The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
The past year has been such a whirlwind for us that I can hardly believe it even happened. But to begin, we have to go back 11 years to when Levi, my now husband, and I first met. Our home and the King William neighborhood itself played an important role in our story before we ever lived here.
He was living in New York and I was in San Antonio when Levi flew down to meet me on a Fiesta weekend in late April 2010. I brought him to a porch party at the home of my good friends from the local theater community, Rick and Diane Malone. The house was located on the King William parade route, and I was excited for Levi, who had never been to San Antonio before, to see the neighborhood that showcases my favorite parts of our city: arts, culture, history, food, and community.
We spent a thrilling day touring through the King William Fair while I introduced him to friends both new and old. That was our very first date, and (little did we know) it took place on the porch of the very same house that we would buy to be our forever home 10 years later.
In the intervening years, we followed our educational and career goals. We lived in cities across the country but always felt the pull to come back to my large family, friends, and breakfast tacos in my hometown. Early last spring, while we were living in Houston and putting the finishing touches on our May wedding in San Antonio, the world made other plans.
After 15 months of planning and anticipating our big day, we were devastated when the coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel. Instead of having the dream wedding we intended, we were married quickly in a tiny downtown ceremony during the confusing early days of the pandemic. We had only a priest and our moms in attendance, all of whom were wearing masks and socially distancing. We went back to Houston, bewildered, wondering what crazy thing would happen next.
Shortly thereafter, on my birthday in June, I received a Facebook message from my King William friends, the Malones, wishing me well and letting me know that after 25 years they were planning to sell their home on Madison Street. It turns out that Levi and I had been quietly making plans to relocate to San Antonio, and after the wedding disappointment, the idea that this home could be ours really bolstered my spirits. I jumped at the chance (however farfetched it seemed at the time) to live in this graceful old house.
Built in 1904, it features double-decker front porches, art nouveau chandeliers, and a sweeping staircase. As lovers of architecture and antiques, the home seemed tailor-made for us – and property in this area isn’t available every day. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take over the residence from our good friends and to become the next stewards of this historic property.
Soon, we were living on site and beginning to paint, plaster, refinish, and landscape. Over the last eight months, we have done most of the work ourselves, with the help of my brother, Tony, and we are learning a ton. I am constantly impressed with how handy my husband seems to be, and I am really good at painting and holding a ladder. We work late into the evening most nights, and through the weekends, which leaves very little time for anything else. It often gets dirty, stressful, and expensive, but I think we agree that we are fortunate to have such a treasure.
When I think of this home and its neighborhood, I am struck by the sense of community it inspires. The house itself has been enjoyed by almost everyone in the San Antonio theater world during the Malones’ tenure, and we are eager to continue the tradition. I am a professional actor and director and I started my career in San Antonio, working with Diane at The Playhouse and the Classic Theatre of San Antonio.
Also, as a gay couple, my husband and I immediately felt comfortable in the neighborhood because it is artsy, forward-thinking, and very accepting. We have met so many wonderful new neighbors and friends. Our dogs, too, enjoy walks along the beautiful streets of King William and chasing ducks on the shady banks of the river. Moreover, with Southtown on our doorstep, we always seem to have friends in the area who are hanging out at Blue Star, The Friendly Spot, Tito’s, Hot Joy, or Little Em’s, which are only blocks away.
Long story short, in 2020, a year filled with so much uncertainty and sadness, we took a chance on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Today, we have rescheduled our big wedding celebration for the spring of 2022, and are even considering having the rehearsal dinner in our own backyard. In a strange twist of fate, my husband and I have wound up right back where we started: on the porch on Madison Street. This house feels like such a fairytale fit for us. And, although we are currently spending our days (and nights) counting pennies and covered in dust, I am so proud and lucky to say that King William is where I live.