Friday, April 17, 2009

Ahh, Destin

You all know I was born in Houston... we moved to Chicago in August of 1987, weeks before I started kindergarten. Since we no longer lived right near my grandparents, we started an annual spring break vacation to Florida. The first year my family of 4 drove from Chicago to Disney World and my grandparents drove from Houston and met us. We spent a week at Disney World and had a grand time. The second year (I was in 1st grade) we stayed for a few days at Disney World and then went to Destin, Florida. We stayed at the Silver Dunes in unit A104. I remember the unit number because I was in room number 104 in first grade (that might beg the question of how I remember my first grade classroom number, but whatever). When I looked up Silver Dunes today, I was pleased to see that they had pictures of the units up on their website. It looks just the same today as it did then - which is somewhat frightening considering it has been 20 years since the first year we stayed there. The wicker furniture in the living room is definitely the same. Maybe it's been recovered, but that's about it. I'll have to check some old pictures... perhaps I will post some if I can find some.

I remember many great things from Silver Dunes and A104 (although I REALLY think at the time it was called 104A, it feels very unnatural to stay A104 and I don't think we did then). Some highlights:
- watching Duke in NCAA playoff games (my mom's sister and my dad's brother both went there, so we were always rooting for Duke)
- my mom reading her first John Grisham book there (it was The Firm, and it was left in the unit either by the owner of a previous occupant, and it actually mentioned Destin in the book)
- peeling raw shrimp and getting my eyes swollen shut from a terrible allergic reaction (to this day I'm still VERY careful when I peel raw shrimp... I wash my hands like a million times afterwards)
- all of the sand that was always in the bathtub (probably the fault of a 7 and 4 year old...)
- the very clear sliding glass door... one time a bird crashed into it. ha.

And from Destin...
- The Back Porch. OHHHHHHHH what glorious wonderful fried shrimp. YUM. It's actually the first place I ever had shrimp.
- The teeny little candy house where we would go and pick out one little chocolate shell or other equally delicious chocolate shell.
- In 1995 Hurricane Opal hit and ruined Silver Dunes. They have obviously rebuilt, but the next year (1996... it was the same school year since Opal was in October) we took our newly purchased 1989 Coleman Sequoia pop-up camper all the way down to Destin and stayed in an RV park. There were TERRIBLE thunderstorms and my sister and I clutched each other closely... we thought we were going to die for sure.
- The awesome looking waterpark that was never open because it was spring break and spring in Destin is really not that warm.
- Later on when Destin expanded and started growing more towards Sandestin. Sandestin used to be a resort fairly far away from Destin itself, and eventually it kind of became one with the city.
- Staying in Maravilla Condos one year while Silver Dunes was rebuilding.
- Reading Crime & Punishment. Ahhh, high school English.
- Silver Sands Outlet mall. They added this later, but I remember going to a J.Crew there. I bought 2 pairs of shorts.
- Getting accepted to Northwestern!! I was online (good ole AOL) in March of 2000 and chatting with my friend Jenni. She said that she had received her acceptance and asked if I had. AHHHH, no I hadn't. We had specifically asked our next door neighbors to check our mail for us and call if anything came from Northwestern, but no call yet. Jenni informed me that there was a website for admitted students and to put my name in there and see if it worked for me or not. I remember her saying "don't worry if it doesn't work... it might not mean anything!" But I tried it... and it DID work. I screamed. Literally screamed, and it was 11 PM. I woke up my dad and my grandparents... but that's okay. I got into Northwestern. :)

Good times with my grandparents in Florida for spring break for pretty much all of elementary school, junior high, and high school. Yay.


Christine R said...

I almost don't want to admit this, but it was ME who ran into the clear class door, not a bird....

marisa said...

i'm glad you clarified that you don't think the unit's been updated much since the late 80s, because i was about to say something.

i feel like the early 90s was really florida's decor heyday - everybody was loving the pastels. the rest of the country seems to have moved past that phase, though. (well, except phoenix - my mother in law recently got the interior of their house re-painted from coral and aqua ... to pink and turquoise.)