BY SUE ERWIN – Island employee Dianne Pavia has worked as a cashier at Hudson’s Grocery for the past year. She is originally from Massachusetts and relocated to Rotonda West two years ago.
“My twin sister, Donna, moved to this area, and she also works at Hudson’s,” Dianne said. “We used to vacation down in Siesta Key all the time, and that’s what brought us to this area.”
Dianne said she loves working at Hudson’s and enjoys coming in to work every day.
“They are the nicest people to work for. They are very kind and very generous,” Dianne said. “Everybody is very happy there; it’s like one big happy family. I really enjoy working in Boca Grande – the people are so nice.”
Dianne said she really appreciates the drive to work every morning.
“Just driving over that bridge and seeing the birds and water every morning, it’s so peaceful,” she said.
Dianne met her husband, Bill, back home in Massachusetts.
“His wife of 37 years was my friend and she got very sick, so I helped him when his wife passed away,” she said.
Dianne and Bill were married eight months ago.
“We have been friends for so many years, and after his wife passed away, it was just a natural connection for us both.”
Dianne and Bill came down to visit the area on a vacation together a couple years ago. Then her sister, Donna, moved here, and Dianne and Bill followed a year later. Dianne’s other sister, Janet, moved to South Gulf Cove just a few months ago.
Dianne is one of ten sisters and has seven step-sisters. Her sisters reside in several different states, including California, Wisconsin and Georgia. They all try to get together for a reunion every year.
Before moving to Florida, Dianne worked for a company called Lifeline, where she was in customer service for eight years.
“You might remember the old commercials: ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ – I was on the other end of the line when people called,” she said.
Dianne also worked for the Bayer Corporation for more than 25 years.
“I did a lot different things there,” she said. “I started out doing general office work, accounting, purchasing … I really got to learn a lot while I worked there.”
She wanted to be closer to her twin sister two years ago, and that’s when she decided to look for property in the Rotonda area.
Hudson’s has been her first and only job since moving to Florida. “I applied when I heard about the job opening. But I had to wait a little while before I started working, because there was a girl who had just given her notice that she would soon be leaving,” Dianne said.
And she said she is happy to be working there now, because she feels there is such good energy among the employees at the store.
“We all get along so well,” she said. “Hudson’s is just a great place to work and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”
When she is not working, Dianne enjoys going to the beach and entertaining guests in her home.
“I am always entertaining. I love to cook and I love to bake. I like to invite my friends over for football parties,” she said. “My friends know the party is always at my house.”
Dianne has two daughters, Carolyn and Jessica, and they both live in Massachusetts.
“I miss my daughters – that’s the only thing I really miss about moving down here,” Dianne said. “I don’t miss the snow. I don’t miss the shoveling, and I never liked driving in it.”
Dianne said one of her daughter’s came down to visit her last year, and the other one hasn’t been able to come down yet.
Bill works as a toll taker for the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority.
Both Dianne and Bill have adjusted to the Florida weather and lifestyle quite well. “We love it here. The weather is great. I do go back up and visit my daughters, but I try not to go in the winter,” she said.
Dianne also worked as a hairdresser while she lived in Massachusetts, and she managed a beauty salon as well as a beauty supply store for a while.
“I really enjoyed working with the elderly and styling their hair. That gave me a lot of satisfaction,” Dianne said. “There was one woman who had multiple sclerosis, and I used to go over to her house and do her hair. It would make her happy.”
Dianne enjoys traveling whenever she gets the opportunity. She recently went on her fourth cruise over the past three years, this time to Aruba and Antigua. “I really enjoy going on cruises, they are so convenient and very relaxing,” she said.
Dianne enjoys all types of music. “I am starting to get into country a little bit,” she said, “but I like all kinds of music, really.”
She said the person she admires most is her husband, Bill.
Dianne is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Women of The Moose in South Gulf Cove.
“We do a lot of functions and a lot of fundraising. At Christmas time we put up a tree with gift tags, and people donate things for needy kids in the community. We recently held a seafood feast that was open to the public. We usually put on a function the first weekend of every month.”
Shuffleboard is another hobby that Dianne has enjoyed since moving to Florida. “I am considered the ‘shuffleboard queen’ of South Golf Cove,” Dianne said. She tries to play as often as she can.
“There are leagues that meet and play two nights a week,” she said. “I had never played up north, but it really seemed popular down here, so I started playing.”
She has also started playing pool with friends, but she admits she is not very good at the game.
Dianne also enjoys playing cards. High-low-jack is her favorite card game, but she said she enjoys many other popular games.
Another hobby Dianne enjoys is gambling. She recalls going to the Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island and some of the other casinos in Connecticut.
“I haven’t done that much here, but back home I had my own parking space,” she quipped.
“One time my twin and I were playing the slots and they announced my name and said I had won a Super Bowl party. I thought it was just a party package, but it was two free tickets to the Super Bowl in Arizona or $7,000.”
She only had a minute to decide, so she took the $7,000.
“At the time I didn’t know The Patriots were going to be in the Super Bowl, and I didn’t know if the tickets were transferable or not. I didn’t want to take the chance.”