I fell in love with 315 Hawthorne Drive long before I ever moved in, that love affair continued until the day I moved out.
The first time I ever saw the house I was mesmerized by its simple beauty. A Spanish-style 1920’s era home with huge old trees lining the front yard and tons of charm.
From the street, 315 Hawthorne looked small, but the exterior includes 3 large bedrooms that are concealed from the front.
My first encounter with 315 Hawthorne came when my friend Leigh and her then fiancé were planning their wedding. The reception was to be held in their backyard and they had asked me to help with the planning. Leigh and her fiancé owned the house at 318 Hawthorne and I mentioned in passing, “if the house across the street from you ever comes up for sale, I would like to know.”
As I visited Leigh and her family through the years, I was always drawn to the quaint house across the street, 315 Hawthorne. Something about that old house intrigued me.
One day in March of 2006, I got a call from Leigh. Are you interested in the house across the street, she asked? It is going up for sale and if you want to see it I can get you in. I jumped at the chance to check out the house and the next morning was touring.
The house never went on the market, we were at the top of the real estate bubble and I knew I had to pay full price to get the house. I got approved, made the offer and bought the house.
Little did I know then how my life would change during my years in that house.
The little charmer at 315 Hawthorne was built in 1925, on a block filled with other historic homes. My neighbors and I all shared our war stories of living in an old home. Our shared experiences led to involvement in the Town’s Historic Society.
As relatively young home owners, the members of the Historic Society enjoyed our presence, if not our ideas. We became actively involved and helped with a historic tour of the Historic Homes of Lake Park. This community involvement led me to additional activities that eventually led to four years as a Town Commissioner and Vice-Mayor for Lake Park.
While I gained a lot of knowledge about restoration and government, what I learned most during my time at 315 Hawthorne was about life.
I learned to trust my instincts, I learned to trust my abilities and I learned to trust my innate skill to make things happen. While I asked the opinion of others, what I found was that for the most part my inner-voice was leading me in the right direction. Restoration is not an easy task and if the truth be known, it never ends, but it is rewarding when a plan comes through and you can see the differences in the end.
My love affair with 315 Hawthorne includes the best neighbors I have ever had. Friday afternoons often found the neighbors, our pets and their kids camped out on my front lawn just enjoying the end of a work week. Before you realized it, lawn chairs were filled, drinks were being passed and food magically appeared to be shared by anyone who joined in on the fun.
Bonds of friendship were made at 315 Hawthorne that will always go with me.
My neighbor Wendy taught me more about a yard and plants and animals and antiques than any book ever could.
My neighbor Craig fights disability every day, he teaches me how to endure and move forward during hard times.
Leigh, Carlyle, Farrell, Colter and Callahan taught me about family. They taught me that family isn’t always through birth but sometimes through choice and by making me a part of their family I will always be honored and grateful.
Gail, The Carruthers, The Marozzi’s, Alyson, Joy and Sam, Grandma An, Cindy, The Coons, The Yates all of these and more showed me what being a neighbor is all about.
Over the years we cried, we gossiped, we argued, we hugged, we played and we LAUGHED together. Over the years we grew, we changed and we struggled together, over the years we celebrated births, mourned deaths, supported divorces, endured teenagers, and grew into middle age together.
The experiences of 315 Hawthorne make me a better man. The gifts I received from being associated with the people I experienced there will forever be engrained on my heart.
My years at 315 Hawthorne came to an end this past weekend, as I have packed over the past several weeks I have been heartened by the memories I take with me. The laughter of children and adults, the raucous times, the heart warming moments all are tucked away, safely in my heart.
When I made my final speech during my final Commission meeting as Vice-Mayor of Lake Park, I made the following comment…
Additionally, my friends and family all know I eventually want to return to my beloved God’s Country in the northeast Georgia mountains. I have an opportunity to begin making that dream a reality and I will be working towards that goal in the coming months and years.
so now, you know the rest of the story. I have been planning for the move back to a condo for many months now, the reason I leave Lake Park is to help secure my future, a future that I can only hope is as magical as the years I spent enjoying my love affair with 315 Hawthorne Drive.