Fairhope, My Adopted Hometown
Sometime around 1993 I accompanied my husband to a work conference at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL. My son was about 8 years old and my daughter only one. I had the rare opportunity of traveling with 007 while the kids got a little bonding time with their Granna.
We had a wonderful time of visiting with co-workers and enjoying the grounds of such a historic hotel. But, on one particular day while J was conferencing, I saw our family’s future on the face of a clock.
Mayberry, Only in Color
The spouses of those attending the conference were treated to a day of shopping and were shuttled into Fairhope from Point Clear. As I walked up Fairhope Avenue I remember thinking that this sweet, sleepy town reminded me of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show. 007 would later improve my thought with, “It is truly like Mayberry RFD, only in color.”
At this point, we had moved 6 times in only 13 years of marriage and I really wanted a place that I could call home; a place where my kids could grow up with old fashioned values and a sense of belonging. A hometown where it would almost seem that time stood still. I traveled back to Birmingham that Saturday in complete assurance that someday, we would live here.
Three years later my dream came true. We moved into our house on South Drive, enrolled our children in Baldwin County schools, joined the First Baptist Church and began our life in
Life in Fairhope
We didn’t own a condo on the beach, but it was surely the next best thing. We had the community of a small town with all of the necessities of a big city, all located just 40 minutes from the beaches of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
We watch sunsets from the Fairhope Pier, listen to concerts on the bluff with the lights of Mobile twinkling in the background and enjoy friends and neighbors to share it with. I fell in love with my daughter’s school teachers and our Sunday School class members. We have had some of the best neighbors of our life in this small town.
There’s a southern saying that says, “I may not have been born southern, but I got here as fast as I could.” It’s a thang around here to be native, so, I’m often asked if I’m “from here?” Some ask, if “I was born here?” Still others will lay down their rightful claim of being a native Fairhoper upon our introduction. I understand being proud to be “from” here. I love telling people that I live here. I got here as fast as I could.
When we first moved here, a doctor asked me where I was from and when I replied, “Birmingham,” he said, “Anything nawrth o’Prichard is a Yankee!”
A Yankee from Birmingham?
Yankee or not, we have been lovingly and naturally cultivated into the southern family of Fairhope. It is one more example of true southern hospitality. I love being on a first name basis with shop owners and talking with tourists while I shop. It’s nice thinking that they must go home. I get to stay.
We were called away for a few years, but have now been back “home” for 8 years. So, I’ve decided that the next time someone asked me if Fairhope is my hometown, I’ll answer yes. It is, after all, my adopted hometown.