Coming Full Circle (Almost)FamilyBios
On June 22nd of last year, Amy and I packed up the family and moved from Atlanta (Decatur, GA) to Beaufort, SC. We started considering this move several months before, and a lot of family and friends were a bit surprised as we had created such a happy home and professional life in Decatur.
Where did such an idea come from? Move at age 46 with three kids settled in school and a wonderful life in Decatur?
To start with, Amy and I have been married 20 plus years. Being from Miami, there have been very few weeks that have gone by (especially in the winter) where Amy has not expressed the desire to move back home close to the water. At some point the kids joined in and started to ask if we could move there. To make matters worse, Amy and kids speak Spanish to each other all the time, Miami’s new native language. I try to join in by blurting out a random word like “conquistador!” or a phrase like “hola me amor.” As much as I wish I knew this beautiful language, I can’t roll my “R’s”, my slow southern drawl doesn’t mix well with speaking speedy spanish, and I see little hope in ever learning the language. Thus, while I have always enjoyed my visits to Miami, anyone who knows me knows a move close to the Miami water would make me a complete “fish out of water!”
While Miami was not in my plans, South Carolina has always tugged at my heart. In fact the very first Lesesne to call America home was a Huguenot from France named Isaac who landed in Charleston around 1700. Isaac ended up with a plantation on Daniel Island. His grandsons defended Charleston at Fort Sullivan under General Moultrie in 1776 and later fought under General Francis Marion.
From Charleston, the Lesesnes moved to Williamsburg County and had a place called New Market. My great-great-grandfather was the first casualty in the Civil War from Williamsburg County. Thank goodness his wife became pregnant before he went off to war. They had one son, my great-grandfather, Nabor DeKalb Lesesne, Jr. My grandfather moved from Kingstree and eventually settled in Greenville, where both of my parents were born and raised. Due to these moves, I have lots of cousins in Charleston and around the state.
This family history has always been part of our annual gathering, the Lesesne Reunion (A.K.A. The Eat-a-thon) held every December. Over the years we have had this gathering on the Isle of Palms, in Mt. Pleasant, in Due West (at Erskine College) and in Spartanburg (at Wofford College). I grew up spending parts of my summers staying with my grandparents when they moved to Sunset, SC in Pickens County. I learned to fish for trout in the Eastatoe River which ran through my grandparents front yard, and was a camper at YMCA Camp Greenville for several years.
All of this family history and time spent in the state was part of the reason I settled on Wofford College. Amy and I met at Wofford as freshman almost 30 years ago. So while I really loved our life in Decatur, moving to Beaufort, SC was not too difficult to fathom.
How did we decide on Beaufort?
We first came to Beaufort in August of 2011 to attend the funeral of one of my fraternity brothers. While it was a sad and somber occasion, the silver lining of that trip was that we were enamored with this small coastal southern town. After that trip Amy and I decided one day when the kids were gone and we were ready to retire, we would move to a place like that. So the insane part of all this is that we didn’t wait. We didn’t wait until our kids couldn’t enjoy this special place with us, and we didn’t wait until we were 65 years-old and might have difficulty making our way in and out of a fishing boat.
Any good marriage takes compromise and Beaufort is the perfect compromise for Amy and me. She didn’t make it full circle back to the tropical waters of Miami, and I didn’t make it full circle back to Daniel Island where Isaac started and somewhere in the back of my mind I thought we might end up. We didn’t wait, and we are insane, but we are having a lot of fun and we love Beaufort, SC!