As I was looking for potential new Facebook cover photos to serve as blog adverts (my now not-so-secret obsession), I ran across this painting-esque evening photo of the flawless Mederer Estate in my hometown. The home is actually up for sale, so for the first time in my life I got to see photos of the inside. Here’s the link for the rest of you Valdostans who might be curious. As expected, there’s a lovely grand staircase, and the home showcases the charm of one built over 50 years ago. And no, I won’t be buying it just yet (lest anyone else is pining after it!).
Seeing the gorgeously shot photo above prompted memories to flood back: Mrs. Mederer’s infamous (and allegedly very territorial) flock of peacocks, which did not consider the busy Jerry Jones Road to be a boundary to their turf; catching glimpses of Mrs. Mederer out in her huge yard cutting camellias and whatever other flowers were in bloom; seeing the home being gutted after she died in the late 90s and hoping the new owners left well enough alone when renovating it to their modern tastes. (It appears from the realtor’s photos that they did just that, thankfully.) I didn’t know Mrs. Mederer personally, and never met her as far as I recall. But her legacy of having the greenest thumb in Valdosta was well known–she was a founding member of the garden club, and even had a small corner park named after her. I remember when the new owners of her estate were gutting the house, I asked one of the now-deceased Mrs. Mederer’s neighbours what she thought about the changes being made to the home. Always one to speak her mind, the neighbour told me they could do whatever they wanted to to the Mederer house as long as the peacocks were not reinstated. Years of hearing the squawking birds and nearly running over a few had taken their toll on the neighbours!
The main thing that struck me as I watched the slide show of Mederer Estate photos on the realty site is this: a house is not a home without people in it. All the crown moulding, columns, brickwork, bathrooms (who needs 10 bathrooms in Valdosta?!?), and creeping ivy in the world do not a home make; it’s the warmth and memories that make it a place you want to live in or visit. Whomever eventually buys Mrs. Mederer’s mansion will have plenty of rooms to fill up with their own family, friends, flowers, and memories. Just no peacocks, per the neighbours.