A New Place to Call Home

by | Jul 1, 2006 | Features

Tom and Martha Marlow grew up just a stone’s throw from the Canadian Border, in a beautiful area of Northern New York called Ogdensburg. The couple, who admitted they were high school sweethearts, never dreamed they’d be spending the 30th anniversary of their marriage in a small town in west central Arkansas.
Yet the couple recently celebrated three decades of marriage in the shadows of the Ozark Mountains rather than near the Adirondacks of their youth.
And while the Arkansas River is a far cry from the St. Lawrence River of Northern New York, the Marlows have found a new place to call home.
Tom admits he knew he “was doomed” the moment his wife stepped into what would soon become their new home located in the Hilltop area just off of Marina Way.
“Tom’s secretary, Andi Pierce, was a step behind him as he walked into this house,” explained Martha. Tom is the director of Nuclear Safety and Assessment at Arkansas Nuclear One.
“She says she will never forget Tom’s words, ‘I’m done for’ he uttered as he walked through the massive oak door into the open expanse that looked straight across the house through triple windows.”
Martha, entering behind Andi, never even saw the home’s interior. She was looking straight ahead — through the massive windows — into the back yard.
“I was in heaven,” she added, saying that one of the main criteria she’d expressed while searching for a new home was a beautiful yard and grounds. An avid gardener, Martha and Tom had been viewing other property with their real estate agent, even talking for hours with a builder, before discovering the Autumnwood home.
“We went right back to the Realtor’s and made an offer,” Tom added.
Martha is quick to add that she is not responsible for the home’s beauty. She attributes that to the choices and tastes of the home’s original owners, William and Lorene Cook. The Cooks had built the home a few years earlier to live in close proximity to their daughter, Debbie Bell and her family, but had decided to sell the property and return to William’s farm.
The home features an open floor plan, three bedrooms and an office, in addition to a formal dining room and two living areas. A separate breakfast area features a tall dining table that suits the Marlows perfectly.
Martha delights in the fact that she can sit on the back porch and watch the sun come up, then move to the front porch as the sun sets within view of Mt. Nebo.
Only a few pieces in the home are new, according to Martha. Most, like a pair of antique chairs, a coffee table that belonged to Martha’s grandmother, and an antique dining table and buffet, were brought from the couple’s previous home. A sampler made by Martha’s grandmother holds a spot of honor in the adjacent sitting area. The importance of family is evident. Martha has seven siblings; Tom has four.
Local interior designer Kirt Mosely did influence a few purchases, like a pair of striped chairs for the living room.
“He used everything that I had brought with us — even my silk flower arrangements — which he reworked to fit our new home,” said Martha. She points out the placement of delicate bird nests nestled through a number of arrangements.
“Kirt picked up on the fact that I like birds and placed these tiny nests in a number of subtle places,” she added. The fireplace, is flanked by lighted bookshelves filled with Martha’s collectibles, sugar and creamers, Snow Babies and Willow Tree collectibles.
“We bought a few accent pieces to fill in and bring the colors together but most of what we have moved with us.”
Most everything, that is, except the Marlow children — Jill, Jennifer and Tommy — all whom live in various areas of the country pursuing careers and courses of study. Family photos appear throughout the home as constant companion to their physical absence.
“But we talk every single day,” she adds, smiling.
The couple admits to missing the kids but say they stay busy with outdoor activities and weekend treks.
“When we moved here, we decided that we would treat it as a new adventure, taking in every opportunity that surrounds us. One weekend we’ll go for a hike, then maybe a canoe trip.
We’re thinking of getting new bikes so that we can take advantage of all the great places there are to ride,” Martha proclaimed.
The couple stays busy. Toms travels frequently with business, Martha accompanying him when she can. She enjoys finding quaint areas in which to shop, picking up accent pieces for their home. A unique set of leaf-shaped placemats used on the patio table were a find from New Orleans.
While Martha admits to struggling somewhat with her ‘Arkansas’ vegetable garden, she excels at growing impatients and other potted plants which line the back porch. Impatients were one plant that grew particularly well in New York, she explains, displaying a gorgeous pot of vibrant New Guinea impatients. She stays busy tending hundreds of yard plants, more than 45 azaleas, Japanese Maples, nandina and lantana, and takes pride in mowing her own yard.
Before moving to Arkansas, Martha was involved in formal dance and ballet, managing a dance store and serving as a certified fitter for pointe slippers. Both daughters danced throughout their childhood with Jill continuing her ballet career in Cinncinati.
Whether outside in their garden or gazing at the sunset over Mt. Nebo, Tom and Martha Marlow are proud to have the River Valley as a new place to call ‘home.’

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