Paul and his wife live in Kingwood. Their two daughters are grown and have graduated from college. Paul has taken early retirement from the banking industry, so his life is in a bit of a transition. He’s planning a move to the Texas hill country to a home on a bluff overlooking the Frio River. As you might imagine, their new home will undoubtedly have beautiful views from every window.
Here’s Paul Nevels with his essay for Houston Public Radio’s This I Believe.
“I believe in a room with a view.
One of my lasting childhood impressions of looking out and into the world was when I was either five or six. It was from the second story of my grandparent’s home on the college campus where my grandfather was President. It was a small but lovely campus located in the French/Acadian section of Louisiana. The campus was dotted with stately live oaks, southern pines, azaleas, camellias, pink crape myrtle, irises, and seasonal flowers. From that second floor window, I could see clearly the red brick buildings surrounded and enhanced by these colorful gifts of nature. It was a beautiful view that I have never forgotten.
During my generation, tough love was administered by either my Dad’s alligator belt or my Mom’s Ivory soap into the mouth, followed by detention in my room. I did not have the entertainment technology of the TV, PC, or iPOD to keep my mind occupied, but I did have a big window with a good view of the neighborhood. I would watch my friends play pitch and catch or count the different types of cars that passed by, and sometimes laugh when the bicycling paperboy would accelerate rapidly at the sound of our dog Firecracker. Time passed fast as I focused on the events outside, rather than reflecting on why I was inside.
At eight, I stayed up late on Christmas Eve to see if there was really a Santa Claus. When I heard some noise outside, I sneaked into my sister’s room next door for a better view. I looked out her window and saw my Dad retrieving unwrapped presents from the trunk of his yellow Lincoln. They were put under the Christmas tree. I got caught spying that night and challenged the idea of Santa Claus. My Dad said, “If you don’t believe in Santa Claus, you will not get any presents from him.” I looked up and responded, “I believe in you, Daddy.”
Over the years, these early experiences have stayed with me and shaped my beliefs. Whenever I enter a room, I always look for the view. I continue to see the beautiful and the true, and I believe that life would be worse for me, if I did not have a room with a view.”