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A start for every person

“Mom, want to take a drive to Hattiesburg tonight?”

“Sure, son,” I answered, even though I had my nightgown on and was preparing for a long winter’s nap.

After spending lots of time perusing the Internet for real estate, Ryan chose several homes in each city that held his interest. Just yesterday, we looked at 13 homes in Hattiesburg.

It is pretty amazing how many were marked off the list almost within a moment or two. A couple had an odd floor plan. One or two needed too much work. But one finally, in the words of Goldilocks, seemed just right!

The historic home was painted a lovely light shade of blue and had all the markings of a place dearly loved by its owners. My antennae went up immediately as I searched every inch for problems. I walked the lovely porch looking for telltale signs of rot. To my delight, there was none.

I cautiously became more optimistic as we entered the house and the gleaming original hardwood floors caught my eye. The attention to detail on the elegant staircase took me back to days gone by. Although the beautiful 100-year-old home was much smaller than Tara of Gone With The Wind fame, the absolute artistry and attention to detail almost made me misty-eyed.

Ryan was pretty set on New Orleans as his choice until he finished his walk through of this beautiful home. The updated kitchen, new air conditioning system, and new electrical all pointed to Hattiesburg being a distinct possibility. When he saw the cute little guesthouse and realized the rental potential I could almost see the wheels in his mind turning.

After my son made a decision to go forward with an offer as soon as his funding was a sure thing, I mentioned it to a friend who happened to be in Hattiesburg at the time. When he drove through the neighborhood he saw something that we had not seen. His concern was that the neighborhood might go south due to undesirable properties nearby and possibly crime.

With this information in mind, we took a ride to check out the area after dark. With all sorts of thoughts in our minds of what we may have missed, we drove down the interstate toward the “unsavory” neighborhood. As the street came into view, we saw nothing. No transients, no loud automobiles, not even a stray dog. We did see a grey Siamese cat making her evening rounds.

We drove street after street in every direction possible. Several blocks away we spotted an apartment complex, but it was quiet and clean. The only sign of life other than our Siamese friend was a couple of older gentlemen rocking on a front porch while drinking a cup of coffee. A few homes a few blocks away were smaller and significantly less expensive, but who said that affluence or lack of it has much to say about a person’s character? Everyone starts somewhere.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.