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It’s a gnome’s life

Whimsical garden statues provide commentary on Highland Springs happenings

Created date

June 25th, 2013

Bill Dorn was quick to correct an oversight when he moved to Highland Springs in 2009 with his wife Mary and dog Ginger. Several albums in the living room of the Hillcrest Clubhouse contained residents photographs and biographies, says Bill. The albums were a great resource to get to know other residents, but there wasn t anything to introduce new dogs to the community. Bill used the shelf outside his apartment as a platform to remedy the situation. I put a picture frame on the shelf, says Bill. Each time a new dog moved to the community, I created a picture on my computer of Ginger introducing the new dog. The idea caught on, and soon I was using Photoshop to create pictures of Ginger making comments about various goings-on at Highland Springs. Ginger s commentary ranged from the serious to the tongue-in-cheek. She noted community milestones like the construction of the continuing care neighborhood and the introduction of flexible dining options. She also showed up in unlikely places, like the Dorns wedding photo, thanks to the magic of Photoshop. When Ginger passed away in late 2011, the frame sat empty for a while. A number of residents indicated that they missed Ginger s musings, says Bill. I came up with the idea of using gnomes to take up the commentary.

Something to talk about

The gnomes have been popping up around the community for just over a year, and Bill already has a thick file of gnome commentaries. I typically change the picture in the frame once a week, sometimes more often if there s a holiday or important event coming up, says Bill. I take a picture of my subject matter or find one on the Internet, then superimpose the gnomes using Photoshop. In recent months, the gnomes have been spotted lounging by the Highland Springs indoor swimming pool, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and taking pictures in the bluebonnets. It s not hard to come up with ideas, says Bill. There s always something going on at Highland Springs or in the Dallas area that s worth mentioning.

Baltimore roots, Texas ties

Bill, a retired industrial safety manager, and Mary moved from DeSoto, Tex., to Highland Springs in 2009. My wife and I are originally from Baltimore, says Bill. My parents lived atCharlestown[the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md.], so I m a second generation Erickson Living resident. When I heard the company was building a community in North Dallas, I knew that s where I wanted to move. Although Bill s gnome commentary has a Texas flair, every once in a while, his northeastern roots come through. I created a gnome picture with the state flag of Maryland for Maryland Day, says Bill. Of course, I also had the gnomes celebrating Groundhog Day, except the question was whether or not the armadillo would see his shadow.