Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Blog from Alice Kalso

Posted: 08 Aug 2011 09:07 PM PDT

It's a common tug of war. Your elderly mom wants to say goodbye to the big house, leaving the driving, shopping, cooking and cleaning behind. Retirement living sounds like a dream come true.

"No way," counters Dad. In his eyes, the house in which they raised you, cared for your pets and babysat your children is fine forever.

Like many men in the Greatest Generation, your dad may resist moving to a retirement community (or getting in-home help). Here's why:

HE ALREADY LIVES AT HOME IN A "RETIREMENT COMMUNITY." It has one employee--your mom--who provides everything. He forgets that when he stopped working in his sixties, his wife didn't. Like the EverReady battery, she kept going and going--cooking, cleaning and tending to his needs. Now, years later, she's spent. But he may not see this.

HE MAY THINK RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES AREN'T FOR 'REAL MEN.' If he enjoys gardening, woodworking or puttering, he may wonder, 'How will I continue to keep busy?' Another question: "How many men live in retirement communities?" The big question is "What will I do with my time?" He may not realize that many retirement communities do offer woodshops, gardening areas and poker clubs. Another option: he can continue to help you with your home projects, as he is willing and able.

HE MAY NOT SEE THE BIG PICTURE. Statistically, chances are good your mom will outlive your dad. He may not want to think about the difficulties she might face in moving to a community by herself, especially in the face of grief: the choice of community, home sale process, downsizing, moving, and establishing friendships. If the couple moves together to a retirement community, later adjustment is made simpler.

So how do you help your parents in making a decision when both are at loggerheads? Although ultimately the "To Move or Not To Move" question is theirs to resolve, you certainly can offer your listening ear and even your opinion, especially if one person doesn't seem to be heard.

Have any of you faced this dilemma, either with your parents or your clients? Tell us about it.


Monday, April 16, 2012


At the turn of the twentieth century the North Pacific forests brought lumber mills to external waterways. The logs were floated down rivers and sloughs, tied together to form vast rafts. One of these mills was in established in 1903 in Mukilteo. The next year a mercantile company began to sell supplies to the men who came to work in the mill.

In the early 1900s many Japanese men came to Mukilteo, Washington to work for a large lumber mill, the Crown Lumber Company. Their families followed and a lived in company housing set up in a gulch twenty minutes walk from the mill. Locals referred to it as Japanese Gulch.

With Whidbey Island protecting Gardner Bay from the west and Camano Island to the north, Everett built inland where the logs floated down Snohomish County waterways. Workers resented the cheap Japanese labor and attempted to drive them out. They succeeded in other towns in the County. Only Mukilteo residents developed relationships with the families and supported their presence. School children learned and played together. A strong social fabric was woven through their differences and similarities.

When the Crown Lumber Company closed in 1930, many families moved on to find work elsewhere. Most of the Japanese also moved taking with them fond memories of a camp called Mukilteo.