Fresh eggs from Black Mountain Home for Children on sale.
Fresh eggs from BMHC $6

We had dinner last night at a new restaurant in Hendersonville with our dear friends/family members, Jamie and Bryan. Bryan always likes to be the first to try a new restaurant, shop, or resort, and this place just opened up, so we drove an hour to eat dinner. We have been tight with these two ever since my kids were little and they lived down the street in Dilworth and I misheard Jamie say “There’s something in the oven” as “We are in a coven.” Clearly, we became friends for life. Back then the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte was funky and weird, and so were we. Tall, lanky Jamie in hot pants and 5-year-old Abby roller skated up and down Kingston Avenue, Charlotte Brody, head of Planned Parenthood lived across the street, and a deranged guy we called “The Chief” wandered around with a loaded shotgun. Ralph McMillan and his wife Sally had a gorgeous house on the corner and always posted political signs for Conservative candidates. We thanked them for letting us know who we should not support!

Clear and green blown glass tumblers from Morocco. handmade
We got more Beldi glasses from Morocco as well as lovely green ones

Dilworth had gone from being an elegant trolley-car suburb of Charlotte to a down-at-the-heels slum. The houses had been divided into shabby apartments and it became home to artists, revolutionaries, and oddballs. Then, oddballs like Jamie and Bryan and me bought the old houses and renovated them, gentrifying the neighborhood, but hopefully not too much. After buying a gross bungalow, my ex and I peered into the windows of a newly redone house and fell in love with the transformation. The architect who lived there was Jim Gross and we immediately hired him to redo our choppy, faded bungalow. Bryan and Jamie had already bought and fixed up a great house, and even before we started work I learned that not everyone on Kingston Avenue was happy about the changes. 

Tina Givens patterns. Clothing patterns for sewing.
If you can sew, you should come take a look at these wonderful patterns by Tina Givens. They are interesting, fun, and can be adjusted to fit all sizes.

My neighbor on the corner, Sarah Spencer paid me a call. I invited her in for tea, but she refused, saying, “I hear you are planning to gut and redesign this house.” I told her we were, and she snapped at me, “Well don’t! You people come into Dilworth and think you are doing something good, but you’re not! Because of you, our tax rate will go up and many of the people who now live here will have to move!”

local honey in glass jars. Cypress Honey
Fresh honey from Asheville bees who have been feasting on primarily cypress trees

She had a point, but we were in love with Dilworth and were there to stay (until my ex and I got divorced and we had to sell the house several years later.) Sarah was so determined to keep Dilworth derelict that she refused to remove a huge pile of debris from her back yard that was a breeding place for rats even after told to do so by the city. 

Oil painting on board. Black Mountain artist. local scene of moody landscape. Julia Lara
Oil paintings by Julia Lara, local artist. Her work is moody and beautiful. Scenes are of Black Mountain

I loved that house and the neighborhood. It was so diverse and edgy, but also interesting and warm. Abby walked to Dilworth School for kindergarten but often stopped off at a couple of shops she liked on East Boulevard. She became friends with Robin at the costume shop, Magic Maze, and played with her kitties, and she crossed Park to the pet shop to help with the animals. Somehow, I didn’t worry that she was crossing the busy street or getting home later than she should. It just felt safe there.

Les anis de Flavigny, assorted candy from France. In pretty tins. Rose and Violet
Delicate tin canisters filled with scented flavors of rose and violet

I hear that Dilworth has become a swanky address in Charlotte, and it is home to lots of lawyers. Sad.