There are currently 50 states comprising the United States of America. And while I have seen many of those states, and lived in quite a few, somehow, we never lived in a state that housed the larger part of either side of my family. My mother's family were mostly in Maine and my father's family mostly in Michigan. While we spent time visiting both of those states, we never actually lived in either of them.
We did, however, live in a lot of other places. And of course since our copious travels were exclusively by car, we saw a great deal of this vast country. During those trips I learned that every state has something to offer, something worth seeing, something that makes it special. And I kept in mind at all time, that any of those places could be called to be our next home. Especially since, as a kid, I had zero input in what our next address was going to be. Instead, we just accepted the news and made the choice to find the good in the places we landed.
By the time I went to college, my immediate family was living in Connecticut and since it's cheaper to go to college in the same state that you live in, obviously I attended a Connecticut college. And so it naturally followed that I married there, had my children there and watched them grow up there. While there were many different actual addresses involved, all of them were in Connecticut, the Nutmeg State. (seriously, that's what it's called!) As far as I knew, I would be there for the rest of my life.
My sister, however, married a man in the Coast Guard and as any military family knows, there will be moving involved. I'm trying to think of all the different places she lived: Washington (state), Texas, Ohio.......is that it? All of them were far away and from the time she married (until now) the only time we saw each other was during her visits home.
And, I want to make this very clear, while we were always very close and I missed her, it felt perfectly normal in our weirdo family, to be far away from the people we loved. We had already had a lifetime of practice! Our relationship was primarily on the phone. We called each other often. If we had today's technology back then, we probably would have been Skyping and texting daily. We had No expectations that at some point in our lives we would be living in the same state again.
All of this comes up because word came down to me (via my sister) that one of my lovely readers, Maryellen you know who you are, wanted to know how on earth so much of our family ended up living here in the same general vicinity in Florida. Especially since we all came from somewhere else. Dang good question.
To date my sister and her beau live about a half hour away, both of her daughters live about an hour from me and then, of course, Tim and I are here as well. At one time, our parents lived here too. And none of us arrived at the same time. It's just crazy.
Joy and I were talking about it and she put together a little time line to help me out. It seems that her beau, Bob, already had a few rental houses down here in central Florida. He had purchased a very pretty lot on the beach in Englewood and built a house for himself also. It was just a winter home at that time. That was back in the early 1990's.
In 1999, Joy's oldest daughter, who was graduating college in Pennsylvania, accepted a job in Arcadia, Florida. So there you have it, the first full time resident in our family. Bob and Joy came down occasionally and for different lengths of time each visit.
Then in 2001, Joy's other daughter, who finished about a year and a half of college in Connecticut, decided that she needed a change of scenery and she also moved to Florida to live with her sister while she decided what to do with the rest of her life.
Coincidentally, later that same year, Joy and Bob decided to make Florida their home base and officially made the move down as well. They lived in a different town but within an hour of her kiddos.
Later that same year, I guess our parents decided that, well if you guys are going to go to Florida, we will too! It was a very spontaneous decision. So you see by 2001 most of my family was suddenly living in the same state as each other! It was a wild concept. The funniest part of it is that while flying home from another visit to Florida Family, I remember saying to Tim, I mean actually, literally saying these words "It's a great place to visit, but I would never want to live in Florida". HAHAHAHAHA That's so funny.
Tim and I, at that time were still in Connecticut. We flew down to visit now and again but our feet were firmly planted in New England's rocky soil. Our kids, on the other hand, were branching out. One at a time, they began to leave the nest and move, not just out of our home, but out of our state. Yikes! Still it's a normal, natural thing for your kids to create their own lives and we all adapted, we visited when we could and talked on the phone when we could not.
Then came the day when Tim accepted a job in Colorado and suddenly we were on the move again. And we found ourselves much farther away from my parents, my sister, my nieces and my kids. While they were all living in different states, they were at least all on the same coast. Quick and easy travel up and down the east coast. Going out to Colorado however was a slog. It was on nobody's way anywhere ever. And it was back to life as it was when I was a kid, only seeing family now and again on vacation. The biggest differences were that when we travelled to see them, we would fly (so much faster) and technology allowed us to be in even better contact on a regular basis.
But that was our life for ten or so years. We accepted it as our newest version of normal and life went on as life does. Until Tim's company did some major restructuring and WAY ahead of the pandemic, most of his people began working from home. His company has employees all over this big country of ours, except the South East part. Guess where we moved to next. Yup Florida. And here we still are.
Tim and I had long discussions about it actually. If we could live anywhere at all, and since he works from home, that is the case, we would probably choose the East Coast anyway. We love being close to the ocean. We already lived in Connecticut. Maine is beautiful but too cold. The mid-Atlantic is lovely and wow they really get hit with some bad storms year 'round. One of the worst ice storms I ever saw was in North Carolina in fact. We never really explored Georgia's coastline so I cannot speak to that. But here we are in Florida which is obviously where we are meant to be despite my earlier proclamation.
Maryellen, I hope that answers your question! ;)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.