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Communities of Seminole

  • Your new section for local news
  • Civic duty builds city not seen, but felt
  • By vote, new areas stick to Seminole
  • Retirees find fit, fitness in one place
  • Some say you can go home again
  • Pleasures of living on lake bubble up
  • 30 years later, city's name has cachet
  • Schools, sports support families


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    Some say you can go home again

    People who grew up and left the city say the warmth of Seminole and the coldness of other places drew them back.

    By MAUREEN BYRNE and JULIANNE WU

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published July 1, 2001


    photo
    [Times photo: Carrie Pratt]
    Robyn Davidson says she came back to Seminole to send Cassie, 11, left, and Danielle, 13, to its schools. She bought the house where her best friend in high school lived.
    Although born in Alabama, Michael Bryan was raised in Seminole.

    He attended Orange Grove Elementary School, Seminole Middle School and Seminole High School. Then it was off to the University of West Florida in Pensacola and Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he received a master's degree in library science.

    Next came jobs at libraries in Bradenton, Dallas and Ruskin.

    Then he came home.

    Bryan, 45, is one of many people in Seminole who grew up here, moved away for personal or professional reasons and then returned.

    After being gone for 16 years, he decided it was time to come back to the place he fondly calls home.

    "I came back, I guess, because I grew up here," said Bryan, director of Seminole Community Library since 1992. "Seminole is a very pleasant place to live. It's gratifying for me when I go out or for a bike ride and see people I know and who know me. This is a pretty close-knit community."

    Robyn Davidson likes seeing familiar faces, too. "I love driving down 86th Avenue because you're always waving to people," she said. "It's a nice feeling."

    Like Bryan, Mrs. Davidson, 42, left town after graduating from Seminole High. She attended college in Atlanta before settling in St. Petersburg with her husband, Scott, 41.

    But when her oldest of two daughters was nearing school age, Mrs. Davidson returned to Seminole after a 10-year absence. She bought the house where her best friend in high school lived.

    Mrs. Davidson says she wanted her children to be able to attend their local schools as she did.

    "I'm so excited she's going to Seminole (High)," Mrs. Davidson said of her 13-year-old daughter, Danielle, who will be a freshman. "I can hardly stand it. It just brings back all those memories."

    The Davidson's youngest daughter, Cassie, 11, will enter Seminole Middle School in August.

    But Mrs. Davidson said it was more than neighborhood schools that brought her back to Seminole. It was also things like neighborhood cookouts, chats with friends in the local grocery and a feeling of security.

    "It's a small community and it's safe," she said.

    For Terry Schaefer, a cold winter in Washington, D.C., brought her back to Seminole. The Seminole High graduate moved to the nation's capital in 1969 to work as a secretary for the American Mining Congress.

    But after spending her school years in sunny Seminole, she couldn't take the harsh weather.

    "What changed my mind was when I had to take my wash to a Laundromat, and it was snowing," she said. "That did it. I couldn't stand the cold."

    So Mrs. Schaefer moved back home.

    Today, she and her husband, Bob, have a son, Stefan, 13, who will enter Osceola High School in August.

    A secretary for the Seminole Recreation Department, Mrs. Schaefer, 53, says she is sold on Seminole. "I just love hanging out here."

    Communities of Seminole