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Retired teacher, 75, leads SW Houston neighbors to smile with yellow brick road

"I have gotten to know so many neighbors," Donna Grimes said. "Many people have stopped and knocked on my door and said your place brings us such happiness."

HOUSTON — Once upon a time, neighbors in the Willowbend neighborhood in southwest Houston came across a golden home. The fairy godmother, who lived there, used a colorful wand to turn sadness into sunshine.

Donna Grimes technically isn't made of magic, but the retired English teacher's artwork really is something special.

"And I know that kids were doing chalk on their sidewalks and stuff," said Grimes of the creative craft projects people are doing during the pandemic. "But I thought, I am not going to work that hard in order to have the first rain wash it away. So I did it then in acrylic paints."

She painted a yellow brick road up and down her driveway, on her knees, for a couple of weeks, at the age of 75. 

"I have gotten to know so many neighbors and so many people have just stopped and driven by and knocked on my door and said, your place brings us such happiness," said Grimes. "And then they kept giving me suggestions. You need to have this. You need to have that."

She added a lollipop kid, the cowardly lion, scarecrow and tin man. She painted Emerald City and painted a rainbow and tornado. She included Dorothy and added red glitter to make her ruby red slippers pop. 

"Of course you have to have the witch. So I put her in with her flying monkeys," Grimes said. "We want to see this coronavirus melting."

Everything we need to get through this is within us.

"And I think we’re going to see a lot of appreciation for the things we have," Grimes said. Like home and the heroes who live next door.

A big thanks to Lauri Leonard for sharing this story idea with us on Nextdoor. To connect with KHOU 11 News Reporter Melissa Correa on Nextdoor, click here. 

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