Where I Live: Childhood memories give Arlington’s Enchanted Oaks resident an edge to purchase home

dfwnewsa | March 16, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Where I Live: Childhood memories give Arlington’s Enchanted Oaks resident an edge to purchase home

Arlington resident Heidi Smith sits in front of her home March 13, 2024, in the Enchanted Oaks neighborhood. Smith’s house is opposite to her grandmother’s. (Dang Le | Fort Worth Report)
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By Heidi Smith

For years, the Enchanted Oaks neighborhood was best known to me as “where Grandma lived.” 

Originating from Ohio, my family made its way to Texas in the early ’70s. Bordered by Interstate 30 on the south and woods all around, most of the streets were not even built when the family members moved in, but the little neighborhood grew quickly. My grandma frequently retold the story of calling Arlington ISD to request a closer bus stop, explaining that over 30 schoolchildren lived on their street alone. 

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An additional stop was added, but over time, this influx of young families led to the expansion of schools, including the construction of a second junior high and a closer elementary school, eliminating the need for that bus stop.

During those early years, young families quickly engaged and made friends with one another. Shared fences were removed to expand the play space for children. Mothers worked together to watch the younger children while another carpooled kids to sports practices.      

There were no strangers on the block.      

But over time, families grew older, kids moved away, and parents retired and relocated. The neighborhood became a mix of new families and a few of the original settlers. 

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No matter these changes, my grandmother’s home remained a constant in my life. Still occupying that house, Grandma is the only family member I know who has not moved since I was born. Inside the dated walls of that four-bedroom, two-bath house were so many carefree memories of my youth. 

In high school, it was a frequent hangout for my friends and me, as we would often stop by on our lunch break to enjoy homemade grilled cheese sandwiches. Only a mile away from Lamar High School, my grandma made the daily drive to pick me up, but even after I got my first car, I would still hang out at her house first before heading home for the day.  

I also considered it my safe place. It was the first place I went to after leaving school midday on 9/11. With my parents still at work, much of the tragic events of that day played out while I sat on the couch alongside my grandma. From everyday moments to milestone dates in history, so many memories were made at that address.

When my husband and I were on the search for our first home 10 years ago, my grandma casually remarked that the house across the street was going on the market. We had never imagined that we could ever live here, as it was a little out of our price range. We could not, however, pass up the chance to move to this neighborhood. From its privacy and mature trees to its proximity to work and family, Enchanted Oaks crossed off everything on our list of wants. 

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Included in our offer was a personal note about our family being original homeowners on the street, which gave us the edge we needed for our offer to be accepted. 

Each year, we celebrate our closing date, Sept. 30, by taking a photo on the front porch. It began as a joke about being carried over the threshold — my husband picked me up to re-create this moment — and we shared it on social media, along with an update of anything we had done to the house in the last year. 

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Over time, we have slowly begun remodeling a home that was frozen in time. From the flocked wallpaper in the dining room to the avocado green wallpaper in the bathroom, this house had all the groovy markings of a classic ’70s home. While we sometimes wish we had purchased a new build, the unique character and charm of this home remind us of the simpler times from this neighborhood’s early years. 

No matter what we update, it still feels like home, and I hope that is something that never changes. 

Heidi Smith, 39, was born and raised in Arlington. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been a lifelong parks and recreation professional. She is currently the facility manager at the East Library and Recreation Center for the city of Arlington. She and her husband have a 19-year-old daughter and a dog. Heidi is an avid runner and is a member of the Arlington chapter of Moms Run This Town.

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Enchanted Oaks

Total population: 4,556Female: 53% | Male: 47%

Age0-9: 9%10-19: 11%20-29: 8%30-39: 8%40-49: 17%50-59: 15%60-69: 19%70-79: 9%80 and older: 5%

EducationNo degree: 4%High school: 10%Some college: 24%Bachelor’s degree: 40%Post-graduate: 22%

RaceWhite: 71% | Asian: 4% | Hispanic: 16% | Black: 5% | Two or more: 3%

Click on the link to view the schools’ Texas Education Agency ratings:

Lamar HSShackelford JHNewman International Academy of Arlington GibbinsTurning Point Secondary SchoolSpeer ElemPope ElemButler ElemPremier HS of ArlingtonPremier HS of South IrvingDuff ElemCommunity Based PKKooken Ed CtrWebb Elem

Wimbish World Language AcademyIgnite Community School-Fort WorthUplift Summit International HSUplift Summit International MSUplift Summit International PriUplift Crescendo Preparatory PriJean Massieu AcademySwift ElemSherrod ElemJones Fine Arts / Dual Language AcademyBill J Elliott ElemLowery Road Elem

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