Families often move in groups. Sometimes all at once; sometimes one after the other after the other. Several generations ago almost every branch of my family made their way from one of the original colonies–Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina or New Jersey–to Indiana or Ohio.
Then they stopped. From the early 1800s to the late 1900s, much of my family stayed in Indiana and Ohio. But there were always outliers–those who moved on.
My great-great Uncle Mark was one who left Indiana. Pursuing his career in journalism he moved from one newspaper to another until he ended up as the general business manager of Scripps-Howard Newspapers in 1949. From his office in New York he traveled all over the country, visiting the various newspapers owned by Scripps-Howard.
In 1965, Uncle Mark facilitated the purchase of a small, local paper called the Stuart News in Stuart, Florida. It was the first time Scripps-Howard had purchased a weekly paper, but they believed in the prospect of economic growth in this quiet little town on the Atlantic coast of Florida.
Uncle Mark and Aunt Ruth loved the area, so they bought two freshly built condos on Hutchinson Island. At the time all of Martin County only had around 20,000 residents (today, Stuart has just shy of 20,000 and Martin County has around 140,000).
Over the years to come, two of Uncle Mark’s nieces (my Aunt Janet and my grandmother) bought property in the area.
I remember vacationing on Hutchinson Island as a kid, staying in my grandmother’s condo, visiting my aunts and uncles who lived in Stuart. For my whole life, I have loved being there, walking the beach, enjoying the ocean.
My brother, sister, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles–my whole family–love to visit Stuart.
When I got married almost sixteen years ago, I introduced my wife to Stuart and she fell in love with it too. We’ve taken our boys there almost every year of their lives.
Over the years Uncle Mark, Aunt Ruth, Aunt Janet and her husband Uncle Dick all passed away. No one from the family lives in Stuart now. But that will soon change.
For years, my wife and I have longed to live in Stuart. We’ve driven past houses and dreamed of buying them. We’ve gone down for vacation and wished we never had to leave.
Recently, the opportunity opened up for us to move. My wife spent a few months looking for a job and found one at the Martin County Business Development Board. We decided to move and we’ve put in motion the plans that will bring me, my wife and my two boys to Stuart before the end of the summer.
Rarely a day passes that my kids don’t ask the question “Can we go NOW?”
Rarely a day passes when I don’t think about what it will be like to live in Stuart.
When I told my cousins we’re moving, one of them responded: “I wondered if one of us would make a move to the place that has been so special to our family over the years. You guys win the prize!”
We feel like we have won a prize indeed.