White Picket Fence

Written by Susan Hatten

Nearly three years ago, my mother sold our large 1940s home in Ida Grove, Iowa, to make a life transition after my father passed away. She was forced to downsize, which meant that I became the proud new owner of numerous Tupperware containers full of photos, trinkets and memorabilia. As I sifted through the items, I stumbled upon my time capsule from seventh grade. I had tidily packed the capsule in a blue and white Bed Bath & Beyond box and then carefully taped the sides, so as not to open before 2004.

When I came upon the contents of the time capsule, I was astounded. The life that I had so carefully and confidently forecasted for myself by the age of 25 had not even come close to my current reality. The photos of my projected life included the following: A (large) wedding ring, a picturesque husband, home with a white picket fence, a small Siberian Husky puppy, two children, and a window view from a corporate office. Sounds sweet, right?

The one item that did come to fruition out of this box of bounty was my white picket fence (minus the white).

When I turned 31 last June, I was on the cusp of making a major decision about my home residence. For the past 3.5 years, I had owned my own picket-fence home in the heart of Beaverdale. My little bungalow was perfect for me, offering the right balance of character, charm and functionality.

I recall the chilly April day that I moved in, adamantly vowing to sleep on the hardwood floor that first night. I was so proud that I had purchased my own home and that I would be responsible for taking care of her–and conversely, she would take care of me.

In addition to home ownership, the past several years have brought increasing career responsibilities as well as civic and philanthropic engagement, which I treasure. Thus, my evenings are usually spent mingling at networking events, jotting notes at board meetings or checking out a new food or wine locale with friends. My honey-do list at home grew longer, and there was no one but me to maintain it. 

I came to realize that my single-person home ownership was causing me to miss out on some of the things that I truly loved and enjoyed, and thus it was time to sell.

After a summer of having multiple home showings and many days of dusting, fluffing rugs and pruning shrubs, my home sold. Elated, I began the search for a downtown Des Moines dwelling and found a gorgeous condo at The Plaza. I now have a view of the city from above that proves to me every morning exactly how green the grass is in Des Moines, and the total bonus is that I no longer have to mow that grass.

I don’t regret owning my home and the experiences that went along with it. I was simply ready to hang up my weed-eater for a better view of the sunrise. I am ready to redefine my own white picket fence life–right in the heart of our gorgeous city.

susan hatten

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