I enjoy a little local travel and a nice vacation every now and then … but I am very much a “Home Body.” I love my home and as an author I now have the pleasure of working from my home. As a young girl I was blessed to grow up in a loving, happy home. We lived in a small house in rural suburbia on a quiet dead-end street. All the neighbors knew each other, the kids played together and I cherish fond memories of those early years in South Knoxville near Mooreland Heights School in the old Dogwood Trails area. I relate easily to stories like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Wendy in Peter Pan, or Thumbelina yearning to go home again….and I always loved slogans like “There’s No Place Like Home” … “Home is Where the Heart Is” … and “The Sweetest Type of Heaven is Home.” In the 1970s after I married, I embroidered a sampler with those words on it which I still have hanging in my dining room.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote: “Home is the nicest word there is.” If a person has a happy place to call home, coming home can feel like coming to a safe haven, a cherished good place away from the cares and problems of the world. When we first married, J.L. and I lived in an apartment near the University of Tennessee and then in a small house in west Knoxville’s Rocky Hill area. We moved to our current home in the mid 1970s when our son Max was a baby and before our daughter Kate was born. The house, brand new when we moved in, sat on a quiet cul-de-sac, in an area more rural than it is now. We’ve watched town grow up all around us over the years … and although many neighbors have come and gone, we’ve stayed, and we love our quiet neighborhood where every home is different from the others. The reason for that is because Foxfire was a “Parade of Homes” site back in the seventies when builders liked to show off their artistry and individuality in the new homes they built in the Parade neighborhoods. So every home has a unique flair. There are only eight homes on our short dead-end street and many of our neighbors, like us, have lived here a long time, watched their kids grow up, but never chosen to leave. That speaks well for Foxfire with its nice homes with big lawns, no through streets, lots of trees, and good people.
Our home is paid for now—a wonderful feeling—and we still love our neighborhood. We walk its streets and visit with our neighbors. We raised our two children here, watched them ride their bikes on our quiet cul-de-sac, skate, play jump rope and hop scotch, run through the sprinklers, swing and climb on the swing set, create sand neighborhoods and sand cakes in the sand box, and play endless imaginative games outdoors with the neighbor children. My desk sits at the front window, and I don’t see the children out playing in the same way today that ours did. I think they miss a lot. Our kids are gone and grown now but we still have cats. We’ve always had cats … the current ones Tucker and Sophie.
J.L. and I garden a little, especially enjoying planting spring bulbs and flowering shrubs that announce winter is past—always such a welcome time. But, admittedly, we would rather be out hiking, adventuring, exploring, getting out of doors somewhere beautiful versus putting in a big garden or spending all our weekends keeping up lavish flowerbeds. I truly love gardens and flowers—go to see them and write about them in my books—but I spend my “artistry” time in other ways. And when J.L says: “Let’s go adventuring!” … I am always ready to go! So many of the ideas for my books come from the trips and adventures we take to the mountains, lakes, parks, and other beautiful places in the out of doors. A lovely old quote reads: “Chase your dreams but always know the road that will lead you home again.” There truly is ‘No place like home.’