Thomas Wolfe’s book title was wrong. You CAN go home again. However, it may be a long, painful journey getting there. Just ask Gloria. She and her first husband spent 30 years in Woodstock. They worked here; they raised their family here; then they left to retire in Mountain Home, Ark.
She was happy there but missed being near her family. Then her husband passed away. After a while, she became bored and decided to get a part-time job.
Ken arrived in Mountain Home a year before Gloria did. He too moved there after retiring—at age 52, no less—from Racine, Wis. All was well at first, but then he also got bored.
Both applied for jobs at the new Super Wal-Mart opening in Mountain View. Both were hired, and they met during orientation. From the beginning, it was an interesting relationship. As Gloria explained, “I had been married forever; he had been single forever.”
And there was another way they differed. When the topic of marriage came up, Ken stated flatly that he had no interest in living in the north again. Gloria, on the other hand, had never lost her desire to return home.
In the ten years Gloria and Ken have been married, they have moved three times. Their first move was to Aiken, SC., where, Ken said, “We built a house to live in forever.” They were there two years.
With Gloria still feeling the pull of home, they put the house on the market. One week before the listing with their realtor expired, they received a full-price offer. At the same time, they learned that Gloria’s daughter in Texas had been diagnosed with cancer.
It wasn’t the right time to make a major move, especially one that would take them farther from Texas. But the offer on their home was too good to pass up. So they sold it and, not wanting to rent, bought another house a few blocks away in the same subdivision.
While they were living there, Gloria’s daughter tragically passed away. “I decided right then,” she said, “that anytime I have left, I want to be with my family.” In light of her loss, Ken agreed it was time to move to the Woodstock area, where Gloria’s two children and five of her six grandchildren live.
So they put the South Carolina home on the market during the big real estate downswing. They waited three long years for it to sell. During the final year, Gloria began making trips home to look at houses.
First, she searched in Lake Geneva, where she found three that she liked. For a while, Ken and Gloria had a contingent contract on one, but none of them worked out because their other home hadn’t sold yet.
Then Gloria looked at Sun City in Huntley. She and Ken even lived there for a two-week rental. After that they said, “We are absolutely going to live here.” But their house still hadn’t sold.
At that point, Gloria’s son spotted an article about Maples at the Sonatas in The Northwest Herald. They came to visit and, again, Gloria liked it. She was particularly taken with the Portico model. She came back and looked several times, deciding she liked the smallness and friendliness of the community. And Ken liked the idea of someone else doing the mowing and maintenance, which, he said, wouldn’t have been the case in Sun City.
Gloria wanted Ken to see The Maples, but he couldn’t get away at that time. So they drove to the nearest Epcon community in Savannah, Ga. He liked what he saw. They finally decided on the Maples, but still they waited for the house to sell.
Finally, after three years, it did. Because the deal moved quickly, they didn’t have a lot of time to choose their new home. They needed one that could be ready to move into almost right away. “Carol (Lyons) earned her retirement with us,” Gloria said. “She is one of the best realtors I’ve ever met.”
Gloria was so sure she wanted a Portico that she had never looked at the Promenade model. But there was not going to be a Portico available in their time frame, and they decided to go with the Promenade that was ready and waiting for them.
So we welcomed Ken and Gloria—after four homes in three states, and three moves in a decade. It took 14 years, but Gloria made it back home. Now, they vow, they are never moving again.