Tuesday, February 14, 2012

La Rotonde Cafe, Paris

I'm beginning to feel good. That may not seem significant, but it's quite a statement since I've been unable to say that for almost 3 years. I've been in a very dark place, thus, the silence in my blog. But with final divorce papers in my hand, I've relinquished all hope of repairing a broken marriage, and I'm determined to make the most of this new chapter in my life.

That said, things are happening quickly here. My second year lease at this sweet, small and safe Villa Rica studio apartment ended almost exactly as my divorce papers arrived. Time to move back to Atlanta, where family and friends are, and search for a new home. I want a house to call my own, with a garden. Nothing big. Just something to call my own.

I received a phone message from my sister the other day telling me of something she heard on the TV--Wells Fargo's new program, Neighborhood Lift, offering downpayment assistance to people who fit the criteria and are willing to move into the depressed areas of town. Forgivable downpayment if you live in the house 5 years. What the heck, I thought, I'll give it a try. I made an appointment, showed up for it at the World Congress Center this past Sunday, bringing a folder full of required paperwork, filled out forms, was herded through a series of loan officers and waited anxiously as the computers processed my information to see if I qualified. Finally, I was pointed toward the shuttles, which herded people to different intown neighborhoods, holding in my hand a piece of paper congratulating me--$15,000 has been set aside to be used as my downpayment at the closing of my new house--wherever that might be.

I chose the West End shuttle because that's what my approved mortgage amount allowed; the other neighborhoods were way over my limit. One of the houses, a charming bungalow in perfect condition, had everything I wanted-space for a studio, a small basement-- and was in my price range (I've actually been looking for months at houses, so I was able to make comparisons). Next day I brought some family and a real estate agent (also family), who agreed the house was perfect--hopefully the neighborhood would also be one day. We made an offer, today the counter-offer arrived and I am signing the contract.

I also just received an email from the Wells Fargo loan officer telling me that there may be more grant money for me--she's looking into it.

I'm going to write about this as the process evolves. I know it's wordy; you don't have to read it. But it may inspire some people to try for some of that free money that's out there. And it's out there.

The picture above, "La Rotonde Cafe, Paris" is an 18x24 pastel, and will be at my upcoming show at The River Gallery, in Chattanooga, TN.

River Gallery
March 1-31
Opening Reception: Friday, March 2
6:30 to 8 pm

Would love to see you there.


  1. Hi Margaret,
    I sensed your sadness even over the internet as I have followed your blog 'behind the scenes' for a while now. I'm so glad to see your beautiful work posted and also applaud you as your future unfolds. Wishing you much luck to you with your new home, how exciting!

  2. Happy you are starting to feel good.

    I'm currently going through a nasty divorce after 10 years of marriage, and losing my home and art studio as well. It's horrible.

  3. What a wonderful story and a great project! New beginnings! I found myself in a similar situation...except that instead of a house in a depressed area of a city, I ended up with a two-acre property in the bush on the shores of a small lake. With the help of my father and sister, we cleared the land, built a house and worked on the landscaping over the many years I've been here (gosh, 29 years this year). It changed my life...for the BETTER!! Your new endeavour may be the catalyst that will enable you to set aside what was and move towards a new reality. Best wishes to you...lauraine

  4. Happy trails Margaret - the best is yet to come.

  5. Dear Margaret,

    Starting a new chapter of one's life can be scary and exciting in the same time. I wish you find peace and happiness in this new beginning. Words are so pale and powerless in situations like what you have gone through. I'm just happy for you that the most painful part is hopefully over... You are an amazing artist and your work has touched me so many times. Nobody and nothing can ever take that away from you. I wish you the best in your new journey...


  6. So proud of you. Being in limbo is the toughest part of 'starting over'...not knowing whether to go or stay is excrutiating! Love the sound of your new digs, and envy your braveness that got you your new beginning! Just think about the happy paintings you will do!


  7. I'm sorry for the sorrows of the last few years, Margaret. I hope that the years ahead offer you nothing but joy and inspiration. Ala Kahlil Gibran - the more sorrow/pain you know, the more joy you can hold.

    Your artwork is a joy for all of us.

  8. Thank you all for your encouraging words. How wonderful to come home to all these sweet messages after a long day teaching last night.

  9. Margaret, your work is amazing to me. All the best of luck in your new endeavors. Wish you much peace and happiness.

  10. If you have survived this far then rest assured that the future will be full of wonderful painting days and well deserved happiness in your new home. I admire your fortitude and send blessings.

  11. Margaret -
    Wishing you the best...and as it has been said, your new chapter is unfolding for you to behold and craft.
    Hold on....hang in there.

    You'll always have Paris!