Editor’s note: This story is part of the Eat, Play, Live special section.
It was the street that sold them.
In all fairness, it was — and remains — an idyllic stretch of pavement, surrounded on either side by a line of lush trees that gently recede into a dead end less than a mile from the modest house that Tom and Paula Brown eventually purchased on East Doris Avenue.
The youngest of their two boys was just 5 weeks old when the Browns touched down in State College. Like his elder brother, the little tyke has since moved out on his own — the difference 20 years tends to make — leaving Tom and Paula behind to explore life as a couple of empty nesters.
We’ve thought about moving different times but the thought of leaving here is hard.
“We’ve thought about moving different times, but the thought of leaving here is hard,” Paula said.
If they were ever to leave, it would certainly send ripples through the neighborhood’s blizzard response system.
The Browns have taken it upon themselves to act as the street’s first responders, sometimes plowing a driveway before a neighbor even has time to turn on The Weather Channel.
They picked up the mantle — and the snow blower — from Warren Poage, an elderly gentleman who lived with his wife in the house across the street.
If we got to Williamsport and run late we knew that we could call any number of people and say, ‘Hey, can you let Cruise out?’
Until his passing, Poage was sort of the unofficial mayor of the neighborhood. Now Tom has taken on the responsibilities of the village’s go-to handyman.
“Tom has probably been at everybody’s house wiring a light switch,” Paula said.
In return, the Browns have been rewarded with a cadre of reliable neighbors, people they can count on to watch the house or help with the dog whenever they are out of town.
“If we got to Williamsport and run late, we knew that we could call any number of people and say, ‘Hey, can you let Cruise out?’ ” Tom said.