Let’s face it. Ten years ago when I convinced my husband to move to Snoqualmie, we weren’t buying a house for nearby amenities. At the time, the closest grocery store (3-4 miles away) was the little Snoqualmie Market, which half the time didn’t have what you needed. The Ridge had no restaurants, no library, no school, no gas station. In short, our neighborhood was simply a plan on paper. We bought into its vision.
Snoqualmie only had about 2,500 residents when we showed up. I didn’t do all the research I could’ve done. On moving day I was 8 months pregnant, a little fat and completely exhausted. I called Sahara Pizza hoping they delivered up the hill; assuming they wouldn’t. When they said yes I almost cried – from hunger and hormones.
Those were the days when your dinner could fall apart from one missing ingredient unless your neighbor had it. And you had to know your neighbors. Everyone moved in at the same time on our street. We looked out for each other. A friend from Seattle visited one day and I remember him looking outside that summer afternoon, at the kids playing in the street and parents socializing alongside them. He remarked, “You guys bought a house in the fifties.” I think about that now – and how the vision we bought into has slowly materialized over the past 10 years.
On Saturday we had a day of baseball meetings followed by a birthday dinner with friends. Every bit of that busy day took place in a half mile radius. The baseball meeting was at the local library. Parents gathered at Finaghty’s while waiting for their boys in that meeting. The team dinner was at Ana’s Mexican Restaurant. Kids were quickly run home. The birthday celebration was at Uncorked Wine Bar. This past Saturday I lived my lazy mom Snoqualmie dream. It was a day that didn’t involve me driving my old Suburban all over the valley. Don’t get me wrong. I love this valley, but I do get tired of driving everywhere. Saturday, though, the vision we bought into 10 years ago was lived out. All of our plans happened in our own neighborhood; the old car got a little rest.
The last missing part of the Snoqualmie Ridge vision we bought into opened last week – The Snoqualmie Valley Y / Community Center. I keep saying this, but I still can’t believe it actually happened. It’s been a hot-button Snoqualmie topic for so long that part of me assumed it would just be argued about and voted on until the end of time – never built. But it’s here, and for our family it is a community center. We spent many evenings there last week. I am doing a class with my daughter tonight. Neighbors show up for pick up volleyball. The kids play dodgeball. We are out of our house during the long winter evenings. We’re seeing friends and old neighbors more. My husband feels like a part of the community that I spend most days enjoying while he commutes out of Snoqualmie for work.
We moved here when my oldest child was six. She is now almost 17. I moved here thinking a community center was a done deal. Built while she was in elementary school. Wrong. She never got to do those dance and swim classes I dreamed about her doing in the building. But she’s still there, sitting behind the front desk welcoming others to the new facility with her beautiful smile. It’s not exactly what I envisioned a community center would be for her, but things change; sometimes taking longer than planned. The little girl I thought would learn to dance there is instead a teenager working and learning adult responsibility there.
So to all you newer Snoqualmie residents, you’ve got it pretty good. Remember, some of us were here when there were just houses and nothing else; spending our days driving everywhere for everything. We still may not have everything right in the neighbhorhood, but what’s here is appreciated by this writer. Yes, I still drive to North Bend everyday. Snoqualmie’s growing pains sent us to North Bend Elementary for school. It’s not convenient, but it’s life. I’ve learned to appreciate how it connects us to the rest of the Valley. For that I am grateful.
We may not attend school in Snoqualmie anymore, but I can still grocery shop, see my doctor, get my coffee and have a date night right in my own neighborhood. Ten years ago that wasn’t a possibility. Patience and silver linings. Par the course for living in Snoqualmie.