The Ottumwa Courier

July 23, 2012

Retirement a new chapter for the Huttons

The Road Less Traveled

Courier editor

LINBY — My parents’ retirement is a great relief, a time of celebration and even a little bittersweet.

After more than 40 years in the RV business, my parents will lock the doors this week and begin their new journey as full-time retirees.

Over the past couple of months, they have slowly begun moving their lives to their part-time Iowa home in Linby in the northwest corner of Jefferson County, where they plan to reside half the year the other half in Hilton Head, S.C.

With retirement and for the first time in their adults lives, the word “work” will have absolutely nothing to do with business. No more customers, no more late-night phone calls related to RVs, no more “work-related” headaches.

Work will now mean working in the garden or working on converting the old Linby Baptist Church into a new home.

For my sister and I, it’s a blessing that now, finally, my parents don’t have to worry about getting up early or keeping tabs on the dayplanner.

Of course, retirement also means saying goodbye to a life that helped them to raise a family, put two kids through school and allowed them to take the occasional vacation to Disney World or Hawaii.

It also represents an end to something that was such a big part of their identity, that I think retirement in their mid-60s was never really part of the plan. They instinctively had to wait until now — in their early 70s — because closing the doors to their 41-year business proved difficult.

I don’t recall why my parents wanted to go into the RV business in the first place, but back in 1971 behind the Tastee Freez in Vinton, it all began with one small travel trailer.

Over time, that one trailer turned into many travel trailers, folddowns, Class A and Class C motorhomes, three different locations, a service center, RV supply store and more.

And because it was their blood, sweat and tears that built Hutton’s RV Center, I think it’s why letting go was so hard.

Bittersweet, yes, but still a celebration because retirement needn’t be about what was or the ending of something extraordinary. Retirement, I believe, means taking a different path toward a fulfilling life — and it’s a path I know my parents are excited to follow.