A painting of reader Paula Ganzi McGloin's former Bellmore house, a...

A painting of reader Paula Ganzi McGloin's former Bellmore house, a gift from her friend Claudia Gryvatz Copquin of Melville. The painting now resides in Millsboro, Delaware. Credit: Paula Ganzi McGloin

At first glance, the mature Tudor Chalet wooed me curbside. Its A-frame and picture window hinting at the dramatic interior. Stepping inside, I fell in love with its 20-foot cathedral ceilings, the balcony overlooking the living room, arched doorways and that big, old stone fireplace. The 1930 charmer was irresistible, despite its tiny bedrooms and elderly pipes. We had a great run, three decades of love and laughter, tears and comfort, parties, painting, landscaping, renovations, my refuge during dark days and my happy place during most days.

To sell my beloved Bellmore home, Realtor-ese was used to tempt potential buyers, substituting “cozy” for small and “charming” for outdated, “third bedroom” for odd backroom with no door or closet.  But the Realtor lingo wasn’t necessary. Strangers recognized its charm. Multiple offers were made, pre-pandemic. I walked out the front door for the last time in January 2020.

Perhaps my beautiful tiny Tudor Chalet is to blame for our next move. Although most retirees downsize, we upgraded. Modern-day floor plans and out-of-state prices lured us south. Having lived three decades in cramped quarters, I was ready for expansive, open-concept living able to accommodate a Godzilla-sized TV, multiple guest rooms, an owner’s suite larger than my former upstairs, closets the size of my old bedroom, situated on a large lot. We nearly tripled our square footage. And reduced our property taxes by 85%.

Now, when I drive into town I pass picturesque cornfields, share the road with farm equipment, and if there’s a lineup of cars waiting to make a left at the four-way stop sign, I don’t even think of honking my horn. I’ve swapped rush hour for LSD -- Lower Slower Delaware (initially, those LSD bumper stickers concerned us).

But there are things I miss, not just about my Bellmore home, but Bellmore. We could walk to multiple restaurants, two movie theaters, a supermarket and the best gelato shop this side of the Atlantic Ocean. When my husband, Billy, and I were deciding where to retire, the criteria were Long Island-inspired. We wanted beautiful beaches, great restaurants, golf courses, state parks, and no more than a four-hour drive to visit family and friends “back home.”

New York will always be my home. Born and raised in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, I moved to Bellmore at age 30 when my late husband, Robert, and I bought that one-of-a-kind Tudor Chalet. Billy, raised in Franklin Square and later Elmont, spent most of his adult life in Bohemia and seven years in the Bellmore house. We love our new lives and cherish our old roots. I smile whenever the Verrazzano Bridge offers its breathtaking views (brake lights on the Belt Parkway, notwithstanding).

In our new spacious hallway, we have a few photos and paintings on the walls, many Long Island scenes. There’s the shot I took of Billy walking into an angry post-storm sea at Point Lookout — boogie board in hand. There’s a watercolor of the same beach at a more tranquil time, a wedding present from friends. And perhaps the tenderest image is the gift from my friend Claudia: her painting of my Bellmore house.

Home is where the art is.

Reader Paula Ganzi McGloin lives in Millsboro, Delaware.

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