HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY

Lacoochee


Nell’s Memories of the Fosters

By NELL MOODY WOODCOCK

Roy and Edith Foster made an indelible impression on me as a young child about to enter her teenage years. To begin with they didn’t fit the mold of the average childless couple living in this major sawmill town called Lacoochee, Florida.

Edith was young, fun to be around and had her own car. Roy was a constable, a Pasco County deputy sheriff, who arrested people who broke the law. And he liked children. My family lived near them in an area close to the elementary school and the company’s lumber yard.

I was 12, maybe 13 when I first began visiting in their home. One thing that caught my attention was a metal bank about as tall as a Kleenex box standing on one end. With each penny deposit in the bank you received a piece of chocolate candy. There was a dish close by filled with pennies. The bank had no closing hours. That’s when I became a chocoholic.

Nothing memorable sticks in my mind about the actual motor trips I made with them to Weeki Wachee Springs and Brooksville in Hernando County and to Plant City in Hillsborough County. But what happened on our arrival is as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

Weeki Wachee Springs is one of Florida’s numerous first-magnitude springs discharging more than 60 million gallons of water every day from the aquifer. Back then it was a local swimming hole for people who lived in Brooksville or the historic community of Bay Port where the Weeki Wachee river empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

On my first visit we found a diving board jutting out from the bank and a rope swing hanging from an Oak Tree limb extending over the springs. It took a brave soul to make the plunge into the icy cold water below. Yes, I made the plunge. There was a makeshift bath house on the bank constructed by the local swimmers. I don’t remember anyone else being there on that day.

Today Weeki Wachee Springs, a world famous tourist attraction is one of Florida’s many state parks. It is located at the intersection of U.S 19 and State Road 50.

My next thrill occurred in Brooksville on our return trip home. Edith stopped to go shopping and I left the store with my first pair of high heel shoes. Gray colored soft leather sandals. Not meant for Lacoochee’s sand roads and board sidewalks. But Edith understood a young girl’s longings.

Next she took me to Plant City and a beauty shop for my first permanent wave. Plant City was a cow town then now famous for its annual Strawberry Festivals. Perhaps a few of you remember the contraptions used back then to put a permanent wave into a women’s hair. A metal electric clamp attached to each individual curl for heat to set the permanent. While attached to that machine I began to wonder if all my hair might fall out. When the ordeal was over, Edith was pleased and I was sure I’d be the envy of all my girlfriends in Lacoochee when school opened that fall.

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