Hurricane Ian Destroyed One of My Favorite Childhood Memories: The Famous Florida Structure Known as the Dome Home
Everlasting memories are a funny thing, you don't get to decide what yours are.
One of mine involves a Southwest Florida landmark that I recently learned has been swept away forever, by Hurricane Ian.
You can see it in the picture above, and the video below, it's called the Dome Home and it was located on Cape Romano. Cape Romano is located in the Gulf of Mexico, a short boat ride from Marco Island, FL where my grandparents lived for over thirty years.
We started to vacation on Marco when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and we'd go every year, for many years. Long after I was traveling with my parents for vacation, I'd go alone to see my Grandma and Grandpa, sometimes several times a year.
Whenever we went to Marco Island, it was an agenda item, a boat-trip to Cape Romano. I've visited the Dome Home twenty to twenty-five times in my life, always with family and good friends. Some of my fondest lifetime memories happened while anchored off Cape Romano.
So, I was sad when my father texted me the other night to tell me the Dome Home is gone. He sent me a Washington Post article that said Hurricane Ian wiped the Dome Home away.
I can't remember the history of the home, but thankfully the Post did, the wrote:
Nature had other plans. Beginning in the early 2000s, hurricanes and erosion ate away at the land where the Cape Romano dome home sat. By this year, it was hundreds of feet off the shore — an otherworldly local landmark that drew a stream of sightseers who arrived by boat.
They followed that up by explaining how the loss was discovered, writing:
When Hurricane Ian tore through southwest Florida last week, they were destroyed. In photos taken by local shelling companies, all that remains were a few columns poking, just barely, out of the water. The much-mythologized home succumbed to the same forces it was designed to resist, becoming a symbol of the area’s enormous loss.
When I think of this place, I can see my mother and father smiling. I remember my Grandpa Al, who was the Captain of the "Chief's Toy", with an open Hawaiian shirt, a golden tan and a smoke in his lips.
He was the one who showed us this place and shared the stories associated with it. Grandpa is no longer with us, I'm no longer a boy but my senses still get overwhelmed when I see a picture of this place. I can smell the Gulf, I can hear my family's voices, and remember the texture of the sand in my toes.
But what does all of that mean? Nothing. The folks in Florida deal with this every few years. They lose places that mean something to them, some lose their homes and in extreme cases, they lose loved ones to storms that are unpredictable, violent and scary. It takes a passionate personality to endure hurricane season again and again. There are people who have lost their homes multiple times, have rebuilt, and when the next one comes, they'll rebuild again.
Florida you say?
P.S. I wrote this for my Grandpa Al. He would have loved my show and my articles. I'd tell him that someone e-mailed me to complain that I was an A-hole for making the Hurricane about me and my stupid childhood memories. I'd tell him that some know-it-all on the internet took offense to a joke I made about Florida and I know exactly what he would say. As sure as I'm sitting here, he say "If you can't joke em', F--- em."
P.P.S - Thankfully my Florida friends and relatives made it out OK in the storm (Pam, RC, Grandma & Storm). I hope the same can be said for yours.