Keeping retirement weird. Harry Potter and Zora Neale Hurston.

Anne and I are warming up in Florida this week.

Orlando was our first stop. We were there to visit the Wizarding Word of Harry Potter  at the Universal theme parks. Universal has two parks that are connected by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express.

I didn’t know what to expect.

My experience with Orlando has not been all the great. My only previous visits have been to attend two NEA union conventions. At those it seemed like I spent most of my time on shuttle busses.

Now it would be entirely different. We were with our daughter and grandkids (schools in New York were closed this week). And we were staying at a hotel on the Universal property.

It was just great.

Of course, Anne and I loved watching our grandkids enjoy themselves.

And I had so much fun on the Spiderman ride that my daughter and I rode it twice.

I have not read any of the Harry Potter books except for the first few chapters of the first book while on the plane from Chicago. I was sort of cramming. The Wizarding World was an intro to a new language for me.

I discovered I was a Muggle. And so are you.

I think.

Looking for a baseball hat to buy, Lucy said I was most suited for one that said I was from the House of Gryffindor.

“This is, quite simply, the best house at Hogwarts. It’s where the bravest and boldest end up – for instance: Albus Dumbledore! Yes, Dumbledore himself, the greatest wizard of our time, was a Gryffindor! If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is.”

When I suggested I might be best suited for a cap from the House of Ravenclaw, since they are known for their wisdom, Lucy shook her head. “No, Grandpa Fred. Gryffindor.”


Our daughter and grandkids are now back in Brooklyn. We are visiting friends for a few day in Sarasota.

Before heading south from Orlando we drove a half hour north to visit the Eatonville, hometown of the great writer, Zora Neale Hurston.

It is the first African American incorporated city in the United States.

Hurston’s best known novel is “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” written in 1937 and is set in Eatonville.

Anne had learned that there was a small museum in Eatonville. It didn’t seem like it would take much time to check out the museum and the town, which is still poor and African American.

“I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That’s living,”  Hurston wrote.

That is some writing right there.

We pulled into the parking lot.  There were no other cars.


The doors were locked and nobody answered our knock on the glass door.

Anne called the phone number.

“All our operators are busy at the moment. Please leave your name and number and we will get back to you.”

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