Of Cabbages and Kings
Diane and Paul Stevens were married in 1985. Both were busy with jobs. Diane was a special education teacher and Paul worked with his dad at their production machine and sheet metal shop.
They lived in a mobile home court until 1996 and then moved to Cheney. An ordinary family with four young children, they worked hard and life was good.
Then suddenly trouble came crashing into their lives. A ruptured brain aneurysm threatened Paul’s life and sent him by helicopter to specialists. Friends and family helped as Diane, with her ability to organize, stretched a 24-hour day as needed. She said, “In 1999 I went back to teaching.”
But trouble wasn’t finished with the Stevens family. A car crash caused by a careless driver gave Diane neck, back and hip injuries. After 14 months of convalescence Diane was able to teach again. She has continued to teach fourth-grade at Betz Elementary since that time.
Paul has found the ability to enjoy the important things in life. With grandchildren nearby he said, “I taught my grandson to run through a sprinkler. My grandson loves trains. I keep a train car right here by a chair and every time he comes over he goes right to the spot to make sure it’s still there.”
Paul likes to barbecue. He said, “My Greek family has a reunion every two years. I barbecue and they all gather around to visit. Time with family and friends is important. Life is too short. You’ve got to laugh a little bit; put things in perspective.”
Both Diane and Paul enjoy family trips. They also mentioned, “We’re rabid Mariner fans. We record the games.” They set aside time once a year to see the Mariners play in person.
Diane said, “Our daughter Meaghan and her husband Mark Flowers have been foster parents to more than 20 children. Paul and I consider ourselves foster grandparents and enjoy being a part of it.”
Diane likes to work in the garden and her flowerbeds. She has joined a running group. “I run three times a week,” she said, chocking up 600 miles so far.
Meaghan is the oldest daughter She and husband Mark have two children, Zeke is four and Abigail is 2 years old. Diane and Paul’s second daughter, Hannah, at 21, is a recent bride, married to Andy La Bolle. Son Robby at age 20, is in his second year of an honors program at EWU. And Becca, now 18, graduates from Cheney High School and will study nursing at Carrol College in Montana.
There is another member of the family we haven’t mentioned. Her name is Sandy. She was a rather small dog when the Stevens family met her. They said, “The kids performed in ‘Annie’ in a Christian Youth Theatre, play in Spokane.” As Annie’s dog in the play the Stevens kids were concerned that Sandy wouldn’t have a home when the production was over. They convinced mom and dad to take her home. And now at the age of 9, Sandy has been part of their family for years.
Both Diane and Paul tell how people have helped them over the years. Friends get together and have a wood roundup every fall. Their son in law, Mark, does the yearly rototilling. There are many other incidents of helping over time that Diane and Paul are thankful for. Paul said, “Take time with your family and friends. Remember the important stuff and don’t worry about the little things.”
Good advice, Paul, thank you.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.