High Woodlands Winter Day Poem

Heat escapes our neighbor's chimney
like steam from a teapot,
rising, separating, and blowing away.
Our cul-de-sac is quiet for a moment
this December day.

Black crows flap through
on their breakfast patrol,
hoarding morsels in strong beaks,
playing keep-away with brash brothers.

One hardy robin lingers
in the bare flowering plum tree—
a last bright note.

Suddenly, chickadees swarm
with bursts of tiny wings,
gleaning the branches and twigs—
then with a flash are gone.

Now again, nothing moves
in our window scene—
everything slows
to a sleeping...gray-green...
winter day.

by Lawrence T. Campbell

50 Years in High Woodlands

Gloria Campbell’s Story

In April, I spent an afternoon with Gloria Campbell, who moved to High Woodlands when she was in her mid-30’s. She shared delightful stories and magical memories from her 50 years in this very neighborhood. Gloria and her husband were the 6th family to move into High Woodlands 50 years ago in 1966. The Campbell’s home was the 9th house to be built in the entire neighborhood! Gloria shared that, at the time, there was a movement to buy a home and live on the Eastside with Boeing exploding, so she and her husband packed up in Seattle where her husband, Larry, managed a furniture store, and moved into High Woodlands.

High Woodlands was just being established and there wasn’t much around but more trees, a few houses, a stream down the hill, and some roads. Kingsgate Safeway and library were not present, so Gloria and her family did shopping and entertainment at Juanita Safeway and Totem Lake Mall. No schools or school bus system infrastructure were in place in the neighborhood and were built up around the houses as the neighborhood grew. Our cherished neighborhood park and pool were not established when Gloria and her family arrived either.

However, Gloria noted other treasures were common in the neighborhood, even if there wasn’t a school, Safeway, or swimming pool. Gloria shared there was simply “more community” in High Woodlands at its inception. Neighbors had more regular contact with each other. In Gloria’s “active cul-de-sac” section of High Woodlands, neighbors would put on neighborhood picnics for those nearby, particularly on the 4th of July. Kids would visit Gloria’s yard to play in the treehouse or shoot hoops in her and Larry’s driveway. The Campbells set up a skate ramp, Gloria offered piano lessons for neighborhood children, and the High Woodlands kids ran freely through one another’s backyards as there were no fences built around each house.

Gloria helped to pioneer such activities as starting the Home Owner’s Association and even hosted the first HOA meeting in her own living room! For neighborhood communication, Gloria began writing the newsletter that we still see today almost monthly.

Gloria explained when she and her family first moved to High Woodlands there was “more of a community spirit” and “everything was new and we had to help each other.” However, over the years there was a “change in the sense of community.” More recently, Gloria is seeing another change—people beginning to be more connected and coming back to their sense of neighboring.

In 2012, Larry passed away. Gloria remains active in the community. Over the years, she was connected with city and chamber of commerce work, hosted a Sunday writer’s group, taught at the University of Washington and Bellevue College, and did music with her husband. Now, she teaches memoir writing classes at the Northshore Senior Center and hopes to start classes at the remodeled Kingsgate Library. Gloria has 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren, referring to herself as being on the “4th floor” or fourth generation.

We’re so glad Gloria has been and continues to be such a vital and invested part of this neighborhood’s past history, present life, and the future to come in High Woodlands. Thanks for sharing, Gloria!

High Woodlands