On a September afternoon in 1990, RH and I drove down the long driveway leading to what we would name Valley View.
We were immediately smitten with the 1920 white clapboard farmhouse...
with the two barns...
and the cow/chicken shed...
and the 24 acres of hills that hugged them, and the creek that ran through it, fed by a waterfall at the back of the property.
Everything made sense then, contracts falling through due to failed inspections on two other houses, fruitless weeks of searching to no avail, our mortgage money set to expire in one week.
Valley View was waiting for us.
For over 25 years we loved this secluded place, building on a second bathroom and dressing room...
gutting the first bathroom and rebuilding it, adding on a brand new kitchen...
and laundry room in a five-month renovation.
Making a picnic shelter out of an old cow/chicken shed that became the family celebration spot...
We replaced roofs and numerous other projects over the years, but one of the first things we did was make a dooryard cottage garden with a picket fence.
Our two younger children were only 9 and 11 when we moved to Valley View and these hills were their playground. They roamed it and so did our four grandsons, and later on two granddaughters loved to visit.
There were large cookouts back in the valley around a bonfire, with sometimes as many as 30 present, the brave ones trying out the big rope swing that flew out over the creek by the waterfall.
And of course there were 25 years of Thanksgivings, Christmases and birthdays there.
Our life took place at Valley View.
Once RH and I were in our 70s though, it all became too much for us. The large house too much for me and the land for RH. I prayed for someone young and full of energy to buy it and take care of it, not let it fall to wrack and ruin.
Maybe it was time to leave.
RH wanted to move away from the cold, from shoveling snow and from keeping light bulbs burning under the house and in the well house in winter.
He wanted to move to a beach town in Florida where our daughter and her husband live.
I wanted to stay in Nashville and find a sweet little cottage. I wanted nothing to do with the idea of moving to Florida again after the three years we lived there about three decades before.
This woman needs hills to rest her eyes on and four distinct seasons to accompany her throughout the year.
I flat out said no for a week but then gave in when it became clear that one of us was going to be very very unhappy if I didn't.
It always hurts to be transplanted but sometimes it's necessary.
A quote I wrote down years ago from one of Sarah Ban Breathnach's books led me to the books of Louise Townsend Nicholl. I said these lines to my house at Valley View many times over the years, not knowing that it would happen long before I ever imagined it would.
who would stay there with our son who had bought our house and who was driving one of our vehicles to Florida, and last of all to my firstborn son who was also my neighbor, standing there waving to me as I got in the car and we all pulled out of the driveway.