Home Again | The gift of time in changing times

By Joanne Peterson | Sep 28, 2016

The first childhood home I remember was an old farmhouse near Yakima. My father – who never liked to get his hands dirty – spent several years running the family ranch, driving a tractor through the heat, spraying trees, clearing irrigation ditches and harvesting apricots.

Four years old, I rode in the truck with him when he drove the harvest to the warehouse. My mom tended to her family, grew flowers and canned fruit.

Two years later, my family moved to Lake City, where my dad worked in a Western Auto store. Enough of ranching – he wanted to try retail. My brother and I shared a bedroom in a little house I scarcely remember, sleeping in Army-surplus bunk beds our dad painted blue. Our mom stuck glow-in-the-dark stars on our ceiling.

Our family loved Edmonds the first time we visited here.

Before long, my Dad invested in the local Western Auto, the beginning of decades as an Edmonds business owner in this wonderful community. I was partway through second-grade when we moved to the big white house on the southwest corner of Fourth and Dayton.

The first time our parents showed us the house, my brother Warren and I dashed up the wide stairs to see our bedrooms. I would have my own double bed and flowery wallpaper! Warren would have the blue bunkbeds, with a Lionel train layout in the adjacent attic. It was all too wonderful! My dad built a first-floor apartment for my grandparents, and we six shared great years in that house.

When I was 13 or so, my grandparents retired and moved to Camano Island. My parents sold the big old house and, for a time, we lived in a rented house on Sunset Avenue.

My bedroom overlooked saltwater and railroad tracks. I loved it. I cannot locate that house anymore. I suppose it’s been bulldozed. On a walk, I chatted one day with a Sunset Avenue resident. Sadly, although his charming classic home remains, it’s in the minority.


After our stay on Sunset, my parents bought a two-story 1930s house above Olympic View Drive, where my mother gardened to her heart’s content. I celebrated my 16th birthday there and mastered the steep, twisting driveway before I acquired my driver’s license.

My brother and I graduated from high school during those years. Now our Olympic View Drive home is for sale again. The real estate photos show so much expansion, remodeling and updating that I scarcely can identify it.

It’s beautiful, of course. I recognized it by the brick fireplace at the end of the kitchen! Asking price? $925,000. My mother would faint. I nearly fainted.

I frequently drive past a particular Edmonds home, not large, not fancy. There’s a front yard with one big leafy tree. Almost every day after work, a dad plays there with his three boys – passing a football, kicking a soccer ball, shooting baskets, pitching to a pint-sized batter.

I hope their family stays close and cozy in that little house for a long time. I like watching those boys learn the lesson of love and continuity their dad is teaching them.

The only real extravagance kids need from parents is their gift of time, and that’s what that dad is giving. An extravagant house? Not important.


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