Steffi in Seattle
Steffi in Seattle? Seattle Steffi? I don’t know what else to call this. Kind of has a ring to it, don’t you think?
Being upfront here. I’m not from Seattle. Like many Seattleites I’m from somewhere else. An uprooted transplant. I was born and lived in Portland, Oregon until I was 12. Then we headed north to Seattle for…more money according to mom and dad. The Seattle move was not the happiest time of my life, to say the least. I hated leaving Portland. Why not? I was born there and all my friends were there. Who likes being told at 12 “we are moving and you have no say in it.” That being said, Seattle in the early 90’s was the center of grunge and I fell right into it. I rebelled and my parents just shook their heads and wondered what happened to their poor, innocent Stephanie.
Brad, my late husband, was also from Portland – 2 Peas in a Portland Pod. Brad moved here with his mom and brother Joe when he was little. Brad loved Seattle. It was definitely his hometown. A couple of times we had the chance to move to Silicon Valley (for more money) but opted for Emerald City (not the Wizard of Oz, the big city in the great wooded and wet northwest, ha ha). Our fabulous and wonderful twins, Jason and Chelsea, were born and raised here and wouldn’t live anywhere else. Except now they are off on the east coast at college (but still wear their Seahawks and Sounders t-shirts proudly around Annapolis and Charlottesville).
Love the weather here. I know. Most outsiders hear nothing but rain and more rain. Not true. More of a misty, wet climate. Rains on and off but not the big monsoons you imagine. Sure, it’s cloudy but when the sun comes out and everyone runs outside to soak up the rays it’s the best kept secret on earth. Spectacular Seattle. Jaw-dropping gorgeous surroundings – Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, Lake Washington, a sailor and hiker’s paradise. Love at first sight kind of nature sights. Did I mention the coffee? Nothing like a good Cup of Joe to warm you up when it gets too damp (I prefer my teas but love a good brew too).
I live in Ballard. Cool and funky neighborhood. My parents live across town in Laurelhurst. In the old family home where I rebelled. I know what you are thinking. Rich girl goes slumming, right? It was not the happiest time for me, growing up in Laurelhurst. Too much pressure to perform. For most people it would be a dream come true but for me, well, I was very different. Dad the lawyer in his downtown practice, mom the doctor at U of Washington. My big brothers excelling in school, getting full athletic scholarship rides to the Ivy League. Then there was me. Barely got through high school, more interested in the extra-curricular activities outside of school. The person least likely to succeed at anything academic. Partied a lot with “the wrong crowd,” did what I pleased, rebel girl with all kinds of causes.
Surprised them all, of course. Fell madly in love at 19 with Brad the techie entrepreneur who dreamed the American Dream every night. So opposite but our opposites made each other whole. We started with nothing but dreams of love, family and hope. Moved around Seattle a lot. Worked out of damp, wet basements in old rented houses. Jobs/Wozniak in Seattle type of story, except it was Brad/Steffi in Seattle. Not as big as Apple but we did good. Didn’t exactly make mom and dad proud (software is not law or medicine, don’t you know) but certainly surprised them especially when the money poured in. The kids made it all happen for them, of course. Jason and Chelsea were their shining jewels. Still are. We were the lost, struggling “what are you doing with your lives?” parents to their perfect and precious grand-kids.
When the money came, life changed. Brad wanted much more than what he grew up with (absent father, poor single mom struggling to raise two little boys). Brad wanted the biggest slice of the American apple pie possible. With help from mom and dad, we put a big down-payment on a nice house in Madrona. Ya, I know. What a spot. Gorgeous neighborhood, perfect place to raise children, all the bells and whistles and then some. I admit it was comfy all right. Brad loved it because it was everything he dreamed his life would be. Until he passed away way too young to enjoy it. Life is not fair, you know. Everything was perfect, almost too good, and then sha-zam. It all comes crashing down around ya. Standing in rubble and dust, tears pouring down you face, wondering what happened and why.
Still, it could have been worse. Hey, I was in Seattle. The greenest, prettiest, bestest place in the whole USA. My beautiful darlings had flown the coop so I had to do something. Life goes on, right? Couldn’t stay in the big, old house in Madrona and cry every night over Brad. I decided it was best to pack up and move on. Somewhere different but not too different. Not back to Portland (thought about it for a bit but decided Seattle was home) so I moved across town to Ballard. A good move. Love it here. More my style now I’m…well, more of that later. Got casual work at a wine store in the neighborhood. Learned all about wine putting on parties and events for Brad’s customers. Brad left me in a good spot. No money worries as long as I don’t go crazy. The kids are taken care of, mom and dad pitch in once in a while. Now it’s mostly me to look after. Steffi in Seattle.