May 2017’s mystery location: Pomeroy, Washington
Gus Hill and Ginny Knowles have been married 40 years. They have been responsible for more children than you can shake a stick at, but have no brood of their own. The last 30 years of their teaching careers were in Reno, Nevada, Gus at UNR and Ginny was the principal at Vaughn Middle School.
As lifelong educators, they met when fresh out of college, both teaching in rural southern Oregon where Ginny had grown up. So in the same facility, Gus teaching agriculture, Ginny teaching home economics, their romance began.
Ginny’s career focus was always on at-risk youth and she sometimes discovered children in her charge were without adequate clothing or lunch money. She said she began filling the gap from the family budget. “When we retired I was surprised to find we had a lot more disposable income,” she said.
It may seem odd to retire then leave a place where they’d spent such a big part of their lives and careers, but that’s what they did after considering it well. They wanted a fresh start, and they wanted milder and drier winters than were the norm in Reno. But where would they go? Travel had shown them many part of the country, and one that resonated with both of them was southern New Mexico. Ginny said the cuisine was a real draw for Gus. “You don’t often hear of people choosing where to live based on the food, but Gus loves it.”
The Reno home “with lots of steps” sold in no time with a new employer coming into the area: “We can thank Tesla for our quick sale.” They bought a 10-year-old pueblo-style single story home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, two years ago and moved in six months after the purchase. “It’s a great neighborhood with regular get-togethers with neighbors. Plus we’re able to walk the dogs here.” With an enclosed back yard,—“It’s a stone wall,”—and an acre lot, life is good for their three beagles, three Burmese cats and one Siamese.
Ginny and Gus worried they’d not have enough to do with so much spare time in retirement. “Working life was always so hurried, rush-rush-rush. And the last four years at Vaughn the schedule was year-round school, so vacations were hard to come by.” But they’ve been riding regularly, Ginny enjoying her perch from their Tri-Glide Trike and when riding alone, Gus enjoys a 2007 Heritage Softail.
Between riding, the great neighbors, new riding friends made at Las Cruces Barnett’s Harley-Davidson, the “very active” Southern New Mexico H.O.G. chapter, and for Ginny, one other hobby, any concern over having too much time on their hands has vanished. The mystery hobby? Ginny has taken up playing the ukulele. She had an instrument her father gave her when she was 45, but a friend, Marie, from the H.O.G. chapter, invited Ginny to go see a local women’s ukulele group play. That was all the inspiration needed. Since that time Ginny joined as one of the players and laughed when she explained, “I’m taking lessons now.”