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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Love Story: Kim and Chuck Howard found each other on a mundane trip to the thrift store

Kim and Chuck Howard are photographed Jan. 26 in the book section at the Goodwill store in Spokane Valley where they met in 2014.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
By Alison Highberger

By Alison Highberger

Spokane Valley residents Kim and Chuck Howard “met cute” in the unlikeliest of places: the used book aisle of the Goodwill Store on East Sprague Avenue.

Both were divorced and neither were looking for love. They feel like fate – and maybe a little something else – put them together on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Chuck, now 62, was looking for Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” books for his daughter. He thinks that might have been the first time he ever stopped in that Goodwill store.

Kim, now 56, had just been out for breakfast with her daughter, and was driving by Goodwill when she all of a sudden had an urge to stop in. She’d once found a purse there she liked and hoped to find another one.

“I didn’t find a purse, and I always stop by the books, so I went there next and was flipping through a travel book about the Big Island of Hawaii,” Kim said.

“A guy came up behind me and asked me, ‘Have you seen any Stephen King books?’ ” Kim said.

“That’s my best pickup line ever,” Chuck said as he recounted the meeting.

“Chuck looked at the book I was holding and said, ‘There’s a really great golf course over there,’” Kim recalled.

And then they were off! Chatting about a wide variety of things: Hawaii, Bigfoot, ancient alien theories, religion. It went on for over an hour, flowing easily from topic to topic.

“I never met someone with so many opinions on religion like me,” Kim said. “I remember feeling comfortable just being me. Chuck is funny. We had fun chatting.”

“Conversation is a two-way street,” Chuck said. “You’ve gotta have an interesting person to have an interesting conversation. The attraction was her intellect and wit, and the laughter on our first meeting. I enjoyed being around her. I found that very attractive.”

They headed to the cash registers together, and Kim was thinking she really enjoyed talking to this guy didn’t want him to walk out of her life never to be seen again. They didn’t know each other’s names yet.

“I noticed he didn’t have a ring on, so I said, ‘Want to have coffee sometime?’ He gave me his card. After I got home, I texted him and said, ‘This is Kim. It was really nice meeting you.’ He texted me back and the rest is history,” she said.

They set up a date to meet a couple days later after work at the Sports Page bar near where Kim was in beauty school at Paul Mitchell. She brought a girlfriend along since she couldn’t really remember what Chuck looked like –blond, white, grey hair? Glasses?

“It was our talking and all the things in common that were so attractive to me,” she recalled.

She spotted him in the bar right away, and after about five minutes, Kim’s friend said, “You guys are good,” and left. Chuck and Kim stayed for an hour or so, talking as easily as before. Two weeks later, after a few more dates, Kim invited Chuck to join her in Montana for a Fourth of July camping weekend.

“My mother was appalled! She said, ‘What if he’s a serial killer?’ But we had a great time, and he moved into my place in October, since his apartment lease was up and we were going strong,” Kim said. On the 14th of every month, Chuck brought Kim a gift – flowers, candy, something to commemorate their special day.

They got married on that same day three years later – June 14, 2017 –at the Hitchin’ Post. (They thought it’d be fun to get married in the Goodwill, but figured the logistics would be difficult.) They’ll celebrate their seventh anniversary this June and have been together nine years.

He’s the Technology and Operations Supervisor at KREM, and she’s an Activities Assistant at Broadway Court Estates.

While still amazed that they found each other in such a random way, Kim thinks they were destined to meet.

“I think we had some family members who’ve passed away who were watching out for us. His parents were Chuck and Betty, and my grandparents were Chuck and Betty. We both have brothers named Craig and uncles named Paul. We’ve both had dogs named Dante in our lives. Who has a dog named Dante? Some crazy-weird coincidences,” she said.

“One time, early on, I asked Chuck what he was doing, and he said ‘Nuttin’, honey,’ like that old cereal commercial. I was shocked and said, ‘Do you say that often?’ And he said, ‘I’ve never said that before.’ I told him my grandpa Chuck said that ALL the time.’ Chuck said ‘Whoa!’ and to this day I think his mom, Betty, and my grandpa Chuck had something to do with us getting together,” Kim said.

These days, Kim and Chuck describe themselves as “homebodies,” but they still like camping and travel. They enjoy football (the Cowboys for Chuck, the Bills for Kim), watching TV programs about Bigfoot, aliens – “quirky stuff,” Chuck said, and they share an interest in history, especially WWII. A trip to France to follow the “Band of Brothers” 101st Airborne Division route is in the planning stages.

The gift on the 14th of every month stopped after they got married, but Kim’s OK with that.

“It’s amazing we found each other. It was like a part of me was missing, and, when I met him, that was the part. At least I knew from the start that he was frugal, since I met him at Goodwill!” Kim said.

“She did lie about one thing. She finds me incredibly handsome – she did from the very start,” Chuck said.