Generations of Floridians

Oakland Florida

At one time or another, we all immigrated to the Americas from somewhere.  My roots eventually start in the United Kingdom or Britain on both sides of my family tree.  Recently I've been following our family roots on my father's side as my cousin Joy's been actively pursuing our ancestry back to Kemper County, Mississippi area where things become more diluted with family branches and backgrounds.
Mekenzie and I Sitting on the Old Skating Ring my kinfolk used many years ago in Oakland.

Mom's side of the family has always intrigued me the most because of their close ties to Florida and a heritage near Winter Garden. My grandfather was adored and loved by the small town of Oakland where the main street and town fountain is still named after him.

Grandpa's given name is Grover Cleveland Tubb. I've always thought it was a distinctive name describing him perfectly. A thin man sporting a straw rancher's hat bouncing along the sand roads on a tractor or in his sheriff's cruiser, my Grandpa was a handsome figure with well worn, aged skin and hands that portrayed an outdoor life. Making a meager living serving the city of Oakland, Mr. Tubbs served almost every position from road grading, postmaster and peacekeeper. I don't recall him ever wearing a sidearm, but I do remember him making frequent patrols and responding to the occasional domestic quarrel.

My Aunt Connie would tell me about his Modus Operandi on the telephone when he received calls.

"Mr. Tubb! He's gonna kill me! You need to come over and stop him before something really bad happens!" His response would be shocking nowadays, "You two have been drinking too much tonight and you need to go to bed and when you wake up in the morning you'll be hug'n and kiss'n. I'll come to check on you tomorrow." Everyone was on a party-line in Oakland and I'm sure the gossip went around town quick as wildfire.

Sure enough, he'd ride by their house the next morning and there they'd be sitting on the front porch drinking coffee and exchanging pleasantries. "Thanks for checking on us Mr. Tubb, can we offer you some coffee and fresh collard greens from the garden?" If they weren't accepted, they were brought over later that day for Grandma along with okra and other assorted garden goodies to show their appreciation.

Grandma Tubbs, Ruby, was a gem of southern lady that constantly talked to herself while snapping string beans on the front porch. I rarely saw her without an apron often fiddling around their front yard adorned by a large shady cara cara or "monkey ear tree". Her home was provided by the town and was adjacent to the large water pump house and tanks maintained and monitored by the Tubbs providing city water. A large pole barn shaded the police cruiser and a fire truck for the town volunteers. The City Hall, police department and jail were all within yards of my Grandparent's home and the post office was a stone's throw away. My grandparents were the literally the heartbeat of Oakland from the early 1900's until their deaths in the 70's.

They lived in Oakland on the generosity of the residents and often without any compensation other than their home. Oakland is situated on the southern shoreline of Lake Apopka where citrus groves encompassed the town for what seemed like a hundred miles in any direction. My childhood memories in the sixties and seventies are sparked by the smell of orange blossoms and an old wooden home where their clawfoot bathtub sank through the floors and bottles of empty ripple bottles clanked between the tub and walls. Large spiders and waterbugs made spending the night an adventure for my sister and me in our youth.

For a small town that had little excitement, my young years of visiting Oakland were filled with fun visiting cousins and country stores where black migrant workers sat out front playing checkers, drinking Thunderbird and MD 20/20. Life was simple and a tractor ride on the bush hog for grandkids thru the orange groves was pure joy in the johnsongrass. We'd take our fill of oranges and bring them home for juicing. Grandpa Tubbs always had a favorite orange tree with the best juice trees marked with a bandana. He'd take a plug out of the top of an orange for each of us to suck on and test before we started picking. I remember the sticky orange juice running down my bare belly and the itchy ride home where he'd open up the water tanks and let us wash up after each outing. It was country heaven. Andy Griffin's Mayberry had nothing that Oakland didn't offer and each visit was exciting.

The generation that went from horse & carriage to putting a man on the moon witnessed an awakening of technology that may never be compared.


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