A transplant to the south has found a home in a town that is so nice, she says, “It’s made me a nicer person.”
In 2018, Wendy Trommer lost her son and husband in the space of six months. It was a terrible year for her, but her second family—her neighbors—were there for her in a way that she never expected.
Five years prior, she and her family had moved from New England to Lake Trollingwood, South Carolina, a cluster of about 60 homes around a private lake at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains. They found a place that was peaceful, friendly, and welcoming in a way that awed them, and even changed who they were.
“I always thought New England was friendly, but I’ve been here six years and I can count on one hand when someone has been rude,” says Trommer. “Everyone is so helpful—it’s made me a nicer person!”
The place has that effect on all its transplants, who come from all over the country for the nice weather, low taxes, and sedate way of life. Right down the road is fast-growing Greenville, which Forbes, Bloomberg, and Condé Nast Traveler have recognized as one of the country’s most appealing spots to visit or relocate.
But it took a pair of painful losses for Trommer to discover just how supportive her neighbors could be. Of course, like all decent folks, they supported her in her time of direst need. But, after a time, some widows can end up feeling isolated and left out. Her neighbors aren’t letting that happen.
“Eight months later, and my neighbors are still there for me,” she says. “Every day, if I’m out and about, people will stop and say, ‘How are you doing? Do you need anything?’ In New England, I had friends, but they have lives, and I would have been alone. Here, people have lives, but I’m not alone. I’ve never gone out so much in my life.”
From the moment we moved here six years ago, Trollingwood welcomed us with open arms. When both my husband and son died within six months of each other, those arms have been wrapped around me with love and caring.
When we first moved in from NH, we knew no one. Our immediate neighbors discover the moving truck wouldn’t arrive for days, they brought us chairs and lamps so we’d have some place to sit, and access to their WiFi so I didn’t use up all my data. Another neighbor offered us the use of their finished basement until the truck arrived.
This neighborhood has seen its share of troubles: Every year we’ve been here, someone has died. It’s a small community of about 60 families, but we pull together to help one another. A neighbor helps plant a tree, another neighbor drops food off to celebrate every holiday. But the real test came in 2018.
In March, my husband and I lost our son to a major heart attack. None of our neighbors knew him, but they came with food, with love and kindness, they helped us through a difficult time. And six months later when my husband died unexpectedly, everyone rallied once again. My family was in Maine, but my neighbors were here. I was never alone until my brother arrived. Shannon, who lives on the other side of the lake stayed until he did. Her children sent their favorite comfort stuffies so I would have something to hug. Kay came and rubbed my feet,;someone else put food in front of me. For the next several days they came with food and comfort. They listened to my stories and cried with me. Ray and Julie hosted the reception after the funeral at their home. Doris made the family breakfast the morning of the funeral at her house. Many offered their homes to put of town guests so no one would have to stay at a hotel.
It has been seven months, and they are still there. A rotten board on the front step was replaced, a drainage issue fixed. I had a place to go for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter.
My husband and I tried three times to sell our New Hampshire home. In 2006, we were going to stay in New Hampshire, but we had no nibbles. In 2010 we were considering Florida, the house was on the market for 16 months with an average of two showings a week and only one lowball offer. In 2013, we tried again. This time our destination was South Carolina. The house sold in 10 days with two couples vying for it. God wanted us in this neighborhood and I’m so glad he put us here. I don’t know how I could have gone through this past year without these wonderful neighbors.