He lay in the ICU of a top Asheville, North Carolina hospital, in a medically-induced coma, his head wrapped in heated towels to ward off the chills. His partner’s daughter observed: “Lying there, wrapped in that turban, he looks like ET (the lovable extra-terrestrial from the movie by the same name).
At the same time, his partner, Colleen, thought: “Our retirement in this region was never supposed to be like this.”
Paul Wesley Gates and Colleen Kelly Mellor were two Boomers from Rhode Island who’d searched for their perfect retirement home for many years, found it in Asheville, lived there for 9 years and sold—to return to their home state (hence, the term “Boomerrrang”—but spell it with 3 r’s).
The “why” they moved back is significant.
In the fourth year, Paul Wesley Gates was hit on a mountain road behind their condominium complex by a 12-year-old girl, practice-driving her uncle’s truck. (This story made national headlines.) Pulled out of his vehicle by the Jaws of Life, he endured a 9-hour operation to mend his broken neck, choked on post-surgical swelling, and “died.”
Medical staff brought him back, but his recovery was long and difficult.
Rather than allow this crisis to define their future, Paul Gates and Colleen Kelly Mellor used the significant downtime to publish two Grandpa and the Truck books for children, based on Paul’s 30 year career on the road, as independent owner-operator of big rigs. It would be their first foray into book publishing. They plan to publish six more books in the series.
Now Colleen releases Boomerrrang for all who’ll make a similar journey to identify their ideal retirement home….
Like the colorful quilt-makers of the Smoky/Blue Ridge Mountain region, Mellor weaves fun vignettes of their time in this western North Carolina region into her narrative. Chapters such as “Asheville Woman Looking for a Man? Good Luck!”…”It’s a Dog’s World…Unless You’ve Got a Cat” and “In Asheville, Police Respond (Too) Quickly” suggest the fun and wide swath of her focus.
On a practical level, she offers important tips as a former six-figure realtor, regarding how they chose the state…region…community…model townhome. She weighs in on the benefits/pitfalls of condo living, describing regional adjustments (maladjustments) for northerners going south.
But Boomerrrang is not just a book about Asheville. It’s a humor-laced tutorial, useful for anyone buying property… anywhere.
Her longtime partner and she gave life there full effort. She volunteer-taught women prisoners at the Asheville jail (where one night she tried to “break in”) and he ferried blood to Charlotte for the American Red Cross. They had many friends. Hiking trips, luncheons, and meeting groups became their way of life.
But the accident and its after-shocks caused them to reconsider all.
In the end, they returned to their home state.
The reasons may surprise you (They’re not what you’d think.)
Colleen Kelly Mellor, a retired teacher and 6-figure realtor, is now a regular commentator on the Op-Ed pages of the Providence Journal. Her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, World News, Scripps-Howard, western North Carolina’s Mountain Xpress, as well as the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald, and Kent County Times.
Boomerrrang is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=boomerrrang
Or order a personal, signed copy from the author at https://colleenkellymellor.com