Last week, if you have followed our journey all over the United States and Germany, you will know that my family and I had just reunited in the states; my baby girl and I had spent six weeks with my family in Hawaii while Bill finished his tour in Germany. When I collected him from the Memphis airport in late October, (in a borrowed car), we were in every sense, homeless.
We were blessed of course to have Bill’s parents who gladly offered a bedroom for us and baby Kim in their home until we could find jobs and a place to rent. They were enjoying having their son home and a precious new grandbaby to dote over. We were years from being able to buy a home. No job prospects, no car, and a bank account equal to the price of a pair of Levi’s.
Unlike many young marrieds today who start their families in $300,000 homes with the coolest new appliances, furniture direct from Rooms to Go, and a new SUV in the garage, our first “home” after the five apartments we rented scattered over two continents was a two-bedroom ground floor duplex. Floor furnace heat and a window air-conditioner. True luxury.
We furnished it with a sofa and chair (which was reupholstered three times over the years) purchased from Futorian Mfg. Co. where Bill would later find work, a borrowed iron bed (torture rack!), and an Early American (very stylish) maple table, four chairs, and a little hutch (all purchased “on time”) to display our wedding china. This is the same 58-year-old pattern by Spode that is in our small painted glass-front china cabinet today. We also had a second-hand 16” black and white TV. What great good fortune that we each found jobs, Bill with his accounting background and I with my filing, typing, and shorthand experience. I made $45 a week and Bill pulled down $75. We had a secondhand car and believed we were on our way to a comfortable middle class life with family and friends. No greater support group exists; that still proves true in our lives today.
We moved two more times while in Mississippi, before we had our dreams for building our own home there dashed. Didn’t qualify for the $10,000 loan. Leaving what had been Bill’s only home, we moved to Augusta, Georgia, where the hunt for a place for our growing family to live and thrive began anew. First we stayed with my parents (we had the dining room converted into a bedroom and furnished with a bed, night stand, and chest all from the Holiday Inn. Swank). I was working there as an Executive Secretary to the owner while Bill went back to school to complete his degree; our newest plan towards the goal of finding and settling into a Forever Home!
We thought we had found that home after renting a brick ranch in South Augusta. Bill and I bought our first house about four years after his discharge and on the GI Bill in a small town in North Augusta, South Carolina. A “fixer-upper,” it cost $16,400 (monthly payment was $116). Bill worried that we would be unable to manage a mortgage with a house payment so high! We put lots of love and elbow grease in that little cottage; it was to become one of our favorite homes. We drive by whenever we are in town (my brother still lives nearby).
Then came some unsettling but exciting years of constant change; Georgia Pacific kept us on the move. We rented a large apartment, built of corrugated red steel in Little Mountain, S.C. very swank, and then bought a lovely compact condo in Irmo, S.C. with community pool and tennis courts close to the University of S.C. where I would go on to receive my degree. I doubt we would have found those years the same had we stayed in Mississippi. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like, though. Would my girls have worn those beautiful cheerleader bows in their hair from age three to 10? Would I have played Bridge and Bunco with friends from High School? Perhaps I would have taught Sunday School. I think I would have liked all that, but we also know that there is no value in worrying over the “path not taken.”
Eventually it was back to the Augusta office for Bill where we bought and remodeled about every third house in North Augusta, South Carolina. None our Forever Home. Not even the beautiful new-build, yellow Federal-style home in South Carolina which we purchased while out one Sunday afternoon for ice cream at the Sno Cap Drive-In. Nope, that one wasn’t our “forever home” either. Georgia Pacific had other plans for Bill; plans that brought us to Peachtree City and the house that was almost our Forever Home. We lived in the cream, two story with wrap-around porch and backyard pool for 32 years.
Yep, 32. We told everyone that this was IT. Our Forever Home. And it almost was, till we discovered that arthritis and other mean, old-age ailments kept creeping up on us. When climbing the stairs to the only bedrooms and maintaining a large pool and yard was just too much, we decided to make another move. THIS would be our Real Forever Home!
Our move to Willow Dell subdivision in Senoia was God-directed for sure! We were told by a widow in our new church in Sharpsburg about the pretty little neighborhood tucked to one side of historic Senoia and were soon given the opportunity to purchase the “prettiest home in Willow Dell” by a gentleman who also attends our church and heard of our search. The house in PTC sold in four days and with the help of family and Better Way, we settled into our new, really, surely, Forever Home in September 2014. It has been a happy place, this home.
*If you were counting, I believe that was 19!