Chateau Reflections

Kenji Hobbs

14 December 2022

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A Life Story By Jim Johnson

The bundle of energetic white fur on four legs ran into the room, stopped in front of my wife Joyce and I and sat down, never taking her eyes off us.


Joyce and I always had dogs. We were drawn to the American Eskimo breed and already had one named Chocko, but Chocko was getting old, and we felt it was time to bring another one into our lives. We contacted PAWS, an animal shelter that has pets for adoption and expressed our interest in obtaining an American Eskimo.


We were elated to learn they had three and we were given a day and time we should stop by to meet the dogs. Once there, we were shown a room where we sat and waited till one of the employees ushered in three dogs. As the dogs entered, one came right over and sat directly in front of us as if to say, “Here I am, let’s go home”. Joyce, the dog, and I traded looks at one another until it became clear the cute American Eskimo dog, we had just minutes before met, had chosen us and was confident she would shortly be a member of the Johnson household.


The three of us headed home where Chocko was about to meet the newest member of the Johnson family.


The next hurdle was to choose a name. We both came up with possibilities but not to the satisfaction of the other. Finally, I said to Joyce “Let’s name her Susie-Q”. We both were familiar with friends and family members who used the term when they were unable to think of a female family member’s name. It seemed perfect.


When I recently moved to Chateau at Bothell Landing, I brought Susie-Q with me. She is thirteen years old, a great source of comfort and my constant companion. One of the things I soon learned at Chateau was which of us is more important. The residents see Susie-Q, saying sweet nothings as they approach her with their hand held out to give her a pat on the head.


Prior to my thirty-three-year career on the Seattle Police Force, I spent two years in the Marine Corps and two years with the Seattle Transit System. After giving the transit job a chance, it was clear it was not the right fit for me. Post police force, I took a job at the 911 center where in-coming calls are recorded. My job was to make copies of the calls and deliver them to lawyers who requested them. I retired after ten years.


My wife Joyce and I met at a St. Patrick’s Day Dance at the Trianon Ballroom 4th and Wall St., March of 1956. Sailors and Marines came from Bremerton and the local young women drifted down from the hills of Seattle for an evening of dance with the military. Six months later Joyce and I were married in Seattle, September 1st, after I was discharged from the Marines in June. Joyce was 18 and I was 20.


I had graduated from Eastern High School in Lansing, Michigan, attended Michigan State University for a year, spent two years in the Marine Corps and still was not old enough to get married in the state of Washington without parental consent. My mom signed the necessary papers granting permission; the best signature she ever penned.