Beach dreams

Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas, Texas. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Dreams to be chased come in so many forms and layers that it would be ridiculous to try and list them. The power to identify a dream lies principally with the dreamer.

Therefore, one of our greatest objectives here is to encourage, prod and assist others in pursuing their dreams. We do so by sharing some of our stories and asking others to do the same.

This is about how we found our way to fulfill a certain dream.

Any beach

I had been through my first round of newspaper jobs and a few years of other jobs that bridged the way to my second round of newspaper jobs. (For the record, there were three rounds.) Leah had finally accepted her call to teach. Our daughter was working her way through elementary school.

We had finally made it out of a financial pit created by the circumstances that ended my first round of newspapering (read between the lines) and I had recently returned to journalism when we began discussing leaving our apartment and buying a house.

Bugging us was a gradually developing dream of moving to the coast. We were acknowledging that desire, but practicality was in the way. Leah was happy with her teaching job. Erin was doing well in school. I was clicking along in my news job.

Why would we mess with that?

Our decision was to schedule our dream. Erin would graduate high school in May 2000. Leah and I decided we would at that time move to the coast.

That came about in probably 1993. The fall of that year, I was a finalist for a job on the southern Florida Gulf coast. While I was not hired, all of the planning and consideration that went into it fed the desire to make moving to the beach a reality.

We drafted a strategy that began with buying a small, inexpensive house, cheap enough that we could afford to get it with only a 15-year note. We were even able to make overpayments, the idea being to minimize how much interest we paid and to reduce the principal so we could make money even after owning it only six or seven years.

Cutting to the chase, the plan worked well. We didn’t make a killing because it was still a small, inexpensive house, but we were able to turn it around and have a deposit to help us find a place on the beach.

Which beach?

Leah and I had an understanding. We would move to wherever one of us found a job. The race was on.

I concentrated my search in Florida, partly because I felt an urge to change but mostly because there are not many daily newspapers on the Texas coast. Best I remember, I had only one follow-up interview, that with the paper in Tampa. Maybe Fort Lauderdale, but I’m not so sure.

Leah made only one application, to the high school in Port Aransas, Texas, an island community we often visited as tourists and the place that most influenced our decision to move to the coast.

Of course, Leah received a job offer and we jumped at it.

When I told my boss we were leaving, he voiced disbelief. “I told you over the four years since our papers merged that I was planning to leave in 2000.” Yeah, he said, but he didn’t consider it as something we would actually do.

What’s your dream?

Scratch that. What are your dreams? There’s no limit.

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