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FROM THE EDITOR 14 GASPARILLA MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 Marcy Shortuse Editor-in-Chief We are nearing the home stretch of summer, at a time of year when people up north are putting on jackets and thinking about carving pumpkins. We don’t have a consistent break in the heat until the end of November, as far as I can tell. The temperature nudges a little, but the humidity is always presented and accounted for. I spent most of my life in Illinois until I was 23, and fall was my thing. The smells of the fields and the fires, and of burning leaves. I see the nuances in a Florida fall, it’s just that it occurs in January. The tall grass swamps along the back side of Gasparilla Road (where the cows go mooo) turn a really neat brown-tipped color of frosty green. It’s exciting the first time you can wear a longsleeved shirt or a flannel. You know you’ll only have to wash it a handful of times before you put it away for the year, so it’s a treat. After spending some time outside for this some of the stories in this edition of the magazine, I found some places I can’t wait to go back to when it’s cooler. One of my favorite parts of fall is Halloween, of course. I’m a little mad for it, to tell you the truth, so one of our biggest features in this issue is about the ghost stories of Arcadia. If you’re an avid reader you might remember me singing the praises of our sister town in my last editor’s letter, and I’m still singing ‘em. I had nothing but good luck setting out to get information for this story, right down to finding the elusive “Goat Hill.” Don’t even try to find it on your own, it’s nigh on impossible. But with the right set of coincidences and circumstances, I found a property owner along a little gated road and ... well ... I will not disclose anything more than that. I know there are people who find ghost stories a little disconcerting, and if you’re one of them feel free to skim past that part in the magazine. I did not set out to glamorize anyone’s death, to be sure. One story niggled and niggled in my brain, though, and I felt as though I had to tell it. The seven children of the Richardson/Bryant family called out to me from their resting spots in Oak Ridge Cemetery, I can tell you that. I couldn’t find any specific grave location records for this particular cemetery so I knew finding their graves was all but impossible. Yet the first place I stopped my car and got out, there they were. They want their story to be told, I’m sure of it. We really wanted you to meet Ken Visser, too. Ken lives in the Placida area, and has created a truly amazing product which can revolutionalize sources of potable drinking water. His portable Pure2Go is an advanced filtration system which enables you to drink from a possibly-contaminated water source almost immediately. It’s amazing to write about people like him, because it really gives you hope for the world. If only I had words to describe Milt Bell. He is everything you would expect a salty Florida cracker to be, including smart as a whip. He wrote a series of articles for us in our newspaper, the Boca Beacon, and some of them are just too good not to occasionally include in Gasparilla Magazine. So, from time to time, you’ll see Milt’s name pop up ... and those are issues you can be sure you want to get if you like Boca Grande history. Milt tells it like it is, no sugar coating. He’s also a great writer and tale-teller, so just hang on for the ride when you begin reading. And let’s not forget, we’re in the thick of hurricane season. Knock on as much wood as you can find, so far so good in the tropics, but you never know from day to day what might happen. Sometimes you just have to be a little tongue-in-cheek about the threats we face, especially if you’re a native Floridian. You might enjoy reading our piece called “I Hear a Hurricane Party Calling My Name.” I hope when the first cool morning comes this year you are outdoors to experience it. I hope you have a few more quiet months to yourself, to enjoy our unique piece of the country, and to contemplate the upcoming season of snowbirds flocking to us again. Be kind to yourself, and to each other ...


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