Palm Beach serendipity
Destiny is a funny thing. I’m not sure why, but sometimes things are just meant to happen and one finds out by accident, like serendipity, as coined by Horace Walpole.
You see, I was born in Barcelona, Spain. I am half Catalan and half Vasc (not sure one can get any better genes than these, I say humbly). Just like you, I grew up with Palm Trees, a significant feature in the lives of Catalans which are lushly spread throughout the Mediterranean coast. So I always felt there was a piece of my childhood in my now hometown in Florida.
When I became a Realtor® Member of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors, I arrived early waiting for Quinn in their chicly decorated waiting room. I Googled the history of Palm Beach on my iPad. What a fortunate discovery I made…
Palm beach, is a 16 miles long barrier Island, and according to early settler accounts …on the morning of January 9 of 1876, the Spanish bark Providencia was en route from Havana, Cuba to Barcelona, Spain (yes, Barcelona!), but would never arrive at its destination. Though the weather was clear that day, the ship wrecked off the shores of Florida. Its cargo, 20,000 coconuts for planting harvested on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, was scattered along the coast. “This was truly a providential wreck,” declared Louis Clarke.
The settlers of Florida knew an opportunity when they saw one, and planted some of the stranded coconuts around their homes. The coconut palms and groves that grew from these seeds later gave Palm Beach its name.
Fifty years after the Providencia sank, a reporter for the Palm Beach Post wrote: “From that wreck has grown the palms that line the streets and parks of Palm Beaches; trees around whose bases are quite frequently placed circles of coconuts – in husks like those from the grounded Providencia from whose broken hull 20,000 coconuts provided the beginning of trees not indigenous to the area, but quite at home, nevertheless.” ~ Palm Beach Post, Nov 20 1938 By then I was stirred, but not shaken, and Quinn, poised and quietly, showed me to her office. I put my first foot in her office and that’s when it hit me! A “gos d’atura català”! The National Catalan dog was sitting in her office looking at me as if I had seen a ghost. She explain to me that the dog, Rudy , belonged to Sherye, the executive vice president of the board . He was a rescue dog, a very special friend.I left the office and got into my car, put the window down and took a deep breath, soaking up the smell of the Atlantic while looking at the Palm trees. I remembered those scents AND sites of the Mediterranean. How ironic. Such a similar feeling, but I’m no longer a little girl…and it’s here that I choose to be.
royal palm way, Palm beach; on my way back home last week