"I'm moving from the midwest for a new job," the woman said, "and I'm bringing four kids ages 11-15 with me." she continued. "We need a house, school directions, and a tutor. Can you help?"
Why yes, I can.
This story reminds me of my own journey some 20 years ago. While I didn't have four kids to transplant (two was plenty), we only knew one family in town, we were transferring our children from their private school in the city, leaving a group of friends we cherished, and also needed a tutor for one of our boys who had unexpectedly been diagnosed with a "learning difference." It's a story that repeats over and over.
But the beauty of a small-town environment is that it's easy to navigate (her children will walk everywhere from their centrally located rental), it's friendly (come join us tonight at the "Newcomer's Night" gathering in the park), and it's committed to our kids and their education (Piedmont property values are tied directly to the health and well-being of our public schools so even families who have long ago aged out of the school system still CARE!)
"Brian" was our first tutor and he became so important to our family that his mother hosted his high school graduation at our home years later. We watched him graduate college and become a teacher to kids far less fortunate than ours. In some small way, I like to think that his experience with our older son helped carve his career path. A few years later, our younger son, Tristan, would tutor the son of our good friends, and when Tristan left for college, he handed off the gig to another sharp student to take his place. And so it goes . . . one generation helping the next.
As we move into the fall, Piedmont is brimming with small-town activities that make our city truly special: Newcomers Night, Harvest Festival, Ocktober Fest, Turkey Trot, and the tree-lighting ceremony. There are plenty of occasions in the coming months to gather - and we need that; it's been far too long and we've been too isolated. So grab the kids, a warm blanket, and a picnic dinner, and we'll see you tonight in the park. We're looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. Plus, what's not to love about free ice cream?
How can we help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.