California couple leaves ocean for rocky promontory
Why would a couple leave their home of many years on the Monterrey Peninsula in California, on one of the most naturally beautiful coastlines in the world, to live above an old rock quarry in a little town in the Midwest, namely, Corydon, Ind.?
Linda Gullett, 54, said she has been asked that question about 100 times.
She and her husband, John Gullett, also 54, left Pacific Grove on the Pacific Ocean about a year ago and ‘came home.’ He was born in New Albany but spent most of his life on the West Coast. She’s a native of California.
But John always came back here to visit family and always liked it here, ‘like this was home.’
‘He drug me along,’ said Linda, with a laugh. But she’s content here, too. Actually, they had moved here once before, several years ago, but ‘We weren’t ready for it. We couldn’t cut the apron strings,’ said Linda, whose family is in California. She was born in Merced, in central California, but grew up on the Monterrey Peninsula.
Some people think Monterrey and picture-perfect Carmel nearby are pretty much paradise, but the Gulletts have found many things they like in the ‘pretty town’ of Corydon: first, the people and their hospitality; the quaint town square; the small-town atmosphere; the ‘self-contained’ community with plenty of restaurants, doctors, dentists and hospital. The Gulletts hardly ever feel the need to leave town, they said last week.
Before the Gulletts moved here, they subscribed to The Corydon Democrat to see what property was available. They called developer Mike Sphire about some land, but it had already been sold. He asked what kind of property they were looking for, and wouldn’t you know it? He had just what they were looking for, and it was in town.
When the Gulletts moved here, they stayed for four or five months at the Kintner Inn and its apartments, where innkeeper Dee Windell and owner Mark Wiseman did everything they could for the Gulletts while they started building their house. They said Corydon Town Council President Fred Cammack and Ralph Best, the executive director of the Corydon Planning and Zoning Commission, and street department employee Carl Vaugn have all been very helpful with all the paperwork, planning and utility installation.
And what a house they have built. They have traded one spectacular location for another: Their new brick ranch, with plenty of deck and porch space, is atop a rocky promontory. The old Cedar Glade-Bachman-McGrain Quarry is behind and below them, and north Corydon can be seen through the trees stretching out in front.
From their east fence, they can see the Cedar Court assisted living facility below and the YMCA of Harrison County in the distance. To the right is the Keller Manufacturing Co. plant and Big Indian Creek. John is thinking about building a trail from his house down through the woods to the road that runs past Cedar Court. John and Linda said they are excited about the Indian Creek Trail project that’s being built alongside the creek below them.
Their 4.5 acres is surrounded by 2,000 feet of new fence because if you stray too far, you can fall off a cliff. The Gulletts’ asphalt driveway has an automatic gate on Short Street. The road winds for a quarter-mile around the quarry back to their house and barn/garage, where they lived in an efficiency apartment for four months while they worked on their house.
John, who retired after a 35-year career with Safeway Food Stores, has spent hours and given his back an extreme workout by moving tons of rocks around his promontory with a wheelbarrow so it looks like a Japanese rock garden. John built a wide gravel creekbed that becomes a stream when it rains. It leads downhill to a little ‘pergola’ or shade arbor that provides a nice view of the secluded quarry that Sphire plans to develop later.
Jason Parker of Custom Aquatics of Palmyra moved plenty of rocks around himself while building a pretty waterfall that has a 300-gallon reservoir hidden under rocks at the bottom.
Linda painted most of the big limestone rocks around the house with black and green acrylic paint so they would look more wild, instead of a dull tan. ‘I’ll bet I’ve done 100 of those things,’ she moaned. Linda said one of their new friends, neighbor Janet Villier, commented, ‘Only people from California would be out there painting rocks.’ Carl Vaughn told John and Linda that ‘This place grows rocks.’
‘This was all wild up here,’ before they started clearing it up, said Linda. ‘Animals don’t like us.’
‘We tore out a mountain of brush and undergrowth,’ said John. They wanted lots of grass, like a little park. ‘We want it to look like a place you’d go on vacation.’
One wooden swing is already in place, at the edge of the back yard that has been sewn with grass seed and covered with straw. The Gulletts plan to install three more swings: in the screened-in back porch, on the front porch and one in ‘the little meadow.’
‘We’ll be like grandma and grandpa swingin’ away,’ Linda said.