Ray and Dorothy built their home in Parkrose Heights in 1957.  According to county records the house was built in 1958 but Ray insists, and I will not argue, the house was built in the fall of 1957.  The homes around them all sprung up about the same time.  This was the birth of Parkrose Heights.  Ray and Dorothy took a lot of pride in their new home.  It was here they raised their children, Julie and Dale, where they took shelter, celebrated birthdays, ate, slept, and loved each other. 

We share an interesting history, Ray and I.

When Ray’s son Dale married my aunt Merry, I was the flower girl in the wedding.  Dale and Merry’s first home was in Cully.  Twenty years later, and several owners in-between, that was my first home, by total coincidence. During the time his son and daughter-in-law owned the house Ray helped put a lot of sweat equity into that home.  When my partner & I took possession of the home, Ray’s mark was still there.  The security lighting he had installed, the brickwork, the cabinetry, all still there.  But by then Dale and Merry were divorced and I had not seen Dale in years.

In 2010 Dale tracked me down and asked me to come take a look at his parents’ house.  They were moving into assisted living and needed to sell their home.  It was nice to see my uncle and his parents again, after all those years.  They are sweet, modest and hard-working, salt of the earth types.  Though not related by blood, I felt a need to do all I could to help them sell.  Dale took the lead in working with me on prepping the house, paperwork and negotiations, on behalf of his parents.  We strategized pricing and marketing together. 

Deeply affected by surrounding foreclosures, short sales, and a serious buyer’s market, it took awhile to sell.  The buyer of this home got a great deal!  As time passes she will realize that Ray and Dorothy didn’t take any shortcuts.  Everything they put into their home was with an eye towards quality and with loving care.  This home is not the Taj Mahal but it was everything to them.

In the year since the house was put on the market, so much has changed.  Dorothy passed away last December.  Then, very unexpectedly, Dale passed away in February.  It was up to Ray to take over the job his son had started.   If you don’t think real estate is emotional, think again. 

Together, Ray and I have spent many months forming a new friendship and a working relationship.  I worried about his cross-country travels over the summer.  He turned 90 in September.  We ate strawberry ice cream together.  We reminisced.  We plotted the sale of his home.  And now it has sold.  And if you think I can just walk away, think again.  He has gotten under my skin.  I care for this guy. 

In the spring, when I was weeding the flower beds at Ray’s house, I was reminded of the work he had done on my first house.  I was finally able to return the favor.

 Life is circular like that.    

This is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy and Dale Stark, may they rest in peace.

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