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In the spring of 1984 Joan and I decided to leave Sacramento. I had retired from Aerojet (although I continued to do consulting work) and we were ready to relocate. We had always lived where my job brought me. That was no longer necessary. We talked of moving back to Wisconsin but decided to spend some time, a few years perhaps, trying some new locations. Joan ruled out big cities; I like big cities. We compromised, decided to seek a little city not too far from a big city. Lots of flexibility there.

Before putting our house up for sale, we took an exploratory trip north, not south, because after fifteen years in California’s Central Valley we wanted cooler, more seasonable weather. Wandering through Oregon and Washington, we saw attractive towns but nothing said “just right.” Then, thirty miles before you run out of United States, we found Bellingham, Washington. By chance the day was bright and brilliant, one of those days that lift your spirits. We felt that Bellingham just might do for us.

It was the right size, population about 40,000 at the time. Not too far from Seattle, Vancouver, BC and (by ferry) Victoria, BC. The surrounding terrain varies from farm land to rain forest to mountain. Its climate, conditioned by Puget Sound, promised to be cooler and wetter than Sacramento. We returned to Sacramento to prepare for our first big step into retirement.