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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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A Nice Place to Be

A Nice Place to Be

I’ve always said you have to be tough to live in Cleveland, Ohio. People used to call Cleveland the “mistake on the lake.” Of course, not many places in the world have had a river that caught on fire, not to mention the mayor’s hair. But we did, yep, that’s Cleveland. 

Cleveland winters are mean. Oh, I know, lots of places have bad winters, but when you combine sleet, snow, below zero temperatures, and a whipping wind off of the lake, you have one nasty season. 

The older my husband and I got, the worse the winters seemed to be. Whenever he got the snowblower out, I was sure he was going to drop dead from a heart attack brought on by trying to move wet, heavy snow. We decided that when our working days were over, we would move south to enjoy the milder weather. 

As our working years were winding down, we decided to start looking for the perfect place to spend our retirement years. We have always been drawn to water, so the Wilmington area seemed like a nice place to be. 

On an extended visit to our family in Charlotte in 2008, we drove around Wilmington and its suburbs to visit housing developments. It was Sunday, so our thought was that we could look around without a salesperson pestering us to sign a contract. 

We looked at a few places but didn’t really see anything that looked promising, so we decided to head back to Charlotte at around 4:30 p.m. As we drove down I-74, I decided I had to find a “facility” because I knew my bladder could not take the 3-hour drive back to Charlotte. The problem was that when we first came to this area, it was not as built up as it is now. Leland had a dry cleaner, a laundromat, and a church, so we couldn’t just turn around and go back to town to find a restroom. 

To put it politely, I was getting antsy. Our son, who was driving, saw a Compass Pointe Development sign and suggested we go there to see if their sales office was open and had a bathroom. At that point, it was 4:45 p.m., so my dilemma could be just starting. 

It was a great idea. I told my husband, “Just look interested while I use the bathroom. After I get out, we can just ask a few questions and leave.” Luckily, the sales center was open. There were a few people ready to assist us in becoming future Compass Pointe residents. 

I excused myself and went to the bathroom, promising to come back and listen to the great things the salespeople had to tell us. 

When I came back to the lobby, I saw my husband and a salesperson looking at what I thought was a pool table. As I approached it, I saw that it was a miniature version of the development with current and future amenities. The salesperson was showing my husband lots for sale and the proximity of those lots to the future pool and Grand Lanai. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful place.

Seeing that I was ready to leave, my husband gave me one of those looks that married people develop over the years. Although he didn’t say a word, I know he was telling me, “just a few more minutes, and we can go.” I was OK with that—after all, I had used their bathroom. 

We listened to the salesperson talk about the development, and I liked what I heard. I did another one of those “married people” things. My way of telling my husband when I want something without tipping off a salesperson is to dig my fingernails into one of his arms. He usually got the point when I did that.

So, after I dug in my fingernails, we went to look at some open lots and found one we just loved. We have been in this area for 10 years and really enjoy being here. My husband likes to say that if I didn’t have to pee, we might have driven right by and never found our dream house. I guess he’s right.

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About the Contributor
Jan Morgan-Swegle is the Editor of Cape Fear Voices.  She has been writing for CFV for almost 3 years.  She is originally from the Cleveland area and moved down to Leland 12 years ago.  She and her husband, Tony, and their dog, Dixie, enjoy sitting on the lanai listening to music and sharing wine (Dixie likes white wine but only gets two finger tips full!!)  They have 3 children and 9 grandchildren living in Cleveland, Ohio,  Charlotte, North Carolina and Lakeland, Florida.

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