Judy and Caesar Meladondri were born and raised in New Jersey, lived in a variety of places ‘up north’ and raised their son Mark in Laconia, NH. Six years ago they retired, sold their home to their grown son and moved to a Del Webb community in Summerville, less than twenty miles from Charleston. They are careful planners and devout Catholics who researched their options before deciding on this particular community. Yet demographically they are part of the huge shift of our population from cold to warmer climates.
South Carolina is the sweet spot for many retirees. The cost of living is lower than in the Northeast, even many parts of Florida. The weather is mild year round. There’s a sense of history, of place, that appeals to many. And, it offers healthy tax incentives to veterans like Caesar.
In a region that’s historically Protestant and insular, Judy and Caesar belong to a strong and growing Catholic community and most of their neighbors are also transplants. They live in the South; that doesn’t mean they’re Southerners.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I think if we want to continue to be a unified country, we need to be able to learn effectively, life our religious life, and know who we are as a people. Is it because I’m 74 and lived in the 1950’s, but I long for that ability to be happy, to be content with what we have.
“I am so concerned about the discord in our country. I’m fine with everything as long as I don’t watch TV. We need to come together as a people. TV divides us.” – Caesar
“I have no idea how we will live tomorrow. I’ve come to the point where each day is a gift of life. I try to take each day as a gift. I try to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. I’m always conflicted about the Martha and Mary bit, but I’m only one woman and there is so much to be done.
“There is so much more confusion now on the big and little things. Everyone is confused. In New Hampshire we could survive a catastrophe. We had a working fireplace and a garden. We lived through four days of a snowstorm. Here we lived through four days of what they called a 1000-year flood. I felt trapped. This is not a natural environment. It is an engineered environment. We are not even allowed to have a raised tomato bed. In New Hampshire I felt more in control.” – Judy
“In New Hampshire, we were twenty years younger.” – Caesar