Leaving Spokane was just too tough, so Cheri and Gary Reed decided to stay.
“The girls had been after us for years hoping we’d move over here,” says Cheri, adding that returning to the couple’s home in Toledo, Wash., grew harder each time they visited their two grown daughters and their families. “I’d cry all the way to the freeway.”
The Reeds decided it was a sign when the sale of the house next door to one daughter fell through for the second time. “If we were going to think about doing anything, we were going to have to do it,” Cheri says.
So the couple bought the house in January 2005 and moved that May.
The couple’s two daughters moved to Spokane in the ‘90s, and the region grew more attractive each time she and Gary visited, Cheri says.
“I can get to the grocery store or Costco in five minutes,” Cheri says, adding the couple lived in a rural area outside Toledo, so a short trip took 25 minutes.
The move also meant Gary, who has chronic lymphocetic leukemia, spent less time driving to doctors.
“We traveled two hours to Seattle,” Cheri says. “Now it’s 15 minutes.”
Gary says he loves the convenience and the weather. “There’s a lot less rain,” he says. “The winters are colder, but they’re brighter.”
Location was everything when they chose their house, Cheri says. The 4,300-square foot, five-bedroom North Spokane home is a “lot of house for the two of us to ramble around” but having two grandchildren next door is invaluable.
“It’s bigger than we need,” says Gary, who retired as facilities manager for Lewis County.
“But I do love it when those little ones come to the door,” says Cheri, who worked in elderly services for Lewis County. She added that her daughter always calls ahead to make sure the kids aren’t interrupting grandma and grandpa. “We respect each other’s space.”
Shortly after moving, Cheri began volunteering at her grandson’s grade school, Pasadena Park Elementary. Now she runs the school’s reading incentive program, which awards students points for reading. She made herself a book costume, which she wears into the classroom.
“I say, ‘What’s my name?’ And all these little kids say, “Mrs. Reed,’ ” Cheri says. “I feel like I’ve been here forever.”
Gary says he has spent a lot of time doing home repair and fixing up the yard left untended for two years while the house was vacant. He looks forward to taking his grandchildren fishing. And his 12-year-old grandson, who lives in Liberty Lake, is nearly old enough to start golfing.
“We’re really happy with this stage of our life,” Gary says.
Cheri says that now that she lives near her daughters, she can enjoy the holidays without fretting about the weather. “I used to nervously wait for the kids to get over the pass,” she says. “Now I don’t have to worry.”
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