13 September 2015

Go West, Middle-Aged Man, Go West

It all started with Sam. He was a New York State Trooper and a neighbor. He lived a few doors down from Painters in Henrietta, New York. Because of a heart problem, he retired early and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife and two daughters. A year or so later, Dick and Maryann flew down for a visit. After touring the area and liking what they saw, decided to find a place to call their new home.

The following year, Painters found a community – Mission Monterrey on Scottsdale Ranch – and negotiated the purchase of a patio home. Because he was still gainfully employed, Dick rented out the house, under Sam's watchful eye. After retirement in 1987, Dick sold the Henrietta property and hauled his spouse and Basset Hounds to his new digs, where they all settled down to their new life. Dick found employment (as a volunteer) on the Mission Monterrey Board as well as on the Scottsdale Ranch Board, where he ruled with an almost-iron hand.

The following year, Shirley and I decided to haul our travel trailer across this vast country, stopping in Scottsdale for a nice visit. We were given the 50¢ tour, were impressed enough to decide to move here before continuing on to California. After returning home to talk with a realtor, we came back to a KOA in Avondale for the winter to house-hunt and find a builder. Our location of choice was Tierra Santa on McCormick Ranch. After we completed the purchase negotiations, we headed back to Ontario, New York, to house-hunters and garage sales. We wound up living in our trailer in Shirley's mother's yard after the house was sold – we had been next door neighbors. We rented a U-Haul to bring to Scottsdale what few possessions we kept, and stored them in a rented locker that Dick had found for us.
Eventually, we camped at Valle Del Oro in Mesa and made frequent trips to our lot to check on construction progress, taking ownership in February 1990. Sam, who started this migration from Henrietta, wound up having a heart transplant in February 1991, and, I'm happy to report, is doing quite well. So thanks, Sam, for leading the way to paradise.