I like to think we’re not “just another one of those California couples” moving up to Washington. I was born at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, so that makes me a native, right? When my wife, Sheryl, and I made the decision to move to Washington, to my mind, we were moving home. Despite that feeling, we had concerns. I was offered a tenure-track teaching position at Tacoma Community College and my wife is a retired professor and department chair. We had worked and waited a long time for an opportunity to move to Washington, but a move several states away to a place where we literally knew nobody was still daunting.
To make sure we’d made the right choice, we chose to rent for a year in Tacoma before purchasing out here on the KP, but that was the goal all along; so much so that every service we found (doctors, dentists, vet) were all out here. All we needed was a home.
After months of searching, we found it—our home in Home, a town we didn’t even know existed. From the very first moment we stepped onto the porch, however, we knew this place was it. Minutes into our tour, we walked outside and headed down to the water, where we met our first soon-to-be neighbor, Cathy. We exchanged the usual greetings and went on our way, but even that meeting helped us decide. The closing process was lengthy, several months at the end of summer.
On our second visit out, we exchanged contact information with Cathy and her husband, Ted, and two weeks into the closing process, they reached out and said, “If you drop off a hose, we’ll try to save your little trees.”
Really? Who does that?
This led to more emails, more chats, more visits to our “almost-home.” When the process dragged, these wonderful new neighbors offered space in their home for us along with our two dogs, “just in case.” I couldn’t believe it. Even before we moved in, we had two good friends.
Then came Thanksgiving. We knew we’d not be able to head south for the holiday, since I, the professor, did not have much time free. So, we planned to just have a quiet meal together. This was not to be. A friend of mine had recently moved away from Tacoma, but she had two good friends here on the KP. Unbeknownst to us, we’d purchased a home not nine minutes from these two amazing women. While the two new friends would be gone for the holiday, that didn’t stop them from making sure we were included in a neighborhood potluck. Our circle of friends went from two to 20 in the space of a few days. And it’s only grown from there. Those new friends brought us into the Longbranch Improvement Club, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Everywhere I go, when I mention I now live in Home, the response varies from, “Oh, a retired professor from TCC lives there,” to “Oh! We live there, too!” In fact, one of the firefighters I met and interviewed for the article on the Key Peninsula Fire Department in this edition (see page 9) not only lives in Home, but on my street. From the small market at the end of A Street where the clerk always smiles and tells me to be careful on my ride home; to the men and women walking dogs and not minding our galumphing Murphy as he runs out to say hello; to Jim, the semi-retired electrician who has walked me through the ins-and-outs of connecting a generator to the house; and to the quilting group who has welcomed Sheryl as if she were a friend just back from a long trip; to our first friends in the neighborhood, Ted and Cathy, who made us feel at home long before Home was, well, “home”— we’d like to thank you.
I think we’re going to be just fine here.
Polly Robinson teaches communication studies at TCC. She lives in Home.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS