In Goodland, we like to paint, adorn and decorate our homes. We choose homes here for a reason – the “Old Florida Feel” of living in cottages that were built in the 1920’s and the sense of friendship, camaraderie and individuality. My dad calls it, “living on a commune.” But it’s nothing like that. We’re just an artsy community of individuals that have all found this special place that allows us to be who we are; and often, the outside of our homes reflects that.
At first, I had second thoughts about putting photos of peoples’houses in the paper, but then I remembered that in season we have dozens and dozens of tourists that roll through our town on a daily basis. And I literally mean roll. They attempt to let the flat streets move their vehicles through town at a rate of five to ten miles per hour to gawk at every home. So, really, most of these photos are nothing people haven’t already seen before.
As annoying as the five-mile-per-hour driver may be on a day when I’m in a hurry, I’ve given some real thought to the situation. In thesuburbs of Chicago, where I grew up, nobody rolled through my neighborhood of cookie-cutter houses to check out their uniqueness – because there was none. If someone was driving like that in our area, most likely a parent in town would have called the police assuming a predator was lurking our streets.
This recollection has really shifted my viewpoint on the “gawkers of Goodland.” I now see the difference. I like that all of our houses are painted with bright colors, have beautiful flower beds and that pieces of art and old crab trap buoys adorn the exteriorsof our homes.
Our local one-stop-shop for clothes, postcards, jewelry and gag gifts that’s closed until October but ships orders online – The Island Woman – features a mural across its entire front wall. There’s even a whole lot in town that’s been turned into a “toilet garden.” Old toilets fill the space with flowers planted in and around them. Other pieces of art and big beautiful trees shade the porcelain pots. It’s quite beautiful
Goodland’s own Denise Santos, a sign artist and muralist, inspired this story as she recently turned a rusty, old white trailer into a beautifulbeach scene. The entire trailer is one big and bright piece of art. Owner Jay McMillan, who lives in the stilt house next door said, “I was tired of waking up every morning and looking down at an ugly piece of crap.” He knew Denise would be the best bet for the job. She also painted the Combs’ Cottage sign along with all of Marker 8.5’s brand new signs.
I don’t know the homeowners or artists of the rest of the photos featured, but they are here because I liked them. As I. myself, rolled through the streetsof Goodland, there were so many options to choose from, but I couldn’t show off all of them.
So, here’s to Goodland and all of it’s “home artists” who express their individuality through their homes. You should actually be proud that you promote the “Goodland Gawker” activity. Goodland really is something to see.
Natalie Strom has lived in Goodland for five years and has worked in Goodland for over eight years. She was crowned Buzzard Queen at Stan’s Mullet Festival in 2009 and is a founding member of the Goodland Arts Alliance. Natalie is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Editor of the Coastal Breeze.[/author]