What can I say? Well, lots actually. I should preface my trip with the fact that my family, Mentone, and the world lost one of the originals, Andy Talton. Andy became the steward of the Mentone Springs Hotel. So, while I was sipping a Mojito on the beaches of Miami in his honor — Mentone, my parents, and a couple of hundred of Andy’s nearest and dearest celebrated what he gave us — his life and his vision. Reports came to me that it was dreary day on the mountain. Probably fitting for a farewell. But I think Andy will not fault me my moment in the sun. Actually, I think he was right there with me, blue eyes sparking with mischief and checking out the finer things in life. And as much as could be written about him, this is not the place. Perhaps a longer work of a life lived is in order?
So I left. Did my mourning in Miami. I never really thought I’d care for it. Sure, I enjoyed Miami Vice when I was little. Art Deco is one of my favorite periods of architecture and design. But I think the new, night club, fashionista, spoiled rich kid image that conveys Miami didn’t appeal to my down-to-earth persona. My students tried to prepare me “Auntie Julia, don’t wear brown or gray or any thing you wear to school.” (Yes, some of the girls do call me Auntie Julia.) I took their advice, hesitantly. And arrived. And was blown away by the blue of the ocean. The sound. The occasional crow on the beach (what were they doing?). Everything was as I wanted. Relaxing, warm, restful. I didn’t even take my laptop. I didn’t turn on the TV but once for the weather. I could rave and rave. Just enjoy the pics.
Please though, remember all the forces (scrupulous and otherwise) that create places, spaces and works of beauty. All the originals that will not stop until their vision is realized. The Hofhausers, Altmans, Olmsteads, Murakamis and the Andy Taltons. We are richer and better for them. Thanks.