Carrie Sue Ayvar delights LaBelle

Carrie Sue Ayvar, a storyteller who delighted LaBelle with her program as Dr. Anna Darrow last season, returned to LaBelle with a large repertoire of personal, traditional and historical stories of the culture and people of Florida. She flowed seamlessly between Spanish and English.

She told the story of the discovery of “La Florida” by Ponce de Leon: “While Ponce de Leon was in Puerto Rico, he began to hear stories about a land somewhere to the north that was filled with treasures, with gold and silver. There was rumor that in that land there was also the Fountain of Youth. During Easter week in 1513 Ponce de Leon landed somewhere along Florida’s Gulf coast, somewhere between Daytona and Saint Augustine,” Ayvar explains.

“He thought he landed on an island,” Ayvar continues, “He claimed it the land of Spain and named it ‘Pascue Florida’ The feast of Flowers or ‘Florida’ for short. When Ponce de Leon landed he claimed he saw the largest lizards he had ever seen in his life and he named it EL Lagarto; The great lizard. Overtime EL Lagarto turned into Alligator.”

“On his first voyage Ponce de Leon also brought over oranges, citruses are not indigenous to Florida but they grow quite well in this state. Oranges were brought over by the Spanish because they had them on the ships to fight scurvy. The seeds took root right here in Florida and changed our whole economy,” Ayvar explains.

Carrie Sue Ayvar went on to tell more personal and historical stories and the importance of stories in general. Because when you know a person’s story, it is impossible to hate them.

Geoffrey Ionescu can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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