Sequim’s World Traveler

Human Interest Stories of Sequim and Port Angeles Residents:  A Continuing Series

Submitted by Felipe Sanchez [1. Felipe is a retired United Airlines Pilot, longtime Sequim resident, and long distance European hiker]


A long-standing friend of mine has invited me to contribute on an irregular basis to this new and innovative e-zine or whatever the more correct term tends to be as of the present.  Therefore, lets roll back the clock, invoke the past, reminisce, and wallow in the bygone doings of an aging beatnik who has lived, somewhat precariously at times, on the periphery of human, not humane, society.

Before I delve into the mnemonic detritus of almost seventy-four years, it might be helpful if you knew a bit about me.  A bit is all that I can offer, for I seem to know only that much about myself, and as a result this may be a wordy voyage of discovery for us both. And, beware! Please take much of what I write with the humor and frivolity with which it is meant. I take a rather iconoclastic view of our world and refuse to invest most of our activities with the seriousness demanded by so many others.  So, shoulder that fardel! Shatter that image! But do so with a serious sense of humor and a wry smile wreathed in dubious belief.  Whew!  I am so relieved to have ended my prelude. Curious contradiction, that.  But, then, life is strewn with such contrasts and made all the more interesting by their presence.  Would that you classify and include my verbosity in like way.

I spent the first four years of my professional life in Manhattan and then seven more in San Francisco.  Time for a change!  So, at the august age of forty-two and in August of 1977, I set about purchasing my first home.  The fame of Sequim’s micro-climate had spread far and wide and I personally had seen the Sequim Doughnut from the air on trips in and out of Seattle and Toronto.  The Peninsula seemed a paradise when compared to the din and dirt and danger of urban life of the seventies.

I contacted a Realtor who later became a friend, and in two days bought a home and five acres from a private party.  Rather than take umbrage, the Realtor philosophically mused that he would profit from our association sometime in the future and he was luxuriously correct.  Although we have not stayed in touch, I recall him with fondness while remembering his admission that my explanation of Sequim’s climate (I described it as orographic lifting) had assisted him in impressing prospective clients interested in settling in our area.

So attractive was the warmth of summer after the frigidity of Frisco Fog that, having signed all the necessary papers, I chose to spend the first night in my home on the deck which limned the west and north of the edifice.  As luck would have it, conditions had been conducive for the propagation of the ubiquitous mosquito that year and after swatting, scratching, swearing, sweating, and squirming for a manly pair of hours, blotched and beaten, I hied into the interior of my newly purchased refuge, breathed relief and tranquility, surrounded by the beauty and security of the valley in which I now abided.

I have lived in this same house off and on until the present.  I say off and on as my life has been, like many, a series of starts and stops, of triumph and tragedy, of trips, turns and trials that form a concatenation begging for and demanding review and remembrance.  At least, I opine that such be the case.  I hope that in some small way I have struck a resonant chord with those of you kind enough to spend these few moments with me as we share and snicker, belabour and berate, tear, smile, and tear from one life-altering event to another.

In this vein I am frequently asked why I waited so long to buy a house.  Statistically, the purchase of a home is the most lucrative and secure investment that the layman can achieve, and I did not “take the plunge until I was well past forty.  The reason, of course, can be descried with brevity:  ignorance (in the classical sense, lack of knowledge, not stupidity) and insecurity. In 1970 while looking at housing options in San Francisco, I can recall being offered a house in the western part of the city for $25,000.  Although financially viable, I responded by claiming that I could not be responsible for such a great debt.  When I decamped seven years later that same building was selling for $100,000.  I should have bought four or more of them but the myopic miasma of my youth did not include an awareness of or an exposure to the most basic tenets of sound financial  planning.

This is an example of my observation that the most necessary information about successful living is not taught in schools nor is it presented in most homes.  I chose not to have a family but if I had followed the pattern and example of most others, I would have counseled my offspring anent the sheer luck of having been born in a society that provided the ability to choose between a series of options.  The wise parent demonstrates to his or her child or children the possibilities and opportunities available in the social and material environment and then permits the maturing mind and heart of the youth to find that to which she can dedicate herself with energy, enthusiasm, and satisfaction.

In poetic terms, I would have liked to discover at an early age a way of life upon which to perish.  However, my parents were not enlightened and they treated me as an extension of their egos rather than a free and distinct being in my own right.  I reached this conclusion as a result of my cogitations after settling in Washington State and struggling toward retirement and a review of what, where, who, why, and when, some of which I shall share with you in future verbal eruptions.

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