A year ago, I went surfing at the Lake Worth Pier. Typically, I would have taken Dixie Highway back to my apartment in West Palm, but that day I meandered down Federal Highway. Running across a blossoming Poinciana over a sign that said “Where the Tropics Begin,” I pulled over to snap some pictures in the neighborhood of College Park.
This was around the time my boyfriend and I were having the talks of moving in together, looking at the high rents and limited bathrooms of Historic WPB, I said “Let’s check out Lake Worth. Our relationship cannot survive having only one bathroom.” He laughed and said, “What the heck is in Lake Worth aside from good tacos?” The notoriously awesome tacos due to a strong Mexican influence was our only reason to venture to LW at the time.
I took him for a cruise. We were surprised by the hues of houses merely 4 miles away from where we were living. My heart melted over the Free Little Libraries, posted up like mailboxes in front yards, housing free books to anybody that wanted them.
In August, we moved into a blue bungalow and adopted our dog, Hazel, post Hurricane Irma. My L Dub Love magnified as we took our puppy for walks down the colorful, quirky streets. This little city has grown in our short time here, as we have watched the openings of businesses, bars and restaurants.
Lake Worth has something that WPB did not offer to me, a true community.
Being a former high school teacher in Tarpon Springs, I missed a hometown feeling. I had been craving community since I moved to South Florida.
Life in Lake Worth: you know people from every street and the faces behind the counter at local businesses. My craving is satisfied, I even assumed the role as a Community Builder at Social House, a co-working space for creatives located downtown.
Now, I am part of the community that reeled me into LW in the first place, as a steward of Free Little Libraries. I reached out in their Facebook group to be an artist. Mary, the project leader and my neighbor, lives two blocks from me in the Little Library Workshop. She has rows of paint cans, frames going through phases of prep or repair, and an arsenal of books. Her home is somewhere in between a learning laboratory and an art studio.
As I unloaded my blank little library onto my back porch, the white house stared at me as I struggled with what to paint. I stared at it for a week, it sat there and intimidated me. I needed inspiration, so I hopped on my bike, grabbed my camera and went color hunting. I spent about an hour pedaling and snapping houses, plants, and libraries.
After, I grabbed a street taco and scrolled through my photos. I wiped sweat from my eyes looking at the colorful photos and said to myself “Hace Color!” A Spanish pun encapsulating all that I love about my home. I am now inspired by the palette of my town portraits and cannot wait to share the progress of my library.
Color happy, my friends! And as always, live global and stay local.
To LW Free Little Library for stealing my heart and bringing me into this cool project.
To Tacos Al Carbon, thanks for struggling with my Spanglish and forever testing my will to stay on a diet. Please fix your corn roaster, it’s been too long. Aside from Free Little Library, the 24 hour window is the real MVP of L Dubs.