Posts Tagged ‘gainesville florida’

the cycle…

April 3, 2008

pencil and collage-jay herron 2006
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It definitely says you are getting old when you have lived long enough to see a hill of acreage go from what was once duplex houses built for the veterans after World War Two-to being scooped down by bulldozers and turned into a shopping center,which is now being scooped down by bulldozers to build a new shopping center.
I can imagine what the real old timers of this area thought when the construction of the ‘FlaVettes’ went up on what once was used for grazing cattle. Now I get turned around on a road I know I’ve been on and have to scope out something left from the past to remind me where I am. Sometimes that takes a few blocks.
To kind of give you an example what I mean…find a copy of the old movie-The Yearling (it was filmed in the 1946 about five miles from where I am talking about) and as you are watching the movie (if you can find a copy-it is based on real people  starred Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman) cross your eyes in your mind and envision all that open territory as houses.

I remember during the hippie days of the 1970’s-the old FlaVettes were long over run-mostly because they were built quickly and cheaply to house all of the GI’s returning and taking the opportunity of an education on the GI Bill. For many years one could travel around the county and find a surviving FlaVette-though most have now just crumbled into history.
The entire neighborhood of FlaVettes which overlooked Archer Road also overlooked the airport across the way-where Wal Mart now stands,and Lowes…which came later.
In the 1970’s every one of those FlaVettes became a hippie settlement of sorts-of course it was mixed with students,then the only industry in the area…and most of them took on the hippie dress and lifestyle.
Every Sunday the lawns would fill up with people on lawn chairs and blankets-the sky was a show of those crazy enough to dive out of an airplane and we dug every minute of it.

I had a friend once that had some money he got from an accident he was in. For 1970-it was a good chunk of change. I tried to impress him to buy a few acres of land up by the interstate-he laughed at me and said I was a fool.
Uh-oh…well,it was slightly easy to follow his logic. At that time there was no exit at the interstate and Archer Road. Now there is…and with it the big stuff. As a matter of fact-it seems to keep on going. One lot I saw a sign on said 1.5 million bucks for the property. Poor pal of mine.

I feel really odd about this. I worked in construction during the building of the shopping center they are now tearing down. It will be for certain that entire intersection has completely gone full cycle.
I recall once a small airplane took off from that airport and it no sooner got up and it went down. Crazy to think-it was a few days before anybody knew it. Now there’s a Shell station just about where the plane had crashed. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

I truly remember the only place you could rent a car then was at the gas station Willie worked at. Yup…really-Willie!! We’d go in and rent a coupe and take it out on the grade (which is now SW 22nd Ave) and drive back and forth and there was always a few party’s going on around the lake there (yes…there’s a lake behind the Oaks Mall) and me and my friend would act like a pair of fat cat hippie’s in our rental car. One such time we had a rental car and spun it out on the dirt and peeled the tires off the rims. Willie said “You ain’t rentin’ no cars no more !”

I bet there’ hardly anyone around that remembers the gas station attendants and the white cap they wore? I had that job for a few days until somebody recognized me-and that ended that. I didn’t even last long enough to get the white uniform,or better yet-the grey one with your name badge. Most everyone has forgotten the glass jars filled with motor oil….more less forgetting the taboo about using Quaker State in your ’55 Chevy (or some such clunker).

I remember it was nothing to get out on the road and stick your thumb out-and most times,in minutes…you was on your way. Once a long time back there was an old store in a big wood frame building where the owners lived in the back. It stood on the corner across from the Tower Road Publix is. The folks who owned it had a few pool tables in the front and sold ice cold beer and there was always someone in and out of that place. It was the ‘greyhound stop’ of the hitchhikers dreams. You would only have to stand there for a few minutes and someone would come along and carry you on.
I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like to hitch a ride today…those days are long gone-it wasn’t that much fun then either,but it got you around

There were dozens of those old Mom and Pop stores around the area-most of them gone now,if not all of them. There was one in my town-The Save-A-Stop,although Roy did not live in the back of the store-he was there every morning at 5 a/m and stayed until he closed at 7 p/m.
Roy-like most Ma and Pa’s…kept a card on those trusted customers. It took a few years of doing business with Roy before I got to be on a card.
Local credit! The weeks purchases written down on an index card-payed on pay day. Friday was Roy’s busiest day
I even earned my way onto a card at the corner store across from Publix…limited to beer and cigarettes only (go figger).
Although there was no interest-Roy did have a scheme of pay back where he would sell a drunk a quart of beer and write him down for two…but it was only certain drunks he did that with-the stupid ones!
Ahhh….these were the times now gone from us.

male support group for sexual assualt

March 27, 2008

article in the Gainesville Sun
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I am elated that the Advisory Council that I am a member of-The Alachua County Rape and Sexual Assault Advisory Council has forwarded the conclusion of a sub-committee that discussed the need for a support group for men who have experienced sexual assault.
From these conclusions-I understand that yesterday the very first group of five men began.
I was told the men promised to return-that they felt they had bonded in this initial meeting.
You could have offered me anything yesterday…it wouldn’t have come close to how great this was for me to hear.

There is no way that I can express how difficult it is to come from being a victim and learning to become a survivor.
I hope that this is a beginning of healing for these five men-and also the birth of a future of others to come ahead and learn to heal…and learn you are not alone.

If you are interested and need help-you can contact Alachua County (Florida) Victims Services and Rape Crisis Center.
352.264.6760 or toll free 866.252.5439

the bloodmobile

February 24, 2008


The first time in my life today-I entered a bloodmobile.

It’s kind of a crazy funny sad sort of story.

Crazy funny? My son is like I was when driving trucks long distance-a stickler for keeping everything on his motor vehicles in order. Last night on his drive down to Florida he encountered a serious rain storm-the same thunderstorm that came through here last night,and something showed up on his ‘check engine’ signal on the dash…so,we ended up at a dealership.

They came by to get me earlier in the day-but the objective was to get the truck looked at to determine why the ‘check engine’ light was on. Crazy? Well…my son comes down from South Carolina-and we spend the day in a dealership! I’m in Florida. Being sincere-my son has a passion fo his vehicles…and I understand that. He gets it from me.

In front of the dealership was a bloodmobile. They always set up doing those promo’s with T-shirts or a free hot-dog,there was one here today-same deal,donate and we’ll give you a Tshirt and an over cooked dog.

I have to confess. I’ve had a few beers. I wish I was dead…but the beers will help,some. It just happens-today upset me,and I want to be numb.

I never donated blood in my life-nor have I been in one of those buses to see what they were like. Well…my life? No,that’s not exactly true-once,yes,in boot camp-we all donated blood…but what I mean is-never since!

So-we are all in the waiting room and the woman from the bloodmobile comes in-we were waiting for my sons truck to get checked over….so,there is a request for blood donations and my sons wife and I decide to do it.

There is an interview that takes place-I was not aware,but we went on with it-the young lady from the bloodmobile and I. Questions were asked-many that made sense.

Then the question about-had I been a victim of sexual assault?

Yes-I said yes!

The young lady giving the interview was taken aback by my honesty-but after she regained her composure-she said I was not able to donate blood. That was determined because my assailants were males-and I was raped ( penetration)….not female.

I believed the young lady-her sympathy. She seemed to tear up as she was rejecting me. Outside-as I re-entered the main section of the converted bus,the other ‘workers’ looked at me because my interview was a tad shorter then they expected…and I explained “I am sexual assault survivor”! One of the workers laughed out loud-the others chuckled….chuckles like back in barracks D….they did so until they realized the truth.

Funny damned thing…even being able to do something lifesaving,and I am denied!

I did nothing wrong…yet it still punishes me! Another thing stolen from me.

the dime,and the wings of eagles!

February 9, 2008

1048864839_b4a686cc7d.jpgTwo days ago I began my second year of my own personal therapy-walking the downtown posting handbills on the advert kiosks set up along the streets. That part is a breeze-this also involves going into stores and asking shop owners if they would allow me to tape one to a window by the door,this isn’t so easy. I usually end up sounding like someone who could use an interpreter,my voice flakes whenever I am confronted with needing to talk to a person in charge.

The handbills are the annual ‘call for artists’-the artists,survivors of  domestic violence,family violence,sexual abuse,child abuse-and other forms of interpersonal violence. (May 11-23,2008  ‘the gallery’ of the J.Wayne Reitz Union-University of Florida campus-opening reception May 16, 7-9 pm) (to show art-352.336.8414)

I have already gone to various shops-the ones that clearly looked open to having other forms of advert on their windows-admittedly,the task is fairly self operating,this is a university town and the street I am working is most frequented by the student population and the various shops reflect that traffic. The kiosks are really for me to get the energy up-to build up in my head that I am going to be doing this. It’s worse than this-it begins with me actually driving into the city,around the city and up the street I’m going be walking and then….I quit in fear-and begin the drive home (a long drive) and most of the drive I beat myself up for not going through with it-and the next day I do it again. It’s the first door that gets me going towards the next door-its just getting there that takes some hypnotic advance.

The campus is entirely a greater subject.

I fear large buildings from the moment the compression sound comes from the doors closing behind me. The more crowded the building,the worse-the voices and sounds create that violin sound that the writer clearly knew – who made the tone in the movie ‘Psycho’.

Yesterday I entered ‘Peabody Hall’…my first building on campus-also the easiest,it is where student counseling is located,but yet I still have to go through two sets of doors at the entrance and up two flights of stairs and through another door-one of those big glass ones that make that compression sound again…and usually in the row of chairs in front of the counter I have to approach are students or others,all enough to make me panic. But,in fact-nearly the only building where I have to approach somebody and explain my presence,the majority of campus buildings have open bulletin boards.

It was in this building,yesterday,that I found my dime! Now I know that’s not much to talk about,so it may seem-but a ‘dime’ to me is more than just a reference to a coin. It represents something significant to me…some years ago I was walking in the state forest behind my home and was troubled by something that was about to happen in  my life and the next morning I was supposed to meet a lawyer from Washington DC. We had never met-and I was apprehensive about meeting a stranger (in authority) and I was troubled about this  and was trying to think of a way to ‘break the ice’ with this man and my mind wondered off to my grandparents…they lived in the city (Washington DC) and my youth was pretty much spent there. When ever we got under my grandmothers skin she’d hand us a handful of dimes,the cost of a bus ride then was a dime (well,they had street cars too) and we’d get to spend the day in the museums and monuments…you could do that then,send kids off to the city with no fear.

Just when I was thinking of this meeting and my grandparents came to mind-out there in the wide open middle of nowhere was a dime…a brand new shiny dime. It was so amazing that the dime was there at that moment and at that thought and it connected-I picked up the dime and tossed it for good luck,it was.

Yesterdays dime was not a coin-it was a poster! I had hurriedly gone through my intro that I needed to do and back out the doors and the stairs and the next set of doors and in that foyer was a section where there once were two pay phones-the phones gone,and in their place were some various notes and announcements posted;and I was using the ‘desk’ part of the former phone booth to put my flyer’s and papers in order in my tote….and  looked up and there was a very attracting poster. I began to read what it was about-the photograph made one want too. It was about ‘male rape’ and said that ‘male rape’ was so quietly kept and hidden by the victim-and advised any victim to seek help,if at least by a proper mental health counselor (not that a victim is the reason and mental health the cause-it is to help the victim adjust to the fears to come,I’d hope).

This was my dime? Oh yeah,it was-as I haven’t mentioned that my dual task involved my also providing literature for the ‘Civic Media Center’ ( regarding information of a ‘male support group’ newly started by the ‘Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center’ (1.866.252.5439) in Gainesville Florida.

It was the literature that I was getting organized to head off towards the Civic Media Center when I saw the poster-so there I pinned up a sheet with numbers to call to contact the Rape Crisis Center….but also gained a strength-the sign to ‘mount up with wings as eagles’ ( Isaiah 40:28-31).  As I headed off in the direction towards the Civic Media Center I spotted the Presbyterian Student Center,also in a large building-with doors that compress when you enter…and I went in and there I met David-he calculated our ages as ten years different,he was younger-but he provided this personality that allowed to me to flow the words so easily about the art exhibit,and more so about the ‘male survivors support group’. We spoke in depth for ten or fifteen minutes about the hidden victims-male survivors.

I left empowered by the time spent with this new friend and was charged with an energy that really originated with seeing that poster-and realizing it was very much a true ‘dime’. I walked up across University Avenue and into the Civic Media Center and spent more time speaking with Jim (I had met him the day before when I inquired about posting a handbill for the exhibit) there than I had with David just a few blocks before. I again saw the face of a person that said to me ‘say what ever you need and I will listen’ and he did-and his comments were confidential and yet he knew of someone who needed this very thing,a support group for male survivors of rape and sexual assault….and I HAD mounted up with wings as eagles.

Have you not known,have you not heard…the Everlasting God never faints and is never weary. God gives strength to the weak-and to the meek God gives might,There is no searching what God understands…but to those who place their trust on God shall renew their strength and mount up with wings of eagles! (and find a shining dime sometimes)

Okay,so I am preaching…but one has no idea of the fears I go through in public places and it is a spiritual strength that leads me (except in my human self I am too sorry at times to recieve and to trust) yet am always so amazed at the power in the spiritual leading that I do recieve despite me!