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The Miracle House An unplanned life journey brought the Tucker family home to a different Eden By Ashley Wahl • Photographs by Rick Ricozzi


nce upon a time in Eden, on a lush 65-acre lot not far from the Dan River, a roofing contractor and the daughter of a fourth generation farmer decided to start a family. Liz was born in August 1985, hottest day of the year. Callie came in February 1989, on the coldest. “Total opposites,” says Susan Tucker of her daughters. But both love to travel. Since Tommy was a licensed pilot and Susan was an elementary school teacher, summers were always a time of adventure for the Tucker family. One destination continued to draw them year after year: Ocean Isle Beach. The summer Liz would turn 4, the Tuckers bought a vacation home on one of the canals on Ocean Isle. The girls thought it was the most magical place on Earth — a place they could swim, fish, crab, take boat rides, sprawl on the dock and soak up the sun. When they were old enough, says Susan, “they could take the golf cart by themselves to get ice cream, ride the water slide, play Putt-Putt and play games at the pier.” Home was Eden, but the Atlantic Ocean was like tonic to the soul, especially 58

Salt • March 2015

for Liz, a true babe of summer who loved to sit in the front of the helicopter with Tommy and point out familiar landmarks as they left Rockingham County and approached their coastal hideaway. As it would turn out, when Tommy and Susan were closing on that beloved coastal hideaway, a patio home in Landfall was still gleaming from its first coat of paint. And while that house would mean nothing to the Tucker family for more than 20 years — they did not even know it was here — it would ultimately become their harbor when the tides of life required them to re-navigate. The Tuckers sold their Ocean Isle home when summer jobs kept the girls tethered close to home. “Liz was a waitress at a local seafood restaurant, and Callie was a lifeguard,” says Susan. “We just didn’t have a chance to go as often as before.” But Liz found her way back to the beach by enrolling at UNCW as a finance major. After graduating with honors in December 2006, she enrolled at ECU to pursue a master’s in speech language pathology. UNCW did not offer the program. “She planned to live in Wilmington after she graduated and work there as a The Art & Soul of Wilmington

Profile for Salt

March Salt 2015  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

March Salt 2015  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington