Innocence No Longer
by Roberta B. Turner

Growing up in Miami and the South was such a different way of life. Most homes had spacious lawns and many people would have vegetable gardens with tomatoes being a favorite. Some people did this to make extra money and would set up a table in their front yard to sell the items.

There were also local fairs where people would sell their items and in the Florida Keys there would be all kinds of stands on US 1 where locals would sell their products and the quality would be unsurpassed. My parents always bought items from these vendors without hesitation. The world was so different because there was no concern about the safety or quality of the merchandise. Today buying anything from an unknown source is no longer an option. It is frightening.

People were trustworthy. Kids could freely walk to neighbors and ride their bikes without fear of something happening to them. We could pitch a tent and camp in our backyard with neighborhood friends without any concern. Today it is very rare to see children ride a bike without the supervision of an adult. Families would have roadside picnics overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Keys and feel comfortable with their cars parked next to their picnic area.

Miami and South Florida was a friendly place where people talked to their neighbors, had block parties, socialized with people in the neighborhood.

We have lived in our area for approximately twenty years, and we don’t know any of our neighbors through what is now the old fashioned 60s way of living. People had a bit of a southern accent and we all said “Yall.” Our family up north thought our southern accent was strong.

Our world has changed too much and not for the better. At least the Florida I grew up in compared to Florida today. In speaking with friends many seem to share the same experiences and concerns.

There still are some festivals and fairs but unless you are thinking of buying an orchid would you really trust buying food from unknown vendors?

With the thousands of unknown illegal people entering the United States and living in just about any state, I am sure Florida is a big attraction to many. More than 2.8 million migrants have had encounters with authorities so far this fiscal year, compared to more than 2.7 million migrants in 2022, according to the latest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics In September.

It is estimated that Florida has 47,500 farms and ranches that utilize 9.70 million acres. That alone is an attraction for illegal immigrants because many farmers hire illegal immigrants due the inexpensive cost of their labor. Surprisingly, Palm Beach County is Florida’s biggest farming county. This is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Palm Beach County.

So many times we hear of people moving out of South Florida, and North Carolina is one of the popular areas people are relocating to. Recently, a doctor friend of mine purchased a home in Utah and when I asked why it was because it is a simple way to go back to some of the values we use to enjoy in South Florida.

I am not sure how we can restore some of the security and safety back to our communities, but we should all make an effort to do what we can to make living here a kinder and friendlier place. Moving from Florida is not an option for me because of family ties. So as we think about all we want for the New Year of 2024, let us all make an effort to restore some southern values to our cities.