First of all, it’s pronounced “scut,” like “scuttlebutt.” Derek Schut owns and operates All Keys Glass and Elizabeth Schut is the risk management officer for the City of Marathon. They met when they were 9 years old. Elizabeth described Derek as her “lawn boy” (he came to cut the family’s grass at the lake house) and he recalls chasing her on Rollerblades in a little town in west Michigan near Gun Lake. Both agree it was a one-stoplight sort of town, surrounded by lake houses and farmland. They dated in high school, then went their separate ways in their 20s, before reuniting in the Keys where they are living their best lives with their son, Cash, 13.
How did you entertain yourselves in Michigan?
Elizabeth: My family owned a horse farm and after we sold all the animals, my dad cut us a racetrack in the grass that we would ride our go-karts on. Later, it was dirt bikes.
Derek: Biking, snowmobiling, swimming, boating, tubing …
What did you do after high school?
Elizabeth: I spent two years in school, studying to become a chemical engineer. Then I moved to Bellingham, Washington. I worked nine months of the year, and then took off three months at a time to follow the band Widespread Panic.
Derek: I worked.
How did you two get back together?
Elizabeth: My mom called to tell me she saw on Facebook that he was engaged to somebody else.
Derek: Her mom loves me! Then Elizabeth reached out and after a few months, I said, “Why don’t you start heading to the Keys?”
How did you come to the Keys, Derek?
Derek: I moved with my former boss and partner Scott Jones. He passed away in 2007 and I took over All Keys Glass. I started working with him when I was 13 years old.
Elizabeth: Also, he didn’t earn a paycheck with the glass company until he moved to the Florida Keys. Instead he earned “a lifestyle.”
Derek: Yeah, I drove a brand new Hummer to high school and went on vacations with Scott’s family. I moved in with Scott and his wife when I was 16 years old and was like an older brother to his three kids. And then to a nephew. I met Scott when he took over the business property across the street from my house that used to belong to Al Capone’s chauffeur. I was just over there all the time, exploring … places like the basement. Eventually Scott put me to work. I think my first job was to pull everything out of the crawl space. (Spoiler alert: no bodies.)
Where do you get those fabulous family portraits?
Elizabeth and Derek (together): Cruise ships!
Elizabeth: We’re already dressed up! And he’s getting into it, too, with the suits and sparkly shoes.
What do you guys do for fun?
Elizabeth: We’re sandbar flies.
Derek: I’d like to do some more personal cruising. When coronavirus cancelled a big-boat cruise, we took our boat up to Naples for a weekend. That was fun.
Elizabeth: Derek’s hobbies are excessive landscaping, lots of exotic plants. Except grass; he hates grass, so now we have Astroturf. He also restores old slot machines and arcade games for our constantly growing game room. Before I had Cash it was sewing (hippie dresses) and dirt bikes. During the week, my hobby consists of shoveling cat poop. I would have more cats if I could somehow mitigate the God-awful amount of poo. (Editor’s note: That’s four indoor cats and two sugar gliders, if you’re counting.)
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Elizabeth: Sitting in the pool.
Derek: Marine art.
Elizabeth: Our house looks like a Wyland gallery with very large paintings, paintings on surfboards and sculptures. We need to stay away from galleries … we’re out of wall space.
What do you love about the Keys?
Derek: The “big water.”
What movie do you know by heart?
Elizabeth: I can sing all the “Aladdin” songs.
Snowboard or skis?
Derek: Trick skis, the really short ones.
Do you do tricks?
Derek: No, but I do ski through the trees. Yes, it’s weird.
Elizabeth: People laugh at him. (Then, loyally) But he’s very good at it.
Derek: My trick is to NOT fall.
How many tattoos?
Derek: None. It’s too time consuming. I couldn’t sit for that long.