Remember the TV sitcom Green Acres? I’ve had a recent similar experience. We’ve even re-written the lyrics to suit our situation. But for the lyrics to make sense, I need to bring you up to date.
November 1st of 2012, we arrived at Sherwood Forest in Kissimmee, FL for our winter stay. If you’ve followed us on Facebook you’ve seen pics where we’ve volunteered during our time there. Needless to say the staff and other guests have become ‘family’. We knew going into Kissimmee that our stay was going to be limited as we had other places on our agenda to see. Our original check out date was suppose to be April 1st of 2013. That got extended to May 1st of 2013 which got extended to May 13th, 2013. On that Monday, we put the camper in storage and headed to Sylvania, GA population 2,956…saaaa-lute (from Hee Haw).
How did we end up in Sylvania?
This is where Charlie grew up. She was raised by her grandparents, Dr. Gerald and Linda Hogsette. Ms. Linda passed away in 1983 and Dr. Hogsette died in 2001. After he passed the family home was left to Charlie’s mom. Charlie’s mom has her own place with her husband up in Mechanicsville, MD and Charlie and I have had our own places in various cities. So there’s been no need for someone to come to this home in Sylvania except to clean, check up on things, etc. Dr. Hogsette’s will strictly states the home cannot be sold or rented. No biggie as it’s a very nice home. Built in 1958, it sits on about 4.5 acres in the city limits at the end of Cork Pond Rd. It’s a 3 bedroom home and each bedroom has its own full bath…..yes, each bedroom has its own full bath. There are 2 half baths in the home as well for guests. To have a home built in 1958 that had this many bathrooms was really forward thinking. The house is roughly 3,500 sq. ft. Our camper is 285 sq. ft. So when we got here, it really took my mind a couple of days to adjust to all of the space. Our plan was to stay here until August, then head north to see some friends.
I grew up in a small town called South Fulton, TN and its twin city, Fulton, KY. Population between the two while I was growing up was around 5,000. So I’m familiar with small town living. I left home in 1988 when I was 17 and went in the Air Force. Since then I’ve lived in populous places. McGuire AFB, NJ, Hickam AFB, HI, Memphis, Mobile, Gulf Breeze, FL, Pensacola, Pigeon Forge, and Kissimmee. For lack of a better term, because the places are populous, I call them ‘noisy’. You’re always surrounded by noise. People talking, traffic, dogs, sirens, etc….noise.
When we got to Sylvania, no noise. It’s dead quiet. At night it’s extremely dark so you can see a million stars. Very peaceful. I fell in love immediately. I didn’t realize how I had missed peace and quiet. Birds singing during the day, deer and other nocturnal creatures roaming the yard at night.
Gracie, our black lab, LOVES it here. We play ball daily. She can run without encroaching on others. She doesn’t have to be on a leash. No traffic to worry about. Dog freedom.
There are several great little restaurants in town. Wall’s Diner, Chilito’s, Pop’s Kitchen, and Subway. The closest Wal-mart is in Statesboro about 23 miles away. The closest liquor store is in Newington about 14 miles away. When going to Statesboro or Newington (opposite directions), there’s nothing really to see but pine trees. Kind of serene at first since it’s greenery and very easy on the eyes.
Two weeks into our twelve week adventure and I’m bored out of my mind! I hit a wall. I started feeling isolated. Everywhere we had to go outside of Sylvania was a drive with very little in between. There’s NO WAY I’m making it twelve weeks here. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome for about a week to get away from it all….maybe two weeks….but that’s my limit. At least for now. As I get older, my mindset could change. But at this moment, I miss our 285 sq. ft. camper, I miss our friends, and I miss noise. I don’t like feeling isolated. I’m not a social butterfly. I’m not the guy that talks to everyone in the bar. But sitting down at a bar, seeing people talk, laugh, and enjoy each others company is something I sincerely miss.
I contacted our friends at Sherwood as they’re running a three month summer special. I asked if the summer special applied to July, August, and September. Yes! Great, we’ll be back on July 1st. We’ve got a few things to button up here with the house, but then we’re free again. We did manage to make it to Pigeon Forge to get the remainder of our stuff out the basement. Our tenants said they’ve just about decided that they want to stay in our house as long as we’ll let them. We couldn’t be happier. Everything we own that we don’t want to take with us is in about 10 Rubbermaid containers and will remain here in Sylvania (pictures, books, family heirlooms, childhood memorabilia…you know…stuff that only has sentimental value that you don’t really want to throw away). BTW, there is a monitored alarm system on the house so no squatters. LOL!
Now for the Green Acres re-write. The roles are completely reversed here. Charlie is Edward and I’m Lisa.
Sylvania is the place for me
Farm livin is the life for me
Land spreadin out so far and wide
Keep Kissimmee, just give me that country side.
Sherwood is where I’d rather stay
Playing golf with John and Ray
I just adore our clubhouse view
Dah-ling I love you but give me 192 (the main roadway in front of Sherwood Forest)
Charlie…You are my spouse
Brian…Goodbye Mickey Mouse
Charlie…Sylvania we are there
Charlie says she’s not bored, but I sense otherwise. I know she could make it here longer than I could. It’s sad to see what once was a thriving little town where she grew up is now a not so thriving little town that sort of dwindles away a bit more each day. Proof for those of us from small towns that we can always go home but we can never go back.