After looking at several houses along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, my new wife and I decided the sunny cottage on Audubon Drive in Foley was the one—so long as the seller came down a little on the $145,000 asking price.
There were two bedrooms, two bathrooms, an attached garage, a tidy shed that was painted picnic-table red, and a pair of towering longleaf pines. It sat in an oval subdivision of cookie-cutter homes on a lot roughly the size of a basketball court. There was just enough room for the dog to run in the backyard without trampling the vegetable garden. It was convenient to my newspaper office in Foley’s antique downtown and to the elementary school in Gulf Shores where my wife taught kindergarten in a trailer parked outside of the overcrowded elementary school.
The beaches along the Gulf of Mexico were a short drive from the house. Just built and bland as an egg inside and out, it offered a blank canvas with years to go before we could expect major repairs. I replaced the tacky ceiling fans and planted bushes in my head as we looked around. The real estate agent walked us over to see the neighborhood playground.