My love letter to Panama City Florida part one.

For those of you who follow my posts, you can probably tell that I was in Saint Petersburg Florida at my nephew’s wedding.

What most people didn’t know is that I went to Panama City after the wedding to check in on my parental units and my real estate holdings. I didn’t let anyone know that I was there as my time was limited and dedicated to taking care of business matters.

Once I got back home in Virginia, the reality of what I had just seen in Bay County Florida hit me like a category 5 hurricane…so I felt compelled to write a “love letter” to my home ocean of Panama City that was hit by Hurricane Michael in October of this year.

My love letter is long so I will be posting it in increments. I hope that you take a moment to read it and even share it if you feel motivated to so do…so here goes…

Part One:

December 6, 2018

My love letter to Panama City Florida

57 days after Hurricane Michael


That is the number of years that it will take for my beloved home ocean to return to normalcy…at least that is what I heard when I was there last week. Hopefully, it will take less time. My information is based on what I have heard and/or read, so if my information is inaccurate, I mean no ill will or harm.

My hope for Bay County is that she comes back stronger and more successful than ever before.

Here’s my personal story and why I am writing this love letter:

Born in Virginia, I was raised in a big city and a small town – both were very different from each other. Even as a child, I didn’t like either place. These areas were too busy or too rural and both too cold for my personal comfort level. Warm weather is a good reason to move to Florida.

My Aunt and Uncle had discovered the touristy beach town of Panama City Florida in the 1970’s and made it their home.. My Aunt still lives there and my Uncle lived there until his death last year. He had a thriving auto repair service in Lynn Haven for many years. His ads in the paper talked about how his pricing was based on how much makeup his wife bought!

When I first came to Panama City in the 1970’s (yes, I am old), it was in February. Although the locals thought that it was too chilly to go to the beach, I felt like I was in paradise. Bright sunshine, warm breezes, palm trees, the smell of salt in the air and the Gulf of Mexico. I brought shorts, t-shirts and a swimsuit. Locals knew right away that this was my first visit to town based on my outfit. I first learned about the classic Floridian winter attire: Shorts, flip-flops with two straps instead of just one and a sweatshirt/hoodie.

I fell completely and utterly in love with Panama City. I also became a Florida State University Seminole fan.

Please keep on reading, even if you are a Gator…

We played mini golf on the beach, went shopping at the mall and picked up Big Sam’s chicken (now called Popeye’s) for our dinner on the first night of our visit. I discovered and fell in love with my most favorite food on the planet: OYSTERS. These are just a few of the traditions that were carried on until I made the permanent move to Panama City in 1986. Shortly after I moved to the Southport neighborhood, the space shuttle exploded. I found it odd that I had just moved to get away from the cold and cold weather was responsible for the seals failing on the shuttle…Florida and the nation were heartbroken that day.

Thank you for reading my post.

Tamara Phipps