Lotte Dolezalek is from Germany, recently became a U.S. citizen.
I lived, before I came to this area, in the New England area. We emigrated in '61 to the Boston area. I moved pretty close to the prestigious Concord area. I can tell you about my first shock-maybe I shouldn't call it that. In arriving here, I had figured that housing would represent a very modern type of house. What I saw in New England was the mock Colonial style. I was really not prepared for that. One thing I remember was my struggle with the windows, the sash windows. People were much more conventional in their taste than I had been prepared for.
The other thing I did not know as a foreigner is that you live largely by social groups. So that neighborhoods tend to represent certain social strata. Very soon it became obvious to me, the fact that if you have a black family move into your neighborhood at that time the real estate values would come down. We were prepared to have a varied neighborhood, from our German background. At that time I didn't have children in the school system, but when I heard that higher overall taxes reflect a better or worse school system I became alerted and thought: "Maybe if we are now going to buy a house, I should pay attention to that factor. "
The criteria I had on my list reflect my European values. Top priority, from the moment I had made that connection, was which schools. Very close to that was the consideration of living close to public transportation. I did not want to live too far away from the center of town. I also did not want to have to depend on private transportation.
What actually convinced us to buy in Hollin Hills was at last we found what you call a contemporary type of architecture. I was delighted. I was delighted also with the concept of the architect to leave the natural surrounding as untouched as possible, and in not trying to place one house facing the street the way another house would. You have these rows of development houses, which is quite a difference compared to European buildings where you do not have developers. You build your own house. You have only certain limitations. You can not build a high rise beside a one story house. You have to keep a certain distance between your neighbor. You have to keep a certain distance away from the street. But as style goes, you can have your terms, colonial house beside a modern structure.
The other consideration I gave to the choice of this house was that it was close to a bus line. and I had made up my mind that by the time my oldest child was ten I would teach him how to use public transportation. I felt, for a youngster, the experience of a town is very important. Also, later, at that point he should be able to shop independently if he wanted to.
I'm a foreign language teacher and a librarian, I have prepared for both, but I do not work. I'm predominantly a housewife, and a mother. I have a boy in West Grove, I had a boy in Groveton who graduated last year, and I have one daughter, a junior. When we arrived, I think in '67, I did not hear much about the project of a new school. My first contact with new Groveton would go far back. I think it was through my capacity as the P. T. A. president of Bryant. I got involved because Bryant and Groveton were going to change sites. I was invited to participate in meetings but at that point they had already established priorities. I came along and was kind of drawn more into the center of it by becoming a member of the student committee of the charrette.