For most people, Aruba is simply a tropical getaway, a chance to indulge in the finer things the island has to offer including but not limited to its food, beaches, and family activities.
For Mary Ann, Nicole, Tommy, Chris, Amanda, Gabrielle, Tom Tom, Kristen, Brooke, Reece, Uncle Bobby, Sal, Michael, and all of the friends they have made on the island over the last 30 years, Aruba is a home away from home. Before her passing in 2016, Great Grandma Sally came along every year as well, making it 4 generations of our family present on the island. Chris even brought his girlfriend Jessica along this year for her first Aruba experience.
In 1989, Mary Ann made the impulse decision to test the Caribbean waters of Aruba. She had not heard much about the island, but Mary Ann is a risk-taker, and this is a risk that led to three decades of Aruba vacationing and a multitude of friendships created along the way. She was hardly in the financial position to purchase her timeshare when she did, but at the time she knew an opportunity to own a piece of Aruba was one she could not pass up.
Aruba has done more for our family than simply affording us a tropical island getaway for one week of each year. It has fostered ties with lifelong friends and provided us with endless fun, laughter, and comfort. Every one of the children in our family learned to swim in the Aruba Beach Club pool. Nicole, Mary Ann’s daughter, met her husband Tommy in Aruba, and their four children have been visiting the island annually for their entire lives. Without Aruba, it is unclear what our family tree would look like today.
Whether it be the sunset cruise, competitive beach volleyball, happy hour at Ricardo’s, gambling at the Alhambra, or simply watching the sunset with our feet in the sand after a long day of activities, there never seems to be a moment lacking in happiness and fulfillment for our family in Aruba.
Even when Tommy, a diehard Yankees fan hailing from Bronx, NY, is greeted by the cab driver at the airport with a Boston Red Sox sign reading: “Cataldo Family. #1 Red Sox fans” by ways of the antics of our longtime family friend, Sal, the beautiful island breeze hitting your face as you walk out of the airport makes getting burned by Sal not so bad. Q