August 2019 Newsletter

The latest in our series…


Diana & Wes Thompson

By Dale Dauten, syndicated columnist

There is a look that passes between couples who’ve been together for many years, a look that contains a sigh and a smile and lets you know a story is coming. I was talking with Diana and Wes Thompson about their meeting one another back in high school and I said, “Tell me about your first date.” And then, there it was: the look.

Diana said to Wes, “You tell him.”

Wes said, “I got there to pick her up and she wasn’t there.”

When it was clear Wes wasn’t to say anything more, Diana added, “That’s because he showed up an hour and a half late.”

Turns out that Wes got stuck on the farm where he was working and had no way of telling Diana he’d be late. (Younger people will never experience how it used to be, long before cellphones — much less how it used to be in rural areas, where home phones were not a given – the helpless feeling of being unable to contact the person you were planning to meet.)

But, given that they were married in 1964, we know that it all worked out – the young Wes and Diana tried again for that first date and other than a period when they went to different colleges, have been together ever since.

Diana & Wes

Wes eventually took a job in construction, then joined the Highway Department, while Diana went to work at the Mayo Clinic. Those jobs lasted till Wes had a chance to join the Chrysler Corporation in Belvedere, Illinois. When I asked Wes how long that position lasted, he said, “Thirty years and five months, eight hours and seven minutes.” That had to mean he was extremely glad to leave or extremely sorry. Turns out it was the former, Wes adding, “They had a 30-years-and-out policy and I was ready.”

About that time, Diana left her career in the medical field, ending with a long-term position running an office for an oral surgeon. She described leaving that job this way: “I didn’t retire, I just quit.” Her longtime boss had left, replaced by a newcomer who “was a great surgeon but didn’t know anything about being a boss.” When Diana told him she was leaving, he said, “You don’t want to do that.” She replied simply, “Oh, yes, I do.”

That left them both free to visit old friends, like the one who was staying at The Resort, renting a place right by the fountain. And yes, they fell under the spell of that old Resort magic — during that first visit, they arranged to come back and rent the following winter. Then, during the second stay, frustrated by being unable to find a rental for the following winter, they ended up buying a place. (In fact, they bought it over the phone. Diana had been in the living room of the home, but had not seen most of it. The owner, back in Canada, took months to give them a price, but eventually agreed to the sale.)

That was 17 years ago. Then, six years ago, they made the decision to let go of the home in Illinois and live fulltime at The Resort. “We got tired of living in two places, going back and forth, closing up and opening up,” Diana explained. Still, it was no easy decision: “We’d lived in Illinois for 40 years. That’s where we raised our kids and where they lived, and the grandkids.”

But, in a happy twist of fate, not long after Wes and Diana decided to live fulltime in Arizona, their daughter-in-law’s employer, State Farm, said they were cutting back in Illinois and transferring her to the new offices on the lake in Tempe. Wes and Diana’s son ended up joining State Farm, too, and now they live in Mesa.

So Wes and Diana are happy to be year-round residents, and each plays a role the summer life at The Resort: Diana took over for Gleeva Kitchell, sending out email updates about the park, particularly over the summer, and Rhonda recruited Wes to lock up the buildings in the evenings during the months when the Gate Hosts are off duty