In the fall of 1999 both Sally and I applied for and received sabbatical leaves for the academic year 2000-2001 from our respective institutions to work on a common project, The Nazi Germany Sourcebook, for which we had contracted with Routledge. This was to be an anthology of primary documents, eventually published in 2002. We once again spent the summer of 2000 in Berlin, gathering materials, including photos, for our book.
The book was ready for production in the spring of 2001. Our editor at Routledge, Virginia Peters, was impressed by the book, but she pointed out that it exceeded the length specified in our contract. She gave us a choice: either cut it down to the contracted length or take a cut in royalties to make up for the extra cost of publishing so large a book. To avoid marital discord we chose the latter option. The question of what selections to include in the book had already led to some disagreements, as Sally wanted to include more social history, including women’s history, while I held out for more political history. As a result of our decision to leave the book at its present length, it would be several years before receipts from the sale of the book would be enough to cover our advances and enable us to draw royalty payments.
The contents of the book was not the only source of potential family discord. In the spring of 2001 we decided it might finally be time to leave the suburban “Valley,” where I had lived since 1978, and move into the city to the South Hill, where most of our friends had their homes. There was a particularly beautiful two-story 1937 brick building on a double corner lot at 24th Avenue and Howard Street that struck our fancy.
We wanted to make a contingency bid tying the purchase of the new house to the successful sale of our old one. However, our agent, our friend Bob Gilles, persuaded me that if we were serious about purchasing the new home, we needed to detach our offer from the sale of our old home and make a substantial down payment to demonstrate the seriousness of our intentions. Fearing that we might not be able to sell our Valley home for a reasonable price, Sally was unwilling to take the risk of making an unconditional bid. This led to what possibly was the fiercest spat of our entire married life, reducing our poor nine-year-old son Emmet (who at this point didn’t want to move from his school at Pasadena Park at all) to tears. In my journal I described the incident as follows:
Calling Bob Gilles just to make sure that he did not want to submit the contingency bid for us, which I felt fairly confident he would not want to do, as Deb had told Sally that he was wary of representing friends (understandably preferring to keep personal and business relations apart). Hence the call would not only be a courtesy—to show him that we were prepared to retain him—but would also be useful , as I could also get “disinterested” advice from a friend. My surprise therefore to discover that he was quite eager to do it and in fact offered to come over that night to write the bid up. Not just offered, but insisted. Once here, he persuaded me that a contingency offer was a waste of time that would not enhance our chances of getting the house one iota. If we really wanted the house, we should make a bona fide offer, trusting in our ability to sell our Maringo Drive house. This we were not prepared to do. He must have realized he had been overly aggressive, because a couple of days later, when I called to tell him that we had decided to put in a contingency bid, he unhesitatingly and without objection said he would get right on it.
Later that summer, while we were in Vermont, Sally changed her mind. She agreed that if the house on 24th came on the market again, we should make an unconditional offer despite the risk involved. This was indeed what we did, and the deal was closed in July, 2001. I had recalled that years ago Wayne Andresen, the manager of the Inland Empire paper factory across the river, had spoken of buying up the river property on our side of the river to preempt any move by residents to regulate the factory’s pollution. I called him and was not disappointed. He offered to buy our property for $160,000, the full appraised value, four times the price I had paid in 1978. Bob Gilles helped us through a successful strategy of offers and counteroffers to bargain the 24th Avenue property, originally listed at over$300,000, down to $274,000, a price we were able to pay with only an $80,000 mortgage. In late August 2001 we moved into our new home, where we have lived very happily ever since.
Betsy was our first visitor at our new home in late August, 2001.
The year 2000 was quite eventful for other reasons, too. On May 1st, only a few minutes after midnight, my first grandchild was born. Trina had wanted him to be born on Mayday, the worldwide socialist holiday, knowing that this would give me particular pleasure. He was named Sigugeir (Siggi) in honor of his father Garth Jonson’s Icelandic heritage.
Going back east that summer, we met Wini in Salisbury and Olaf in Boston.
Lisa Brown won another legislative term in 2000. Here she is with Senator Maria Cantwell:
One of our close neighbors in our new home was Tom Karier.
A number of other guests helped us celebrate our last summer at Maringo Drive.
Emmet was still very much into beanie babies that year.
We spent Christmas 2000 with Sally’s parents in Phoenix. It was to be the last time I would see Sally’s father who died in October the following year.
Among other visitors to our new home in town were Larry and Jill, and our good friends Paul and Heidi.
Nick and Kim visited us as well.
And here is our last picture of domestic bliss at Maringo Drive: