Mixsonian Larry


Big Freeze

In January and February of 1958 was the year of the big freeze in Florida which at the time was the second coldest month ever recorded in northern Florida with Jacksonville getting one and a half inches of snow.  The freeze killed all the orange trees around the Grandma and Grandpa Mixson’s home. They never had any fruit trees after that, no more picking an orange off the tree and taking a pocketknife, cutting a hole in the top and squeezing the fresh juice out into your mouth.  Another thing we would miss Mom wrote about:

“We used to go eat Sunday dinner with Morris's mom and dad a lot. In the afternoons on a cold winter day we'd all sit in front of the fireplace trying to keep warm and eat oranges. They had a lot of orange trees in the back yard and Morris would pick a dish pan full and sit and peel them for the kids. He'd throw the peelings in the fire and they would crackle and sparkle. They all loved this.”


The Juniors

The Mixsons
Barbara, Morris holding Beth, Brenda, David Larry
In front of the Grandpa & Grandma Junior’s house (1961)

Grandma and Grandpa Junior sold their house across the street from us and bought a house at 930 NW 36th Road in Gainesville.  The house did not look like much from the road with only the carport and roof of the house showing but it was built on a steep slope overlooking Hogtown Creek. When you entered the front door, you were on the second floor and could see straight through the house and out the floor to ceiling windows into a forest of trees. The house had beautiful wood paneled walls and wood floors throughout.  The living room had a floor to ceiling glass wall overlooking the creek three stories below and it had a second all glass wall on one side which looked into a two-story screen in area filled with plants like a giant terrarium.  You could step out a sliding door onto a deck that wrapped around the house at the second-floor level.  I remember Corky’s bedroom being larger than our living room at home and the walls were decorated with baseball team pennants of different teams.  There was a finished basement that was the family room with glass sliding doors that you could walk out and down to the creek which my brother and I would sometimes go down and play in.  Our Uncle Corky was only five years older than me, so we never called him Uncle, just Corky.   That summer Corky had gotten a set of toy trucks for his birthday, not cheap plastic trucks but large, expensive metal toy trucks all painted orange.  There was a  pickup truck, a dump truck, and a Toy Trucksroad grader which was my favorite for the steering wheel and the grader mechanism actually worked.  My brother found the toys in the basement which we got out and took down to the creek where my brother and I played with them in the sand at the edge of the creek for a while then left them in the water at the edge of the creek.  Boy did we get into trouble for that, not only did we not ask to play with them, but we left them in the creek.  We never got to play with them again but in a strange turn of events I ended up with the trucks sixty years later and in 2022 I did a full restoration of the trucks which I plan to give to my the son of my niece, Morris, named after my father,  when he turns five.

Restored toy trucks

Swan Lake

In the summer Grandpa Junior rented a cabin on Swan Lake near Melrose for a week and all the Junior family were there, our family, Sue and Jimmy with Danny, Dixie with her husband, Carole and her husband and baby daughter Danah, and my uncles Gary and Corky.   The kids slept on the floor and on good nights out on the screen porch.  We were crowded but had a good time spending most the day swimming in the lake. We gathered for meals around the picnic table outside which we kids always complained afterwards about having to wait a half-hour before getting back in the water.

Larry, David, Brenda, Corky holding Happy
Cottage at Swan Lake
Grandpa Junior hugging Grandma
Brenda watching Grandpa Junior show off

Updated: 05-27-2023

1958 The Mixsons