Mom and Dad bought a condo on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, Florida in the late ’80s. It became a special place for them. When Dad retired a few months after they bought the condo, they began to spend more and more time in this enclave of seagrass, windswept beaches, and crashing surf. I think Dad would gladly have moved down here full-time, but Mom wanted to keep a place in Columbus to spend time with kids and grandkids. So they compromised, as successful married couples do, and split the years equally between their condo at Suntide and a condo in Columbus.
They spent many happy years here, and made many friends. The kids and grandkids enjoyed the condo, too. It was a great place to take little children, with a sunny pool and a beach and sandcastle building and boogie board riding and shell-gathering only a few steps away. Kish, Richard, Russell and I came down here regularly, and so did my siblings and their kids. We all have strong memories of this place.
Dad died in 1997. He wanted his remains to stay here, and we honored that request. The kids got older, the visits to the condo became less frequent, and Mom wanted to spend more time in Columbus with her kids and Columbus friends. Eventually we sold the condo at Suntide, but Mom always said that after her death she wanted her remains to be brought here to be with Dad, always and forever. We promised we would do so. And this weekend all of the kids and grandkids are here to honor that promise and think once more of Mom and Dad and their little piece of paradise.
Mom and Dad and the condo are gone, but the sand and surf and sun — and memories — remain. I got up early this morning to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, and it was as beautiful as I remembered. Mom would have liked it.
Mom and Dad bought their condo in suburban Columbus more than 20 years ago. They enjoyed the place, and after Dad’s death Mom has lived there very happily. Now, however, she has decided that the condo is more house than she really needs or wants, so it is being put up for sale.
The process of getting the condo ready to sell has been a chance for our family to work together on a single project for the first time in a long time. Children and grandchildren alike have spent hours cleaning and scrubbing, sweeping and vacuuming, boxing things up and moving things out. It’s been a good chance for us all to reconnect, and with five kids and spouses and grandkids pitching in to share the workload, it made the cleanup and clean out process manageable . . . and fun, too. The experience also has been another illustration of how much stuff Americans tend to accumulate — and for what purpose? Our work at Mom’s condo has caused Kish and me to recommit ourselves to thinning out our collection of boxes and those random, long-unused items stored in closets, the basement, and the garage.
We’ve hired a realtor, and he has guided us through the process of getting the place ready to be shown. We’ve weighed his comparables information, set a price, and tried to avoid too much second-guessing about it, and this past weekend the condo went on the market. I stopped over on Saturday to make sure the realtor had everything he needs, and I bumped into some empty nesters being shown through the condo by a different realtor. They said the condo was lovely, which I appreciated, and I was happy that there was traffic — but seeing them there gave me an odd feeling. I’m not sure I’ll stop by again.