Milestone

Twenty years ago today I walked into the offices of this magazine for the first time. I had just moved from Jacksonville to take this job; I planned on staying two years tops, just long enough to shake things up in my life, then go back to the place I really belonged.

I do not know to this day how two years turned into 20, or how I gradually found myself calling South Florida home. I know a lot of this wasn’t easy. I got into epic arguments with my employer John Shuff now and then over the direction and content of the magazine. I missed the South and the sense of community I had had. It did not feel like home here; it was so transient, and I could not find a place for myself.

I made friends, one by one; I got married, then divorced; I got older. The one constant, however, was the magazine: the work itself is something I love, something I’ve never really gotten over, not in all these years. And that has spilled over into the place somehow, the Everglades and the rivers and the ocean, all fused in a magical urban collision of worlds, from Miami to Palm Beach. Taking an eight-mile hike through the wet prairies of the Big Cypress with Florida native son Oscar Thompson; listening to Irving R. Levine explain the cold war in an interview; listening to Gianni Versace talk about what inspired him only months before he died. It never got old. It never does.

I have a friend at the Palm Beach Post who once called me a “lifer;” even I have wondered if I have stayed too long at the party. But then there is another day, another person to talk to, an idea for a story, a walk down to the beach just as the light is changing.

I still have no idea how this came to be 20 years, but it’s been fun, and I have to thank John and Margaret Shuff who own this magazine, for sticking with the principles that define sound publishing, and for believing that it matters.

And, most of all, for putting up with me for 20 years.