Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Legacy: A Word Study

Floridians are in love with the word legacy. In the last two days my husband and I have seen Legacy Homes, a Legacy Pizza Restaurant, the Legacy Golf Course, and today, we biked along The Legacy  Trail:
As I was biking, admiring the strands of Spanish moss that drape the live oaks like hundreds of grey shawls,




I wondered about Florida's fascination with the word legacy. Surfing the internet I finally found the connection. On the Viva Florida website I discovered that the word is associated with the Spanish legacy of precolonial times. It can be seen in the Spanish roots of the names of many cities (San Agustín became St. Augustine; San Marcos de Apalachee became St. Marks, etc.) In addition, both Florida's cattle and citrus industries have Spanish origins.

But how about Spanish moss? Is it another Spanish legacy? As it turns out, the plant that is seen throughout the southeast, is neither Spanish or a moss. Legends abound to explain the name. Depending on what you want to believe, either it is the greying hair of a Spanish woman whose fiancee' was warned by Cherokee Indians to leave the land, or it is a Spainard's beard-- caught in the trees after he was spurned by a Native American woman.

Now you know.


8 comments:

wordwranglernc said...

I love reading folklore and local legends. True or not, they add flavor to the place you're visiting!

Biking in Florida sounds fun...as long as you are not near any gators! :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Donna, I'm so glad your daughter and her friend are coming to Write2Ignite! I look forward to meeting her. No alligators yesterday...although my camera was ready in case I saw one (from a safe distance!) Last time I was in Florida I saw one on a golf course, but of course didn't have my camera then. Stay warm!

elysabeth said...

Not nice that you missed the snow here and are in Florida - lol. Legacy - it's what great writing is about - cool word to make an association with in another state. - E :)

-----------
Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

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Janie said...

My father lives in Legacy Retirement Home in Mesa, Arizona. Your blog caught my eye because of the name. We will celebrate my dad's 90th birthday the end of this month at Legacy!

Jean said...

You are defintiely a writer. We can find the weirdest things to to be interesting enough to write about! I was born and raised in FL. I think the Spanish Moss is beautiful. The trees look so wise and graceful when draped in that particular life-sucking parasitic plant.

Blessings,
Jean

Carol Baldwin said...

Janie & Elysabeth-
Nice hearing from you both. Yes, word studies can take you to all sorts of interesting place!!

Carol Baldwin said...

Jean- Well, when you bike for hours on end, you've got to find something to think about!! And of course, there is Spanish moss everywhere and so I wrote that blog in my head...if you know what I mean. Actually I thought how about the moss can look beautiful or scary or dreary--depending on the sunlight and the mood a writer wanted to convey. Like I said, I had a lot of time to think!!

Emily Raij said...

That was so interesting! I have always wondered about Spanish moss. Glad you took the time to look up some possible origins for its name.