Thursday, July 2, 2015

Things I Love Thursday

So, I've been pretty absent from this blog lately.

But there's been a lot going on.

Because, well.....this....

After 26 years in New England, my husband and I are heading back to my beloved South....right there at the edge of the Smoky Mountains, my heart's home.

Specifically, to Asheville, North of the most beautiful and coolest places ever.

So happy.



So hard to say goodbye to things and places and PEOPLE I love dearly.

Starting with my house.

My son grew up here.

We have 26 years worth of amazing memories.

My husband's hippie carpenter friend came out from Arizona to help us build our screened porch:

Where we spent so many magical summer nights:

We built a swimming pool:

My son on the right

Which brought us lots of happy times:

With my dearest pal, Gucci, who shared almost daily walks and talks with me. (And sewed for me and picked me up when I wrecked my cars and was always there for me and on and on and on. BFFs forever.)


In the cement beside the pool

There is still chewed woodwork in our house caused by puppies who grew into gray-faced old dogs.

Murphy, the first puppy we brought to this house. (She lived to be 14) Son on the left.

There are guinea pigs buried in the backyard, where neighborhood children held somber-faced funerals and left wilted clover flowers.

My son brought a chestnut home from the cemetery beside our church when he was very small. It was in a paper cup. We said he could plant it anywhere he wanted to, never dreaming it would become this beauty:

This is the gate between my yard and my neighbor's, who is also the dearest of friends one could ever want. That friend who GETS me. On countless summer nights, she came through that gate to dance to disco music with me under the moonlight or listen to owls in the Adirondack chairs in the yard (snuggled together under a quilt like little girls instead of grown women), or laugh and cry and gossip on the porch. (Because that's what you do with your besties.) Pool Girl, you know I love you.

A gift she gave me. Perfect

So, yeah, lots of memories in that house

 I'll miss my gardens.

I'll miss my summer writing office:

So on this Things I Love Thursday, I'm loving my house.

And loving my dear, dear friends here, including:

Janet Zade (left), so wise and honest and punctual (three of the greatest traits of a friend, I think.) How lucky am I? Thank you, Janet.

My writers' group (There is no greater treasure for a writer than a group like this. We've been up, down, and all around together.)


I'm looking forward to making new friends

and building memories in a new house

in a new place.

Turning the page.

New chapter.

So, by the way, school teachers and librarians of the Carolinas, I'll be ready to come to YOUR school this fall. (I know, buzz kill, right?)

And, now, I'll close with a song that makes me cry


Kimberley Moran said...

What a person you Barbara. I've never met you IRL, but I think about nearly every day. Weird, huh? This post was like a short story. I smiled all the way through it. You have not taken your time there lightly. You have loved and lived and laughed. Isn't that what we hope for when we think back on our time spent? Your son is an artist like you who is successful and independent. You have a lovely marriage to someone you admire. You have friends tucked away in all corners of the earth. You are rich. I can't wait to hear how you settle in to your beloved south where you can say dang and y'all without anyone looking at you as if you're being funny. xo

stacy dekeyser said...

An exciting new chapter! An exciting new chapter! An exciting new chapter...xoxox

Barbara O'Connor said...

Aw, Kimberley - just what I needed to hear. Thank you for this.

Jennifer Ward said...

Loved the photo journal (and you know I love that song, too!) - your home is full of love and cherished memories. How wonderful for the new family! And how exciting this new adventure and journey and home will be for your family. Happy for you!

Wild About Words said...

Oh, Barbara. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. What a rich life. You are heading to a terrific place, but change is hard. It makes us take stock. It pulls at the heartstrings. But be in the moment . . . wherever the moment is . . . and new amazing friends, experiences and places await. Full steam ahead!

Jill said...

My goodness. I don't know where to start with this - love this entire post. Best of luck with your move and with all the ups and down of leaving the known and beginning again in your heart's other home. And that song always moves me to tears, too.

Unknown said...

Here's wishing you all the best as make this life transition. Exciting experiences await!

Holly Mueller said...

This is a beautiful post, Barbara. I, too, put a For Sale sign out in my front yard last night. We've only lived her 10 years and aren't moving far away, but there are still bittersweet feelings. Lots of memories embedded in these walls. I, too, am excited about our future - we're downsizing into a lake view condo right across from my school. We had to demo a lot of it, so are renovated it, which is a fun process. Anyway, I love how you wrote a little photo journal to give us a glimpse into the joy you experienced in that beautiful house with those wonderful friends. It's always the people that fill houses, isn't it, that make life and homes grand?! I love how you transition at the end of your writing to look forward to the new memories and people that await you. That's the key to happiness! Best wishes to you on this move!!

BTW, I use that Miranda Lambert song (which always makes me cry, too) for my HOME and FAMILY unit, along with HOW TO STEAL A DOG. :-)

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thank you all for the well wishes!

And best of luck to you, Holly! Sounds wonderful. Onward and upward.

Sharon Creech said...

Such a perfect tribute to your house and your time in it and all the people and animals in and around it. Have a beeeeuteeeful new chapter/house/life/adventure. I hope, tho (selfishly) that this moving-away won't make it even harder for us to meet. xxxx

Mandy said...

I live in northeast TN & we visit Asheville all the time! I'm glad you're moving closer to my school! Hopefully we can get a school visit set up soon!

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thanks, Sharon!!

And, Mandy, that would be great!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post! All those wonderful memories are hard to leave behind. But if you have to move anywhere, Asheville is the place. It’s beautiful. My parents lived there for fifteen plus years, and I have many happy memories of visiting there. Best wishes as you enter a wonderful new chapter of your life.

Mo Manning said...

What a sweet, sad farewell to such wonderful memories. With life so short, it's great to be able to let go of the rope and swing on to the next adventure. Enjoy your new home, Barbara!

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments.

Betsy Baker said...

You will leave someone, or a couple, or a family... with a house that is seeped in love, drenched with life, laughter, and tears. You will let them continue to nurture the greens around it, the flowers, the neighbors, the woodwork, the birds, and even the bees you tried to kill underground. Someone else will live in this structure... and perhaps raise a family, catch the bus, jump in the pool, and sit on the porch and watch the rain fall hard. What a gift you will be giving to someone.... and what a gift you will be to your new surroundings.... Life is a journey. May yours be full of wonderful adventures, and of course, visitors like us. xoxo :)

Barbara O'Connor said...

Betsy: you made me cry and laugh. So much like leaving SoCal all those years ago. You MUST come to visit. But don't bring jam. I have plenty. Love ya

Augusta Scattergood said...

Sorry. Excuse me while I replace the box of Kleenex I just used up.
Moving is hard but this will be a happy one. Onward and upward, oh yes.

Robin Brickman said...

Best wishes on your move, Barbara. Asheville is indeed a great place to live. We'll have to arrange a Zadette field trip to visit you!!!!

Robin Brickman

Praeluceo Printers said...


This is such big news. Blessings for your next chapter! We are from Charleston, so maybe we can meet in the city sometime. Best to you, the Prince and the pups!


Mrs.Alaniz said...


This is such a lovely post! It looks like you had wonderful friends and memories here! But I have a feeling -- because you are so amazing -- that you will have even more great memories in Asheville.

Bobbie Pyron said...

I know how important home and friends and memories are. We'll make new ones in the Blue Ridge soon, my friend!

Kyra Teis said...

That's terrific, Barbara! Moving is hard, but exciting at the same time. That area of the country is beautiful. Most of my sibs live in Knoxville, TN, and I was born in Greenville, NC. But I don't get there as much as I would like. Good luck!!!

Sherry Nelson Rosso said...

Beautiful song, sweet sentiment. I know that feeling.

Tabatha said...

Very poignant post! Lots of love in those memories. Good luck with the move! I can't even listen to the song...