I was born and raised in Central Florida. My dad was a pharmacist back when this profession garnered great respect in the local community. It was no different for our family. He was lovingly referred to as “Doc” due to the fact that he was always willing to give health advice to his customers anytime of day or night. He used his knowledge for the good of all who knew him with patience and kindness.
My maternal grandparents wanted my dad to succeed, so they purchased two lots in an up and coming community to the west of Orlando called Pine Hills. It was a “bedroom town” for the newly built, Martin Marietta plant.
“Martin Marietta began Orlando operations on Dec. 4, 1957, with 2,700 workers on about $200 million in orders for missiles and antiaircraft guidance systems for the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy.”Source: Washington Post
My Dad’s store, Silver Star Pharmacy, opened in 1960 to serve the many families moving to the area. It would become a hub of the community, it even had a soda fountain for friends to gather for the blue plate lunch special. I can still hear the sizzle of hand-pressed burgers on the grill.
The road in front of the store was a two-lane dirt road called Silver Star Road, and it was located at the intersection of Pine Hills Road. This was the main intersection in Pine Hills; A perfect place for a budding business to have the best shot at success.
Grand-opening day arrived. My parents hired a horse-drawn carriage to draw families to the celebration with their children. Free rides were given to the eager kids, and a tree was given to the first 100 potential customers. A great gift to a brand-new community.
These trees are the focus of my Fall in Florida favorites. Golden Rain Trees provide the only Fall colors in our state during the months of September through November. We get Fall colors, but not usually until January. A sad fact for me, since Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.
These trees are the kind that propagate so it’s no surprise that the 100 trees planted in 1960 have become hundreds, if not thousands of trees in Central Florida.
Quick Fact: I didn’t see Fall happen until 2012 when my husband took me away for the month of October just so I could experience it for myself.
My Mom and Dad are gone now. But their legacy remains. Not the pharmacy–it closed in the 1990’s due to the change in medical care–that’s another story. What remains are these beautiful trees that put on a display of bright yellow first, then turn to a rust red. Our Florida trees of Fall color bring me joy each and every year. And I always whisper a prayer of thanks for my parents who made it happen.
This is the 4th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.
Wonderful post and legacy to your parents’ business. Thank you for sharing.
And the trees – what a great gift that keeps on giving!
I would definitely miss fall if there were no colorful leaves. Some years it’s a matter of a few days only, though. Strong winds will rip them off the trees quickly.
We make sure to go north at least once during the Fall. This year the colors were gorgeous. Thank you for commenting Tamara. Have a blessed day.
Great story. It’s hard to image Orlando with dirt roads. I love that your parents gave out trees.
I love this fact too. My mom
Always loved plants, animals
And the land. Part of her Creek Nation heritage shining through.
Fun to visualize Florida before it became overrun with development.
I remember when I was little and on vacation, folks would ask where we were from. When Is say, “Orlando”, they’d reply, “Where’s that!” The Mouse literally put us on the map.
Thanks for sharing your memories of Orlando before it became Orlando-ized.
And, come on up to the Blue Ridge to see true Autumnal hues.
We were able to see them on the southern end of the BRPwy. Our cabin is near Boone and the colors this year were spectacular. Thanks for the offer, Roy. One day…
Though I spent a lot of time in your Dad’s store and with your family, I did not know the details of how it got started. Thanks for sharing this and that awesome photo.
You’re so very welcome, Joy. It’s a story I love to tell.
Love reading about your dad’s pharmacy and trees! What memories they must hold for so many!!
Yes, it is a very special part of our story.