Mary Alice Powell.
The power of the press between Toledo and Aiken, S.C., that ignited two new friendships has made me an even bigger believer in the value of the printed word. Lois Wind was the first Blade reader to call me, and a week later Lynn Mullins telephoned.
Both are former northwest Ohioans who live in Aiken and had learned I was here through my Sunday columns in The Blade. Our conversations were like those between longtime friends. I have yet to meet either woman, although each issued an invitation.
Much as I would enjoy spending time in their homes and meeting their friends it’s time for me to say goodbye to Aiken and head home, snow and ice or not.
Perhaps in another year Lois will re-issue her invitation for tea and a ride in her neighbor’s carriage and Lynn will schedule a lunch with friends. In the meantime, their stories of relocating in South Carolina should prove to single women who have dreams of a long-distance move that when the will is strong enough, there is a way to accomplish it solo.
Both are happy and have become involved in the Aiken community. They naturally miss some things from back home, but for the most part they have no regrets.
Lois, a widow, moved to Aiken a year ago from Whitehouse.
Lynn was single when she moved to Aiken 33 years ago from Toledo. She has since married Gil Mullins.
Golf brought Lynn to Aiken. She admits that she never heard of Aiken when a group of golfing friends invited her to join them.
Her first impression of the springtime landscape and the course convinced her to contact a real estate agent after the game. She bought a house, moved from Toledo that fall, and still lives in the same house at Houndslake.
Lynn well remembers the Labor Day weekend when she arrived in Aiken and that she was immediately showered with southern hospitality by her neighbors and new acquaintances.
She was invited to play duplicate bridge, join them in tennis, and play golf. She also joined Aiken’s equestrian circle. The two horses she bought in Toledo were shipped to Aiken and she could ride with friends in Hitchcock Woods.
She gave up golf four years ago but is active as a computer instructor in the Senior Net program and as an aquatic aerobics instructor. She also enjoys playing duplicate bridge and reading.
Back in Toledo once or twice a year, Lynn visits her children, Mark Rubini and his wife Marcia, Brad Rubini and his wife Julie, and Karla Chesser. Daughter Gail Rubini lives in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Lois attributes reading about Aiken in this column as a factor in the decision she and her late husband Barry made to relocate here from Whitehouse. That Aiken is horse country and they had two horses supported their decision.
“We made several stops here before deciding to move,” Lois recalled.
When Mr. Wind died two years ago that plan could have been cancelled. But, rather than stay in Whitehouse as a lonely widow she decided to act on their dream.
Her house sold in three days, and finding a house in Aiken was easy because she and Barry had decided the location would be Fox Chase, a community that is ideal for horse owners because it adjoins the 2,000-acre Hitchcock Woods.
The house she chose was perfect except there was no barn for her horses, Buster and Secret, so she had one built
“I didn’t know a soul and had to force myself to make a new lifestyle,” she said as she explained how she has become involved in a new community.
A retired teacher from St. Joan of Arc School in Toledo, she joined AAUW and is currently involved in the annul book sale. She has also joined a country club and is busy with two volunteer positions with opposite tempos.
She demonstrates weaving on an antique loom at the Aiken Historical Museum and also demonstrates the Argentine tango at the Lifelong Learning seminar at the University of South Carolina.
“It’s been a wonderful experience, she said of her solo move. “I’m proud of myself.”
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org