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602 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
The “Saviors of Maplehurst” [Citybeat by Jack Neely, June 3, 2010] sound like what my old neighborhood needs right now, but I can’t shake a nostalgic feeling stirred by the sight of my old house–that “handsome two-story” with its screened back porches, photographed amid the now-denuded hillside for the article. When I lived there, there was a tropical feel to that lush backyard, whose trees and shrubs conducted evening breezes and shut out sound from the traffic downhill.
Those were the days of wine and roses and more wine, of impromptu limbo parties in the dining room, where on New Year’s Eve for 2000 a few dozen of the Millennium vigilant gathered for what was billed as the Feast of the Apocalypse. So I’m kind of tickled that the Lord has seen fit to do the place over. Those parties did little to further the salvation or renovation of that grand manse.
But the true spirit of Old Maplehurst may still echo from that lower porch, where on a sweltering Fourth of July in 1999 friends and neighbors gathered for a reading game. We sat on chairs dragged in from various rooms of the non-air-conditioned house and took turns reading the opening lines of famous novels, with the object being for the listeners to guess at each book’s title and author. I’m still smug about correctly guessing D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, when everybody else was stumped.
A repeat of that scenario seems pretty unlikely in the future, but times change and life goes on. I’m glad the old place has found new people to love it.
Julie Auer Gautreau