The neighborhood that influenced 12 year old me

When I was a kid, I had a paper route. It was everyday after school and Sunday mornings. Other than about 3 houses in my blue collar neighborhood, my route was in a neighboring upscale neighborhood called Inverness.

It was during this time that I started noticing differences between neighborhoods, lots, houses, and everything that makes me The LEXpert today.

I got bullied a lot as a kid. I didn’t really like many of the kids in my own neighborhood. This was back in the days before the internet and cell phones so kids went outside. Even people with cable TV only had like 12 channels, 10 really since one was the weather and another just scrolled what was on the other channels. I remember always dreading delivering papers to the 3-4 houses in my neighborhood. Once I got those done and Inverness was in sight, I always felt relieved and would take a deep breath.

Inverness was a very peaceful and calm neighborhood. It had maybe 50 houses in it? All the lots were very large. There were no street lights or side walks. Most of the houses were built in the late 60s and 1970s. It is very much like Greenbrier in Lexington but it did not have a golf course. I loved this neighborhood and always wanted to live here. I eventually ended up living in a 1980s house in Greenbrier, which I now see was the fruition of this desire.

The people that lived in Inverness were mostly middle aged since you often have to work many years to be able to afford such nice houses. They were all very polite to me. I got to know several of them. Many knew I was into houses and neighborhoods and would let me see inside their homes. It wasn’t until last week that I realized the impact this neighborhood had on my whole life. I was early for a showing that wasn’t too far from this area so I thought I would drive around for old times sake.

I started to remember the people, their homes and my thoughts as I would pedal my bicycle through my route, with my bag full of newspapers getting lighter with each one I delivered.

There was one woman who wanted me to leave the paper in a small tin garbage pail by her back door. Once or twice a week, I would open the pail and there would be a bag with a few cookies in it. Another resident had a new 280ZX that I drooled over. I saw my first Audi 5000 with the then new flush windows. There was one contemporary house owned by some big-wig in his political party that I absolutely loved. I became fairly close to one older couple who wanted to move to Florida. I told them all about the community where my Grandparents lived and arranged for my Grandparents to meet them and give them a tour of the area……probably the first realtor like thing I’d ever do.

I would privately critique each house in the neighborhood. My clients will probably laugh when they hear that I would say much of the same things they have heard me say like:

“That’s going to be a difficult driveway to get out of in the winter.”

The columns on the front porch are too far apart and don’t really match the style of the house.”

“This house looks like it was designed on a napkin by somebody who just won the lottery while meeting with their builder at Waffle House.”

“This house is right by the only entrance and exit to this neighborhood and that means EVERYBODY driving in and out of here has to pass your house each time.”

I don’t recall when or why I quit doing this paper route, probably when we moved to Lexington. It sure was a special and influential part of my life.

What’s it really like living in the country?

I’ve been in the sticks for almost a year now. I get asked this a lot. For the most part, it has been everything I hoped. I enjoy it. I did have some concerns before we moved, and of course there are a few things I had not thought about.

My biggest concern was getting stuck out here in the winter. I don’t know why, but for some reason ice on my street in the country bothered me more than ice on the street at my old house in a neighborhood. It was about two miles inside the neighborhood at my old house before I got to well maintained road. Well, I live about the same distance from a major state highway. Guess what? Two miles of ice is still two miles regardless of where you live. The good thing for me is that my road gets plowed and salted faster than my old neighborhood road did. My next door neighbor out here is the police chief, so I guess they want him to be able to get out easily if there is an emergency.

I was worried about crime. That is probably because having grown up in neighborhoods, the thought of nobody being close by was scary. That’s been a non-issue. Only your neighbors drive past your house unless you live on a main road and there seems to be a real strong sense of respecting the property of others out here. And for those that aren’t so respectful, they assume everybody has a gun so they don’t really want to risk getting shot at for your stuff.

There are really only two things that I didn’t think about. Neither are big deals thankfully.

The first is that most people in the country keep to themselves. My neighbors will wave to me. Several stopped and introduced themselves to me when I was new. But most of the time it is just like a neighborhood where you mostly just smile and wave. I guess small talk is harder to do at the mailbox when your houses are so far apart.

The other thing, and this one is what bothers me the most, is that there are no storm sewers. In a neighborhood, the rain water runs neatly down the curb into the storm sewer and disappears. Out in the country, the water runs down a hill, crosses the road leaving mud and gravel for daaaaaaaaays after it quits raining. This probably wouldn’t bother me if I wasn’t trying to keep my cars clean. As soon as it all dries up, here comes another rain to do it all again.

And that’s it. Other than these few things, it really isn’t that much different than I expected. Sure, I have to drive longer to get anywhere and I have a lot more grass to mow. That is totally worth it to me to get the peace, quiet, calmness and beauty that county life offers.

I love showing rural properties. Nothing like a fun drive in the country and then getting to see a house and some land. Here are the counties I work in for both rural and neighborhood properties: Fayette, Scott, Jessamine, Clark, Madison, Woodford, Bourbon, Montgomery, Franklin and Garrard Counties.