I remember calling up my husband at work and telling him, “I think I bought a house today.” He responded with, “Excuse me?” We had been looking for a house with more space for entertaining, and I came across this one by chance. I couldn’t pass it up.
When my husband came home from work, he, my son, and I came over to look at the house together. It was everything we had been looking for, which was an expansive kitchen and dining room area where we could entertain and a floor plan that flows. There were tall ceilings, big rooms, and a mother-in-law’s suite above the garage. It was perfect. The only problem was that it was pink. Even the garage was pink. I had to bring in decorators and painters to transform it.
We have grown to love this house over the years. Every room in it has a special spot. All of the rooms have sitting areas – in the living room there are three. So, depending on the size of the group you’re having, there’s always an intimate space.
I turned one of the bedrooms into a library and the one next to it into an office. The kitchen is quite eclectic – the house is eclectic, actually. It’s far from being pink. It’s orange, green, and yellow now.
We have our family over for all occasions. It’s the party house. We just had a viewing party for Beto O’Rourke the other day, when he was announcing, which was fun. I used to throw myself a birthday party every year. I do a lot of stuff for San Antonio Public Library Foundation, so we host a lot of their events here. Maybe the most fun of all the parties we’ve thrown was my son’s 16th birthday party. We had all his friends over, had a barbecue, and surprised him with a car. I thought he was going to pass out.
I used to like to cook a lot, and I still do sometimes, usually on holidays. But when my son got into high school, he was a picky eater. I was working at USAA at the time and would get up at 5 in the morning to go to work. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I would cook, and nobody seemed very impressed. So I kind of went on strike, and we started eating at Paesanos. There was a time we’d go five days out of seven. Now we go on Sundays after church at St. Luke’s Episcopal.
When we moved into the neighborhood, we were the youngsters. There were no children, so my son, bless his heart, was the only young person around. It’s changing now, slowly. We have loved living here, the neighbors are wonderful, kind people. And it’s in the center of everything.
With the homeowner’s association, we’re working to develop relationships among the residents, which never really was done before. I have a theory about modern day development and that is, with the invention of the garage door and central air conditioning, people are not as neighborly as they used to be. It’s not that they’re not nice people, it’s just that everybody just opens the garage door, pulls the car in, closes the door, and goes inside. What we’ve tried to do is get people together to get to know each other.
People like to tease that over here in 09 it’s a bubble. And for a lot of people it is. But it’s something I do not buy into. I didn’t grow up like that, and it really tears me up when I hear and read what people are saying. I would say to those people, come on over. You have to see for yourself.
All that judgment comes from fear of the unknown. I learned that through the work that I did for United Way. We worked on the East Side and the West Side, and I had to learn things that I didn’t know, open my eyes. You can’t just make a decision about people you don’t know. I think the more we get to know each other, the more flexible we are and more open we are about who our neighbors are. And our neighbors are everybody.