Posted on July 22, 2016
Miami- Great American Road Trip
I haven’t been to Florida in many years. In fact, it is somewhat surprising given the fact that I used to visit Florida twice a year in my teens and early twenties. I remembered rain at least once a day for very short periods of time, mosquitoes, humidity and of course blue skies and sand. When we arrived in Miami, my memory did not fail me, but I received so much more than what the weather had to give.
Bean and I were picked up from the bus station by a cousin and we went straight to the house that had been rented for the week in order to hold the yearly King family reunion. My, my, what a house. It was the John Wesley Young house, built, lived in and inhabited by the founder of Hollywood, Florida. Yes, you read that right, inhabited, this house is considered haunted; something we were going to find out about later in our stay. It was magnificent. I never could get an accurate count of the rooms in the house, but there was enough room for around twenty five people to stay and for everyone to have a decent place to sleep.
I love to fully embrace things when I am discovering something new and out of my norm. Touching the stucco, feeling the warm tile and grass beneath my feet, climbing the cold wrought iron staircase all helped me to feel as if I was really on vacation. Eating the good southern food prepared by many members of my family: fried fish and corn muffins, barbecued chicken and all the sides, cheese grits, eggs, and bacon and so much more, made me determined to get out in the neighborhood take my daily walks. I even took over breakfast one day and made the most perfect omelets I have ever prepared.
Bean was not always willing to leave the house and take a walk with me, but I made a game of it to convince her it was worth it. The first day we were there, we met a neighbor who had been living in Florida for 18 years. He had moved there from the same neighborhood we lived in when in Chicago! Bean and I counted how many geckos or lizards that we saw every day. The number went from 5 to 25 after an evening of rain. We noted the coconuts growing on the trees. We found the waterway and the walking path. Bean still preferred to play at the house and get into the pool to play with cousins she did not know existed.
Every morning I got up before the others in the house and took off for the beach in order to see the sunrise. For me, there is just something hopeful and optimistic about watching another day arrive. Every chance I get, I like to watch the sun come over the horizon. I am glad that I did forgo sleeping in because I met some very nice people beginning the first time that I sat on the beach to watch the beginning of a new day.
Michael happened to be sitting close to me. He turned around and began to share with me some of his spiritual insights in regards to the new day. He was going through a difficult life event and was finding his way through. As he talked, others were walking, running or biking along the path. A couple walked by and said “Hello”. Bill and Patty were recently acquainted with Michael the short time he had been living in the area. They have lived in Florida their whole life. Bill worked to help the homeless and vagrants that made the beach their home. He offered them guidance, food and shared what good news with them that he could. It was invigorating for me to sit and connect with local people and hear their stories.
Back at the house, we reconnected with family we haven’t seen in years. I am pleased with how welcoming everyone was. I know family is supposed to be welcoming, but when you have always been with your parents during family reunions, it is different to show up as the only member of your branch of the family. It was great to see that everyone was well, hear the opinions of others, and speak of shared interests.
There were a few days when we went out to Miami Beach. While I feel that most beach towns and ocean fronts are basically the same, the company isn’t. That changes and adds a different perspective to the experience. I was expecting the beach to be like what you see on TV and in the movies, but it wasn’t. I had expected so many crowds. I don’t know if it was the time of day, the week or too early in the tourist season yet, but we had plenty of space to walk around and do as we pleased. The people were pretty tame too, with the exception of the young woman who walked in front of us in the sting bikini and sheer cover-up. It isn’t that her attire was unexpected, but the fact that she walked into a restaurant and got seated that caused us realize how different things are on South Beach compared to other places.
I must tell you about the ghost. As we all sat around and talked, different people began to bring up the fact that the house was supposed to be haunted. A few days into the trip and there was no evidence that this was true. Someone described what he was suppose to look like and what the websites said about his spirit. They stated that he was a gentle ghost and could be a babysitter. We were there almost a week before he made his appearance. Well, he didn’t actually appear, but he made his presence known.
I went out for my morning walk to the beach and to gather coconuts. When I walked back into the house, I went in the door and noted that the house was still quiet and everyone still seemed to be sleeping. I walked into the kitchen and every door in the kitchen was open. Every cabinet, every drawer, every door to every shelf was open. It just didn’t look right and didn’t feel right. I pulled out my camera and took a video to record it. After that, I just knew I needed to find someone to tell.
Walking into the living room, I found a couple of people awake and I asked them if they had been up long and if they had been in the kitchen. They said no and asked what happened. I told them to walk with me. When we reached the kitchen, they were in shock. The night before, the very same thing happened. One of the teenagers came across the exact same thing and it scared her so bad she ran up the stairs to call her grandmother.
By the time the whole house was up, everyone knew. Some people couldn’t talk of anything else the rest of the day. We decided that Mr. John Wesley Young had enough of us. He was telling us it was time to go. One of the men suggested we have a seance that night. A few of us showed up and mostly we sat around the table and laughed at our ridiculous antics. It was truly hilarious. I laughed so much that my stomach hurt.
It was a great time, however the ghost of Mr. Young was right, it was time for us to go. Bean and I had a marvelous time. We were invited to visit a couple of other relatives along the way during our Road Trip. The additional places fit perfectly into the route, so we will have more adventures to share.
I know everyone doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the Miami trip. If you have ghost story, would you share it in the comments? I would enjoy reading about it!