Mary Alice, a Chartwells employee recently featured in #PeayPix, has had a vibrant past before coming to Clarksville, Tenn. and working at APSU’s Peay Pod. She and her husband moved to Clarksville after her stepson, who was in the 101st Airborne, was deployed, leaving his wife at home with two young children to care for.

Prior to living in Clarksville, Alice was a Rotary Exchange student in Western Australia, earned a degree in archeology and built a boat with her husband and sailed around the Bay Area.

Alice met her husband, a boat builder by trade, in 1987, at which point he was already building what would become their boat.

For the next 15 years they worked on building it together at a stop-and-go pace, Alice said. They lived in Carson City, Nev., but moved to northern California to live in a boatyard after the boat, a two-person catamaran, was complete. Alice and her husband lived together on their boat for about three years. “[Living on the boat] was cramped, damp but we were prepared for it because we lived in a 21-foot travel traile,” Alice said.

She and her husband had plans to sail away, she said, back in July 2001 after the boat was finished.

Two months later they reconsidered. “We didn’t want to go where people didn’t want us to be,” Alice said. Shortly after, they relocated to Clarksville and discovered the Gulf Coast.

Friends from the boatyard did complete their boats and set sail. Some marriages fell apart, said Alice.

“A lot of marriages [end] in Hawaii. They leave the West Coast and when they get to Hawaii they’re like, ‘I’m over you.’”

Living in a two-story home has been a little different for Alice and her husband.

She said in California, she would have never bought a home, and now in Clarksville, they own a two-story home and don’t use the second floor. “When ‘Tiny House Nation’ comes on, I think, ‘I could build a little house and live on the Gulf,’” Alice said. TAS