You can feel it in the air, in the water, anywhere in Arkansas, but especially in Hot Springs. Sylvia Dickey Smith and her husband Bill were drawn to the energy of Hot Springs and recently moved there, selling their home in Georgetown, Texas.

Smith is the author of the popular Sidra Smart Mystery Series that is based in Orange. She also penned the equally well received historical novel, “A War of Her Own.” It is set in the World War II era of the booming shipbuilding industry which burst the seams of the city of Orange with a population of over 70,000 almost overnight.

Smith connected with Orange native Fletcher Cockrell on Facebook. . He was a year ahead of Sylvia’s sister, Glenda Dickey, at Stark High.

Many may remember he had a hair salon called “Fletcher’s” in Orange for many years. When he moved to Hot Springs Village over 20 years ago, He reopened “Fletcher’s” in the village. He has since retired.

When Smith indicated she was possibly looking to relocate somewhere to be more centrally located to her children and grandchildren, Cockrell told her to come up to Hot Springs Village where he now lives with his wife Linda.

“You’ll love it,” he said.

“When we got to Hot Springs, you could feel all the positive energy,” said Smith. “We looked at each other and said this is it.”

Cockrell showed them around the town. Smith had lunch with her high school home economics teacher, Jean Marshall, who just happens to be Linda Cockrell’s mother and lived just down the road in Hot Springs Village.

They found a house they loved and went home to Georgetown to sell their condo. It only took six months which was pretty good for a condo in an age restricted community.

The Smiths wondered if Arkansas was going to feel the same way when they came back. As they neared the area, those positive energies engulfed them once again.

When they came returned, the house they fell in love with had been sold. They didn’t find another one they liked in Hot Springs Village, which happens to be the largest gated community in the United States. They looked for another home to purchase outside the village.

“We looked at this one, but felt it was too dark and didn’t care for the green,” said Smith. But the house started pulling her. “I told Bill, I think we need to go back and look at it again.” Bill agreed.

When she walked in the second time and looked at the kitchen, she said “This is it.”

They have been in their new home located in Hot Springs National Park six weeks.

Arkansas is the world capital for quartz crystal mining. Hot Springs also has natural hot mineral springs that were thought to have healing properties. The combination of the two, quartz crystals and natural mineral springs gives the area an energetic feel that is foreign to most other places on the planet.

Bath houses are a large part of Hot Springs history, as people would come from all over the world to bathe in the naturally hot springs. There are also fountains in several areas of the city where you can fill jugs with the special water at no charge.

The Smiths went digging for crystals for the first time this week and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“The first cool spell, I’m going back,” said Smith. She plans to bring her grandchildren when they come to visit.

Hot Springs also has a rich history of gambling and gangsters which adds to the intrigue. Native Americans called it the “Valley of the Vapors” and declared it a place of peace. Warring tribes would not fight here.

No doubt the uniqueness and energy of Hot Springs will add its own flavor to Smith’s writing.

Smith says this will be their last move. They are home.

Sylvia Dickey Smith and husband Bill are enjoying their new home in Hot Springs National Park, Ark. The couple moved to the area from Georgetown six weeks ago. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux.


About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.