When Ideal Trailer Park (and Trailer Parks in General) Were New

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Ideal Trailer Park has claimed these four acres along U.S. 1 at the old City Limits for six decades. Nobody here knows why the trailer park is called “Ideal” or who named it.

In the back of her trailer, Channa’s made a small shrine to the Virgin Mary. One cat has but one eye. When Alexander Wellington writes of a little girl bitten by a rat in a trailer park, he sneers, “Good thing it wasn’t her face they chewed, isn’t it?”

 

In Memory of Walter Whetstone

Walter and Dorothy Whetstone, photo by Maura Wolfson-Foster

Last Friday, May 4th, the state of Florida lost a treasure, when Walter Whetstone–sweet, kind, gracious man, and the brilliant creator of the Whetstonian–passed away. He was 81.

With JaxPsychoGeo, please celebrate the life of Walter Whetstone. Below you’ll find 1) a gofundme drive to “Support the Whetstones” and “Save the Whetstonian,” 2) Walter’s obituary, and 3) two JaxPsychoGeo reveries of this great man and his art.

Here’s the gofundme drive: “Support the Whetstones” / “Save the Whetstonian”

“Walter Whetstone, 1937 to 1981: https://www.bivensfuneralhome.com/notices/Walter-Whetstone

the first JaxPsychoGeo story, February, 2012: LaVilla: Whetstonian

the second JaxPsychoGeo story, November, 2016: Whetstonian’s Last Days? / Mural of the Life of Walter Whetstone

When Jax Declared Its Center a “Slum Heart,” ‘Evil,” and Demanded Exorcism

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The deep baritone drips with condescension, festers with open sarcasm.

“This very plumbing, if you can dignify it with the name of plumbing, can bring disease and death into your home through the medium of your servants.”

“Come to think of it,” Slum Heart recalls, opportunistically, “that servant girl who comes to your house each morning […] Do you know where she goes at night?”

When Governor Claude Kirk Hopped the Fence and Took the Mic from “Black Power Agitator,” H. Rap Brown

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This ballpark has been the heart of Durkeeville for more than a century. It was Jacksonville’s municipal baseball stadium until 1954. The Negro Leagues played here. Hank Aaron “integrated” the Jacksonville Braves and won MVP, 1953.

White people had lots of guns and white cops all had guns, so black people! should get guns too. So said H. Rap Brown, who bridged the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to the Black Panthers.

Claude Kirk, 36th governor of Florida, Jax insurance salesman, hopped the fence at Durkee Field, tromped toward the pitcher’s mound, and snatched the mic from H. Rap Brown.

The Grave of Confederate General Joseph Finegan

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The stone lamb lacks a head. The titled stone says, without dates or surnames, “JOSEPHINE and her LITTLE BROTHER.” Confederate Lost-Causers still tend the grave of Joseph Finegan.

What happened to Finegan’s plantation house during the Civil War was poetic justice.

The stone angel looked down over Diana when she visited the Livingstons’ grave like Mary Shelley visited the grave of her mother.

St. Vincent’s Hospital

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Mostly my father just sits here in the hospital bed—like a Buddha—awake and aware. What’s it like in there? I cannot fathom the question.

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul founded this hospital in 1916. You could see them, walking the city, walking Riverside, in their elaborate starched habits that looked like ossified wings or horns flung out from their heads.

It’s time for my father to go home. (More than a decade ago, he told me it was okay when it was time for him to go.)

Stories of Pine Forest: Incinerators, Klan Crosses, Family Love and Mulberry Trees

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The Ku Klux Klan burnt a cross in front of her family’s little woodframe house.

The Clydo Road incinerator burnt as much as 120 tons of trash every day. Donna recalls the black smoke pouring through the trees.

Another Lebanese family, the Johns, lived in the three-story rambling house at 5724.

Confederate Park’s “In Memory of our Women of the Southland”

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She’s the embodiment of a Romantic concept called the Lost Cause. Her rhetorical strength, as an object of art, is that to stand before her and deny the Lost Cause lie is to look her in her loving and noble face and call her a liar before her tender children.

Unfortunately, for the Lost Cause Romantics, history documents the originating words of the Confederates.

Lovett’s / Winn & Lovett / Winn-Dixie & my Grandfather

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“When I was a little girl,” my mother wrote, “before we had money, my father liked to tease me and loved to laugh.”

Architectural critics who saw the voluptuous curves of Art Deco as “effete” credited Art Moderne with streamlined manliness.

He gave her “strict instructions to be patient and not to wiggle at the window, or the birds wouldn’t come. So I followed his instructions and stood by the window, looking out, watching him, and I was very still.”

Florida Junior College, What the Beginning Looks Like, the Chance to Create a New World

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“It was not a frivolous time. We felt like we were doing something really important. You couldn’t help but feel that way.”

In idealistic camaraderie, they built a new curriculum and course outlines from scratch, socialized until late in the night, and discussed what books their students should read.

Erstwhile underground bomb shelters opened up. In one building “down toward Park Street,” FJC headquartered its Experimental College.