Sunday, June 24, 2018

Part 2, Valley View



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...




the two barns...







the smokehouse...



 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.




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 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.


I will give my love to the house forever.

I will come till I cannot come, I said.

And the house said, I will know.

Louise Townsend Nicholl.




These lines broke my heart when I went down the steps with Otis and Milo...



and through my cottage garden on moving day.


I turned around 360 degrees, trying to remember it all, my house...





my gardens...




the surrounding hills, our big Brown Eyes who would stay there with our son who had bought our house and who was driving one of our vehicles to Florida, and 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.

Before we had travelled 15 minutes, my brother-in-law in the large moving truck signaled to pull over, that the tires seemed wobbly or something like that. For a few minutes hope sprang in my heart. Was this a sign that we shouldn't go?

But on we went, the moving truck, RH's pickup truck pulling a trailer and my car.

It would be exciting, I told myself. A new beginning, a chance for RH to hand over to sons the stress of running a family business, and me from hours of bookkeeping and answering the telephone, a job I would not miss.



Instead I would retire and RH would work for our son-in-law as a project manager. 

RH would have the beach time that he loved and we would explore quaint little Florida towns around us, something I looked forward to.

It would be an adventure, but would it be home?



50 comments:

  1. It's easy to see why your beautiful home was so hard to leave. Aside from all the wonderful memories and family times, the house really was gorgeous. Of course, it could just be all that delicious red... ;) I know the end of this story, but I don't really know what happened while you were in Florida. I will be staying tuned...

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    1. Thank you, Kim! And you know why I was so taken with your house when I first saw it, all those touches of red that we both love. I've known all along that our time in Florida must have been like a black hole as far as my blog friends went so I believe this will answer a lot of questions--and help settle it for me, something I blocked out once we moved back here.

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  2. Oh no....I got so sad reading that. Sorry for your move but I hope that there are new adventures for you down the road. Where abouts in Nashville was your place. I live outside Nashville in Old Hickory. I loved what you had done to the place, esp the garden way with the gravel walkway. Very nice.

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    1. Hi Pam, you know I think I put off this kind of post for the very reason that in some ways it is sad but lots of good came out of it that I've been able to understand and be grateful for. We were in Joelton then but are nearer Ridgetop now. Hello to you in Old Hickory!

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    2. Hi....I am sorry, just now getting back to this post. Yes, I know Joelton and Ridgetop area. Beautiful places back up in there. Used to visit a friend that up off Little Marrowbone Rd. Isn't it funny that we were that close. Never thought about being close to someone I blog with. You and I used to blog together months ago and somehow I lost you in the mist of stuff. Will be trying to stay on top of things now. Take care.

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  3. You know those stories that become favouites, the ones that you can read or listen to them over and over again, each time with the same excitement and appreciation?

    Well, your trilogy about your journey to Home Hill is one of those, and although I am privy to the wonderful path it lead you to, it continues to be the fantastic page turner it was when I first learned of it!

    Your time at Valley View, filled with so many sweet memories of countless meals cooked, gardens grown and children loved, will always be an integral part of your history of homes.

    Here, featured as 'Part 2', I smile at all the warm and pretty hues and patterns of your welcoming decor, and even though I've seen them many times before, they still look so fresh and inspiring to me.

    Awaiting Part 3,

    Poppy
    xo

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    1. Yes, you were privy to it, Poppy, and you helped me get through it, including some phone calls from Canada that were better than an antidepressant! You, Tam and Doreen helped get me through the crazies--and you still do!

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  4. Get the Kleenex!!



    Anxiously waiting for more.....

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    1. I'm laughing at this, Christine, and there have been some tears of joy too!

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  5. this reads as a beloved old novel. as you surely knew it would.
    I pick it from the shelf and am so thankful for the pictures that bring it to life. I shed tears when I read it. the picture of Zack with the dogs at the waterfall when I first loved him. it reads like a puzzle of life and I know where the pieces go but I love for you to tell it and fit them in again!
    so … my heart says. so THIS is what it's like.
    and darling sister mine... it's wonderful! XO

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    1. Thank you so much, Tam, I always count on you as my editor, you know. And I have to say this just in case my other 3 kids happen to read the comments--not likely!--but Auntie Tam took all of you into her heart over the years, and your babies and fur babies!

      Thanks for listening to it all, Tam, over and over and over!

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  6. The Nicholl quote made me burst into tears.

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    1. It does it to me every time, Mary Ann. I can understand why it did you. Probably brought back a lot of memories of your own experiences with the subject. Four walls and the land around it work their way into our heart, don't they?

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  7. I just found your blog. It is a feast for the soul and the eyes.

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    1. Thank you so much, Melissa! So nice to meet you. I'll be trying to find you, if you blog, soon!

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  8. Oh dear, this makes one have a heavy heart at the prospect of leaving a place with so much heart and so many memories. A lovely home and gardens no longer to be yours. A new place with possibilities, but like you said, 'Will it be home?'

    Looking forward to more to this story. You have a wonderful way with words.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Well thank you so much for the sweet compliment, Lorraine, and please remember that I do get to visit Valley View and our son and d-i-l often. It is now called The Farmhouse and is just beautiful from all the loving it gets. So this story does have a very happy ending. Love to you!

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  9. If I was reading your blog for the first time and didn’t know you, I’d have to say...

    this is a woman who loves nature

    this is a woman who puts her heart into her home, and that heart is giving and warm

    this is a woman who doesn’t succumb to trends or fads, but surrounds herself and her family with meaningful objects

    this is a woman who has a green thumb

    this is a woman who brings joy and love to all who have the pleasure to know her

    and this is a woman who holds memories close, but is not afraid to make new ones

    But since I DO know you, I know all that is true, and more.

    I love the whimsical touches you gave to your home Dewena. The lights in your picnic shelter, the red and white checked walkway, the colorful Adirondeck chairs in your beautiful garden. They all speak of a home that was loved and cared for.

    I think if that were my home, I’d have to leave it feet first. ;)

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  10. I'll treasure this comment, my friend. Thank you for it, but you know me well enough by now to know that even though I once had a green thumb, still do with houseplants, that it is RH who does all the hard work in the garden now. But I am the one who shows his pictures and prints out gardening advice from my fav garden design pro, Tara Dillard, and then gives it to RH and looks pitiful until he does it! Does that count?

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    1. LOLOL! that counts beautiful lady! it's a special talent. XOXO
      I love this comment too. it's spot on.

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  11. Oh my, I so enjoyed reading this … it could almost be a story in a book I'm reading … except that it's your true life story!

    Amazing how you've written this and your photographs are just a joy.

    Well done Dewena

    All the best Jan

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    1. Jan, you are so sweet, thank you for the lovely comment. And how nice it is to have you blogging there in England reading the blog of a Tennessee girl!

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  12. I really enjoyed hearing about Valley View and seeing your photos. Home Sweet Home. Your sweet and cozy rooms held laughter, tears and growing children and grands. Your gardens and picnic shelter many good times. You have that way, Dewena, to create comfort, even with your words.

    You made a HUGE decision moving to Florida, but you did it for your love, and with a heart of love. I could cry just imagining how you felt that day you drove away.

    Looking forward to the rest of the 'story'.

    Jane

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    1. Jane, I'm so glad you enjoyed the tour of Valley View. It was and still is a dear place to me. But you're right, it was the only thing to do when RH wanted to try it so badly. It was a late night talk when he asked me to think about it more, that it was very important to him. I'm glad we moved now. A lot of good came out of it and he would have always wondered what if, if we hadn't tried.

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  13. This is so well done, thank you for sharing. What I feel when reading this is a TRUE HOME. You made a home. It was not just a house, but a home.
    I loved the photos.
    Carla

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    1. Thank you so much, Carla! And that is vital in life, making a true home--I know it is to you too.

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  14. Loved reading this tonight. Life can take us on so many twists and turns sometimes good and some times not so good. Hugs those sweet fur babies that you have now to help you heal from your loss.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thank you, Kris, I know you've experienced leaving a beloved home and making another one. And I will hug them, an extra time!

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  15. http://anna-historias.blogspot.com/2018/06/jesus.html?m=1 Me ha gustado tu blog mas amenudo lo visitare.
    Besos

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    1. Thank you, Anna, I'm afraid I've forgotten too much of my high school Spanish to understand your comment completely and was not successful in trying the link of your name, but I appreciate your visit!

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  16. WOW!It was so nice reading your blog. Good collection of pictures.
    Beautiful picnic spot made by yourselves!
    Beautiful garden!

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    1. Thank you, I'm so happy you enjoyed it! My blog friends are being so kind and generous!

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  17. Oh Dewena, you know I'm here! I just now got caught up on this post and your previous one. I'm finding this so fascinating about your Valley View Home and your feelings about it. I think that you will find it cathartic by writing about it, too.

    I can see why you were so in love with this place. Every photo made my heart go pitter pat...especially that beautiful picnic area you created for family gatherings and the bedroom with the red quilt on the bed! The property and home and decor definitely scream "home" just from the photos. And then when you've lived there for so long...I can't imagine leaving. I am so glad that your son and DIL live there now though. Do you get to visit often?

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    1. Hello Melanie, I just got your package in the mail! I'll email you about it tonight, so excited!

      Thank you for you kind words here and yes, RH and I both think it will be cathartic to tell the story that impacted our whole family.

      We do get to visit the old home often, Zack and Courtney even had their wedding there. People ask if it hurts to visit but of course it doesn't. It just brings me such joy to know it's being loved and made young and fresh and the scene of many happy events.

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  18. Dewena, this was your House of Dreams! I lovelovelove Valley View, and I'm glad you gave it such a great name. Very Gladys Taber of you! I can see why you could not look at the pics for so long. It would break my heart, too! I hope you and RH can bring some of that Valley View magic to your current home, even if only in a smaller way.

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    1. Thank you, Kimberly! Well, I always felt as if Gladys Taber was a mentor so maybe the naming part did come about because of her influence. I'll take all the Gladys influence I can get!

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  19. Beautiful Home! It reminds me of the home I grew up in. Lots of love went into your home. I love the kitchen with the metal table and those red chairs.
    The picnic area is wonderful! I know it must be hard leaving.
    I am feeling the way you do now. I want to move to the water somewhere. My husband is from Florida but doesn't want to move there. Just visit when he can. Me I am ready to go.

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    1. Thank you, Betsy! And can you believe that the red and white 50s table was in the smokehouse when we bought the place? I couldn't believe they'd left it. Also in the smokehouse was the gothic church cabinet that we used on the living room wall, and two sweet green kitchen Windsor chairs, and the long sausage making table that my d-i-l now uses in the picnic shelter.

      As far as you moving to Florida, could you possibly do a trial run first? That's my advice!

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  20. I loved this brief but warm tour of your house, gardens, and years; even the leaving, tearing away, was full of love and family and thankfulness and faith. I'm glad you are done with your Florida experiment now so I can more calmly read that next installment!!

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    1. Thank you, Gretchen, and thank you for today's book idea! I can't believe I've never read Middlemarch but I want to now!

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  21. This could absolutely be a chapter in a book! Beautiful, beautiful writing. And so interesting. This reader could feel how you were feeling just perfectly because you expressed yourself so well. Really lovely writing, and a cliff-hanger ending (even if I know the real ending!).

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    1. Thank you so much, Nan, for the encouraging words! They will spur me on to once again edit the next installment, in hopes to please.

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  22. Good Morning Dewena,
    I am so thankful that you have returned. You know your way of writing is pure magic and I feel certain that you have taken everyone with on this journey of discovery. Have you began writing a book yet? You must!
    I am hungry for the next chapter!
    Jemma

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    1. Thank you, Jemma! I appreciate it, and I'm now writing my 5th book, the first 2 needing serious rewrites but I'm kind of pleased with the last two. When I finish the 5th one, maybe I'll get my nerve up to try to do something with them.

      I can't wait to see you on prime time tv! Looking forward so much to your show!

      [Anyone who happens to read this comment and doesn't know about Jemma's exciting opportunity, please click on her name above and find out all about it!]

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  23. I hope you have made your new home as special as Valley View - for I have had to embrace the true fact that home is truly in our hearts and our friends and our families. Many times we truly bloom when we are "transplanted"! ♥♥♥

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    1. Oh yes, Carrie, many times the transplanting works! Our daughter loves FL, loves her regular beach walks and her beautiful garden. In fact, two of my sisters now live in FL and wouldn't move back to TN for anything--except maybe grandchildren!

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  24. Someone above said this could be a chapter in a book - exactly my thoughts as I read through this. I could feel the love of your home intensely. The pictures show the years of love you poured into it. I have only lived in my house for 16 years, and my husband often talks of selling. I just close my ears, and say "I'll think about that tomorrow." You are so right - homes are so much more than shelters - they are our lives.

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    1. I'm so glad you could see that in this post, Amy. I know that many of us, maybe most of us, have to think about downsizing or relocating someday. It's never easy and we're very lucky when we find not just another house but another home that fits us. When that "tomorrow" comes for you someday, I know you will find the right fit!

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  25. Leaving Valley View was breaking your heart I can tell. What a gorgeous property and full of memories. Your soul was there. It is nice to know that it stayed in the family though. You can still visit and watch your flowers grow.

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RH and I love your comments! They are sent to my email for moderation first but I do hit publish as soon as I read them. A few commenters' comments are not sent to my email for some reason but I try to visit that section on my design page twice a day to see if they're hiding there so I can publish them. I went the first 3 years of blogging not knowing that was there and when I discovered it there were many pages of old comments that never got published. I was so embarrassed and contacted recent ones but hid in shame from those who had given up long ago.

In these busy days I appreciate so much when you take time to comment. Thank you so much!

Dewena