Friday, March 04, 2011

Our Old Home

161 Crawford Road, Downingtown, PA

We miss our old home at 161 Crawford Road in Downingtown, Pennsylvania so much.  Even to this day, over four years since we moved to Delaware November 17, 2006.

The road leading to our house

We bought 6.8 wooded acres in the summer of 1976. Four year later we had our house built.  We lived there happily for over twenty five years with our three Pomeranian dogs. We planned to live there until we died.  But the Downingtown Area School teachers had a different plan for us.  Their teacher's union kept demanding every higher pay and benefits that forced our property taxes to go up ever higher. 

The brick walkway Bill built

Eventually, our property taxes got so high that I was forced to make the decision to sell our house and move to Delaware where the property taxes aren't so punishing to senior citizens like us.  There was no way I could continue to live in Pennsylvania on Social Security and my fixed bank pensions.  The teachers' unions saw to that.

Bill's brick walkway from the road leading to the house

I love our house in Delaware.  I have a much better social life.  There is no gay social group where we lived in Pennsylvania.  We were surrounded by straight families whose main interest is raising children to attend the Downingtown Area schools.  I had a few friends from high school but they were preoccupied with their own families.  As I grew older and had to face the possibility that my thirteen year older life partner would probably die before me, I decided to move to an area of the country where there was a population of older gay men and women like myself.  The Rehoboth Beach/Lewes/Milton area was perfect.  Just tonight I returned from our weekly Friday Night Dine Out Group.  There were approximately twenty-five of us older gay men who gathered at the Green Turtle Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach for a night of fellowship and camaraderie.  A gathering which would have been impossible if we continued to live in Pennsylvania in Straight Land who only wanted our tax dollars to support their children going to school.  No breaks for senior citizens in the Keystone State for paying property taxes.

The brick steps Bill built leading to the terrace and the front door of our house

Bill has never gotten used to living in Delaware.  He doesn't go out to the Friday Night Dine Out Group.  He doesn't need a gay social club.  He only needs me.  He is quite content to stay at home and work on his electronic projects.  However, he does like to visit our former home in Pennsylvania.

The parking lot below our house that Bill also built

The new owners of our former home in Pennsylvania defaulted on their mortgage last year.  The place i snow abandoned.  We visit occasionally and we are saddened to see how the place has deteriorated.  We used to keep it like a mini Longwood Gardens.  Apparently that is too much for some other people to do.
Now the place is like a 'Grey Gardens.'  

View of the road leading to our house from Bill's brick walkway
We loved the tree canopy

We haven't visited since before Christmas.  Bill is looking forward to visiting our former home again.  We usually visit on Sunday because the traffic is light.  We were going to go last Sunday but it was too cold.  This Sunday rain was forecast.  Hopefully we'll be able to take a ride up next Sunday.  I'm looking forward to the visit also.  Even though we're saddened by the overgrown state of our former home, we still get a warm feeling when we walk those grounds which we used to share with our three Pomeranian dogs.  We will always remember those years as some of the best of our life.  

Our 'backyard' - a parklike setting in the woods

Below is a series of pictures I took during the showing of our house and grounds when it was up for sale.  It doesn't look like this now.  Even so, this is the way I will always remember our beautiful home in Pennsylvania.

Another view of our 'backyard'
with the afternoon sun streaming through
One of my three ponds stocked with goldfish

On November 17th, 2006 we moved into our new home in a Ryan Homes development near Milton, Delaware on a one acre lot with one tree.

The tree is a stick in this picture that was taken shortly after we moved in.  It is bigger now.  Bill misses his trees. One consolation, we don't have to rake leaves now.  


Ron said...

Hey guys, I just read my blog roll. I guess I should be posting about sex and sexual longings and all that stuff but when you're my age, that all recedes in the background. It's always there but just not in the foreground of something I think, eat, sleep and dream about. I have my 'moments' but I am not in the swim so to speak. I don't know any of the songs on the hit parade either.

Don Voth said...

In longing for a former location, you're not alone. But I, too, have grown accustomed to and like my current situation in Milton and Delaware. It's a sweet community. And the confortableness for gay people is a BIG plus. Hey, and I for one, am glad you are here!

Larry, aka The Kid and The Old Goat said...


Yes, it was a lovely house and Bill did beautiful work. He built the sunroom, too, didn't he?

I fed your hamster so he doesn't go hungry.


Larry, aka The Kid and The Old Goat said...


This is strange. When I clicked into the comments, your music player and other objects that don't show up all showed up. How odd? Now I wonder why thumbnails don't show in the Blog Lists anymore?

Now, go read my last few posts already.


Mark said...

Ron, it really hits me hard when you talk about that house of yours. I can see the detail that you and Bill put into it. I can also see the love and passion in those details. I remember that the house was going up for auction last year. What came of that? We have also moved from homes because of school taxes and that was painful. We live 2 miles from our old house and every time I drive by(because I have to) it pains me to see the neglect in the home. In fact, the new owners removed tree around the house because they hated racking the leaves. So sad.
Your Friend, m.

Ron said...

Why thank you very much Don! I too am glad of the friends I have made since we moved to Delaware.

Ron said...

Yes Larry, Bill built the sunroom too. We miss the place terribly. We (me especially) love Delaware but if I had the money we would have TWO homes!

Ron said...

Something is going on with Blogger. I don't know what, I'm just going along for the ride.

Ron said...

You understand. Both of our situations are so alike. Bill and I worked so hard for twenty five years to get our house where it was when we were ready to enjoy the fruits of our labors in our senior years. It is so unfair that the outrageous property taxes forced us out of our home but there is some justice now that the township isn't collecting any taxes on that property because it is abandoned. It's still a sad situation though.

Ron said...


Thanks for feeding Lil Wayne while I was away last night.

Hanuman Das said...

It must be so hard to go back and see you old home falling further and further into disrepair. I don't think that I could bear it. ((HUGS))

Cubby said...

Your PA home looked fabulous. Sorry about the high taxes, but I'm very familiar with what you are talking about. Our home in the western suburbs of Chicago had property taxes of $5000 per year when we left in 2000. Last year the taxes there were $8000. That's a 60% increase in 10 years. Who can afford that?!

Ron said...

Visiting our old home now in its state of neglect is like visiting a loved pet that one has had to give up to the animal shelter. We have this urge to rescue it but there is nothing we can do. I tried for about a year to win the Powerball Lottery so we could buy it back but no luck.

Ron said...

That was the problem Cubby. The steady increase in taxes. Our taxes were going up at the rate of 15-25% a year! When I left our taxes had reached $8,000. I only receive $13,000 from Social Security. I scoped it out for the next five years and figured out by the time I was 75 years old my taxes would be more than I collected in Social Security. Time to get out.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off-topic: In my former workplace, the words "sick child" written next to a name on the "sign-in/sign-out" board were considered no-questions-asked absolution for not being present. All other reasons were always viewed with some suspicion. Before a staff meeting one day, the chatter was the trials & tribulations of parenting, and I actually piped up and said, "Oh, I forgot, someone held a gun to your head and said 'have children' ". I'm sorry, but that mammoth piece of the piechart on your property tax bill does sting, especially when you're viewed as the freak for not procreating.

Ron said...

I agree with you! I don't mind paying my share of personal property taxes but when I'm paying full rate and I don't even have kids in the school system and four of my neighbor's kids are on my border on Saturday morning yelling "FAGGOTS! FAGGOTS!" I called the police and they took off. Pennsylvania has a Hate Crimes law which they were breaking. A week later I got a written apology in the mail from all four kids. They never did it again but our neighbors were always icy to us from then on. I don't need to live like that because I wasn't getting a discount on my taxes for being a FAGGOT so that was just one more reason to move to the more gay friendly environment of Rehoboth Beach Delaware.

Ur-spo said...

I miss my old house too, in Chicago.
I felt more at 'home' in Michigan. So I can relate here.

Ron said...

We grow roots don't we Spo if we stay at a home any length of time. For the longest time Bill missed our home in Philadelphia. I do too sometimes.