graceville, Florida water tower. This is why the Gilbert, Arizona water tower feels like home to me.

 

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The old Graceville, Florida water tower.

 

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The old Graceville, Florida water tower against the Florida sky.

 

This is where our farmhouse sat in the mid 1980s amidst hog pens, a barn and horse pastures… 

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The field where our farmhouse sat.

…but they moved the house a 1/2 mile down the road onto the land lady’s property in the late 1990s.

It didn’t look quite so good when we lived in it, thus my love of shabby chic and farmhouse style. Think tin roof, peeling paint and old paned windows.

Going home. by tabithad.sg-host.com

They moved our farmhouse about a 1/2 mile away to the land lady’s property and spruced it up. When we lived in it, it had a tin roof and was green.

Here’s downtown Graceville, Florida.

I wondered if it would be as I remembered. It was, despite most of the businesses being closed down.

Going home means discovering whether your memories mesh with reality.

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The corner drugstore where I bought candy for a nickel after school. It’s one of the only places still open in the center of town.

I can’t resist that small-town charm which is why I love visiting places like Globe and Miami, Arizona.
Going home by tabithad.sg-host.com

I love that small town charm.

 

Going home by tabithad.sg-host.com

Downtown Graceville, Florida. This is why I love small towns in Arizona like Globe and Miami. It feels like home.

It was surreal to see my boys and my dad having ice cream in the same spot where we did many times as kids.

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My kids and my dad having ice cream in the drug store and soda shop where we spent four years of our childhood.

I loved this mural! 

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I love this sign and the verse on the side of the corner drugstore.

I can’t resist charming farm houses, especially with a resident horse.
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I stopped to admire this farm house near our old stomping grounds. So much charm!

 

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Every farm house needs a horse. This one was friendly.

Here’s one of the churches my dad pastored in Chipley, Florida. I was nine. We lived in the pastorium across the street.

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Poplar Spring Baptist Church, Chipley, Florida. My dad pastored here for a year and we lived in the pastorium across the street.

 

Going home to Chipley, Florida. tabithad.sg-host.com

In front of the house where we lived while my dad pastored the church across the street.

 

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In front of our house in Chipley, Florida. As a kid, I remember being scared to drive my bike across this steep ditch. Ha!

 

Going home to Chipley, Florida. tabithad.sg-host.com

The ditch where I spent many hours playing at a nine-year-old in Chipley, Florida.

 

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Poplar Spring Baptist Church, Chipley, Florida

 

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With my dad in front of the church he pastored in 1986. So many wonderful memories here!

 

Going home. Steeple of our church in Chipley, Florida. tabithad.sg-host.com

The steeple of Poplar Spring Baptist Church, Chipley, Florida.

My dad also pastored the First Baptist Church Cambellton. It has some great history!

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First Baptist Church Cambellton, Florida.

 

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First Baptist Church, Cambellton, Florida.

 

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The history of the First Baptist Church, Cambellton.

 

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A far cry from the mega church we attend now! So many wonderful memories here.

 

Going home by tabithad.sg-host.com

The steeple.

Going home was good for my soul.

Have you been home lately?

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer Hoffman

    Didn’t know you were a pastor’s daughter too! Very cool 🙂

    Reply
    • Tabitha Dumas

      Oh, yes, I was a PK for many years of my childhood. He’s been in ministry all my life, even now. He’d like to do more and someday I hope to help him! Thanks for reading and commenting!!

      Reply

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