Twenty-one years ago this weekend, Barry and I moved from Albany, Georgia to the mountains of North Carolina. It was a beautiful weekend, just as it was today, not too hot and a slight breeze set the leaves on the hardwoods dancing.
We had been moving some things each time we came up, but this weekend we actually moved in. We sat on our deck that first evening overjoyed with our new place, our new beginnings, and our new way of life. Happiness spilled out around our smiles. Our voices sang with anticipation of good things to come.
Barry could continue to work with Hercules Bumpers from home thanks to having set up a network before he left so that he could use his computer just as if he were in his office in Pelham, Georgia. We had sold the family business but Barry and my brother, Hal, continued to work for the new owners. Barry’s new job included some travel and on those nights when he was gone, I sat on the deck alone looking up at the wide open sky with a million stars sprinkled in it. I wondered what this part of life would hold for me.
We had always wanted to live in the mountains near a lake. This little vacation cabin was to be a transition home until we sold our house in Georgia. It was nothing to look at, but it had location, location, location--at least that was what it had for us. A nice high deck in the tree tops with a view over Lake Chatuge that included Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia.
|Evening view from our upstairs deck|
Moving from 3,000 square feet into living quarters of 1,000 feet meant most of our stuff, that which I had not given away or sold, was stored in the garage. I can hardly believe that some of those boxes are still unopened.
The small house had a full basement but it was nothing but one large open space with a toilet and sink. We decided to put our computer desks and computers downstairs. Only part of the basement is underground. The front is open and has sliding glass doors. We knew we could do something with that basement in time.
|The basement before we bought the house|
To reach the living level, we had to climb two flights of steps. That was twenty one years ago, remember. We told ourselves it was good for us to climb those stairs every day. After a few years we had a driveway put in that goes up to the back of the house to the living area.
The first winter in our mountain house we had rain almost every day. One evening when the rain had been falling for two days, I went downstairs to find about a foot of water in our basement. I was alone. Barry was in Virginia. By this time we had put down indoor/outdoor carpet. Several pieces of furniture including a couple of chairs were wet. I could do nothing until morning.
That began a period of time when I was so, so sorry we had bought this house. I told Barry I wanted to move and soon. I would not live in a house with a basement that leaked. I remembered when my brother’s basement leaked and turned moldy. They tried everything to stop the water and nothing worked. I remember how cute Yvonne had made the space with a bar and comfortable sofa and chairs only to have it turn into a nightmare.
We had two more incidents of flooding basement before we found a company that fixed our problem. They guaranteed their work for twenty years, so I am going to be on the lookout now for any leaks.
Since 2010, that once leaky basement has become WritersCircle around the Table, my studio where we hold writing classes, and I spend time working at my computer. It is also where my guests sleep in a private bedroom and have use of a private bath. I can hardly remember how it once looked but recently found pictures taken the day we first looked at this place.
Barry and I and our dogs, Kodi and Rocky, had fifteen
wonderful years together in this house. We experienced five snows our first
year and each time we were like kids tramping around in the woods and the yard.
We felt like we were on vacation all the time even though Barry had a job. We
often loaded Kodi into the old Jeep Wrangler and drove the dirt roads up into
the mountains, exploring and finding exquisite scenes for him to shoot.
|1995, our first Christmas in our mountain house.|
|My house this spring. The first level is the studio.|
I am grateful to my brother Hal and to Barry, who convinced me I could leave the family, my dream house we had saved for and eventually built, and the land I loved. Change is often difficult at first. I thought I’d never stop dreaming about the house I had designed and planned, for years, and had watched the building of it, day by day.
I think Barry missed the farm as well, but he never said he did. He said he was happier here than he had been in Georgia and I was also.
This weekend, I am celebrating our moving to this place where I found peace, where I found myself, finally, and where Barry and I, really alone together for the first time, had the chance to talk and talk and talk, to get to know each other in a way we never had before. We made many happy memories.