Imagine being an empty nester. Your kids have gone off to college and your house is empty save for you and your spouse.
Then imagine a global virus suddenly brings you back together. Now, confronted with each other in the same space all the time, how do you take the edge off?
For the McCoy family of St. Petersburg’s Snell Isle, the answer is photo shoots. Major photo shoots.
Fred McCoy is senior vice president for global business at Jabil, the kind of traveler who logs 400,000 miles a year. Caroline McCoy is an occupational therapist.
In March, they went to visit their daughter, Ellie, in Australia. The 19-year-old was on an exchange program with the University of Sydney, and the coronavirus was just heating up in Florida. Over the course of their vacation, it became clear Ellie would be safer at home. They cut the trip short and came back together.
“She was mad beyond belief that we made her come back,” Fred said. “It was pretty sour for the first few days.”
Rose McCoy, 20, was home, too, missing out on her pre-med experience and sorority life at the University of Nebraska. Jack McCoy, 23, was living in Nashville, away from the family. Everyone was bummed.
They decided to make daiquiris and have a tropical hang to ease tensions. They got dressed for the occasion and snapped a photo. Fred posted it on Facebook.
The next night, they dressed in Western garb for Ellie, a country singer and songwriter.
But “Greetings from Florida” really set things off.
“That’s when the phone calls starting coming in,” said Fred. Everyone had an idea, and now it was a whole thing. Gatsby. Tiger King. Tour de France. Rose’s boyfriend helped with Photoshop on a few images. After a spot on WFLA News Channel 8, the family’s photos ended up on the Today show.
They spend their afternoons planning the night’s shoot using stuff they have around the house. If someone is not in the mood, they stay out of the shot, no problem.
“It’s really reinforced the importance of family,” Fred said. “And it’s really tightened our bond, having this common experience."
Next up for the McCoys, though, is figuring out a graceful way to end it. Maybe it’s a graduation scene. Perhaps a ride into the sunset. We’ll have to wait and see.
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Here’s a sampling of the McCoy family’s greatest hits.
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