Writing this article I am sure to make two different groups of friends mad.
When I first moved to Florida, I hated it. Take into consideration that I was seven months pregnant and moving from a small town where I was surrounded by people who loved me. My hometown was a wonderful safe haven where I was fourth generation. My family had been around from the beginning and both Grandfathers were instrumental in the foundation when it was a small farm village.
I was 1200 miles from everyone I loved, in an apartment so small that I could cook up a hamburger on the stove in the kitchen while sitting on the sofa in the living room. My husband was a first year public accountant and worked 800 hours overtime in the first three and a half months of the year.
I was alone. I was 22 years old and had a new baby. I loved being a mom but I was so homesick and I took my unhappiness out on my location. Florida. I hated the heat, I hated the transient climate, (I made two friends and they both moved away within three months) and I hated the stupid palm trees. I told anyone I knew that I thought they looked like sticks with long stringy hair on top.
I missed my seasons. Seasons allow you to see time pass. Winter snow, sledding, skating; Spring rains, flowers blooming, trees blossoming; Summer sun, pool days, cookouts; Fall cool, football games, raking leaves, jeans and sweatshirts, hiking Old Man’s Cave.
But Florida was green all year round. The first year we actually went to the beach on Christmas Day. It was monotonous, the people flighty, the summers unbearable. (If I had a dollar for every person that said they moved to Florida to start over or get away from a bad situation, I’d be a rich woman.) I suppose it had to do with the fact that we lived in a small apartment complex and rarely meet any of the natives outside the concrete walls.
Then in late August, when we were about to have our first child, Hurricanes David and Fredrick struck within a week of each other. My doctor said, “Get to the hospital.” Something about barometric pressure. Let’s just say that the anxiety of two major storms coming a week before my due date put another nail in the coffin of Florida.
Two years into our Florida stay we were transferred back to Ohio. I was thrilled beyond belief. Home, where weather changes and family and friends were in abundance. And I mean abundance. The snow the year we moved home met an all time record. I shoveled snow and dressed, then undressed the kids for outdoor activities at a rate that would send the most brilliant time manager over the edge.
Then it happened. Three years in the cold, gray Ohio winters and a promotion sends us back to Florida. But this time we got a house. The kids started school and our group of friends grew. We started feeling the effects of the seasons. The first few years here we swam year round. Now we were putting on coats in the cold 60 degree winter.
But the turning point actually occurred when I went home seventeen years ago when my Father passed away. It was February and as I flew into Port Columbus I looked out over the grey landscape and missed my green. I’d come to count on the flowers blooming year round and the ability to grab the kids and head to the beach at a moment’s notice. I loved listening to the waves break on the shore and watching the pelicans and seagulls float on the air. I cherished my drives down to Marshall Wildlife Area where I could walk around the beginning of the everglades surrounded by the exotic wildlife.
I still don’t understand Palm Trees and I still consider Ohio home, but I don’t think I’d ever move back. I have come to love the warmth and the green, besides as my incredibly brilliant husband says, “you can always fly to the snow!”