To quote a well-known movie, there is no place like home.
And that quote holds a special meeting for a couple who have recently moved to the area. Or back to the area, for one of them.
For Pete and Marletta Page, home is where the heart is, and their hearts are as big as all outdoors.
It all began in 1983, when Pete Page met his future wife in Texas.
“When Pete was in his 20s, he started touring around the states in the hopes of using his airframe and power plant mechanic’s license, and he wound up in Greenville, Texas,” said Marletta Page as she glanced at her husband in their well-appointed family room. “I was a Texas native and was living there, and he happened to move into the same apartment building.”
It was a chance meeting that would forever change both their lives.
“After dating for a while, we married, and he was sweet enough to help me take care of my parents as they got older,” she said. “He ended up with a job as a fireman, so that allowed him time to help them.”
That help lasted more than three decades, and his wife decided it was time to “pay it forward.”
“I wanted the chance to at least partially repay him, and give him the chance to come back home,” said Marletta Page.
A native of Winston-Salem, Pete Page said he was tired of living in the big city.
“I wanted to come back to a small town,” he said quietly with a smile.
Which led to a rapid-fire search for a place to live near his hometown.
“We went in search of a great place to raise our two grandchildren, whom we have custody of, and Pete knew about this area,” said Marletta Page. “When he suggested Mount Airy, I was just ecstatic thinking about the mountains, wineries and Andy Griffith.”
With grandchildren Addie, 5, and Austin, 4, living with them and concern about getting them into preschool in the area, the couple knew they needed to move as fast as they could.
“We wanted them to have as smooth a transition as possible, so we just started the ball rolling super quickly,” Marletta Page said. “We scouted the area and bought a house within a period of 30 days. Then we went back to Texas, put our house on the market, arranged for movers and were here within a month.”
Now retired, the former firefighter and his schoolteacher wife are proud Mount Airy residents.
Their impression of the area?
“These are the friendliest people I’ve ever been around,” Pete Page said with a smile.
His wife agreed.
“It’s just phenomenal being here,” she gushed. “It seems that every day someone rings our doorbell and brings us something, and we have found a wonderful church we love, Grace Moravian Church, and are just in love with this area.”
With a mother in a Winston-Salem assisted living facility, she said the time was right for the move.
“His mother has been very active in Christ Moravian Church in Winston-Salem since her birth, and she’s 92 now,” she said. “We miss his father, who passed away, but we are trying to keep his family close after being away for so many years.”
So what was one of the first things they did after arriving in Mount Airy in August?
“This year for Thanksgiving, we had all of Pete’s family here,” she said, looking lovingly at her husband. “We went out and bought a huge dining room table that would seat all of his family. It was wonderful having them all under one roof once again.
“Because this is our homeplace now, and after years away, he is back to his roots where he belongs.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.