Tim and Julie Brewton stand in the yard of his childhood home on Ferndale

Tim Brewton admits he’s not so sure about the changes made to his childhood home on Ferndale. Brewton, who visited the extensively remodeled home Friday while attending the Lake Highlands Women’s League Holiday in the Highlands home tour with wife, Julie, said the house is strikingly beautiful, but he’ll never forget the house as it was.

“My mom and dad drew the plans for the house in 1966, and we moved here when I was in the second grade. I lived here until I went to college. It was a great place to grow up. We call it the Wonder Years.”

You may view my photos from the tour here.

Brewton, a graduate of Wallace Elementary, Lake Highlands Junior High and Lake Highlands High in 1976, said his parents finally moved out when they relocated to Little Rock in 2013.

“Gene Stallings lived right there,” said Brewton, pointing across the street to 10031 Ferndale and referring to the former defensive coach of the Dallas Cowboys who helped the team win Super Bowl XII in 1978. “I met Charlie Waters and Cliff Harris at their house, and I missed meeting Joe Namath there by that much. Gene had a booming voice and a big heart. Nicest man in the world.”

Stallings moved away to coach the Cardinals and later coached the University of Alabama. He now resides near Paris, Texas. Many of the Dallas Cowboys players and coaches lived in Lake Highlands during years when the team’s practice facility was located on Forest Lane near Abrams.

The Brewtons expressed gratitude to the Women’s League and to Veronica and Jon Deats, current owners of the home, for making it available to tour.

“They took the fireplace out, that’s the only thing that bothers me,” Brewton said. “It’s really gorgeous, though. The bedroom where my brother and I slept was as big as a classroom, and they made my sister’s room into two rooms – a Jack and Jill bedroom and bath. One room we couldn’t go into was a storage room where my brother kept his fish. Your memories are in your heart.”

Many attendees said they never miss the event and consider it a part of their annual holiday tradition, but one longtime Lake Highlands resident admitted the 40th anniversary tour was her first.

“I’ve always been at work or at meetings and never took the day off,” said Donna German, who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years.

“Plus I was afraid I would go home and not like my house very much,” she joked.

“I have a lot at Lake LBJ that I hope to build on one day, so this is a chance to get some ideas – small things you can do to make a house unique and special. Much of what I’m seeing is practical, like the pull-out step in the upstairs children’s room [at the Vintage Oaks house] which may come in handy for future grandchildren. Little ones could use it to brush their teeth or reach something on a shelf. It’s an easy design element to incorporate, and you just don’t think about those things.”

Not everything about the fundraiser, though, was practical, German said.

“What it’s really about is the community and seeing people I haven’t seen in forever.”

Katrina Collins, new principal at Skyview Elementary, was participating as a waiter for the first time. In 2014, LH-area principals began serving alongside league members’ husbands, delivering lunch plates and refilling tea glasses. Their tips are added to the fundraiser’s total, which goes to college scholarships for LHHS seniors, neighborhood schools and community projects.

“Today, for me, is special, because we’ve been a recipient of the LHWL grant,” said Collins. “Any chance I have to serve, I could not miss this opportunity.”

If you missed your chance to give, it’s not too late. You may donate here. Proceeds will go to scholarships for LHHS seniors, LH-area schools and community projects.

Circa Walker, Julie Cone and Donna German at the Vintage Oaks house

Lee Walker, Lori Burns, Kathy Mendias, Katrina Collins, Melissa Hood, Sandra Shepherd and Deah McCoy at the home tour luncheon