Both Donna and Harley grew up on farms in the upper Midwest, found careers there and raised families there, but never met until later in life, when both of them made their way to the desert.
Harley came to visit his brother in Mesa, asking him come along to tour RV parks where Harley could spend winters. He recalled of that search, “We looked at half a dozen places and The Resort was so friendly and so nice, we picked it.” That was decades ago, back in 1990, when, Harley recalled, “U.S. 60 ended at Power Road and the nearest grocery store was nearly a mile away.”
Then, just a few years back, Donna found her way to the Valley. But it wasn’t sun that drew her to the desert, it was sorrow. Her youngest daughter had passed away after a battle with cancer, and as Donna said, “I just needed to get away.” She moved into another park in Mesa, but eventually the universe did its conspiring and she met the woman then heading The Resort’s Post Office. That ended up in Donna being offered a job, and in her meeting one particular postal customer: Harley.
We asked Harley if there was a romantic story in their meeting and he just chuckled and said, “I asked her out for a cup of coffee.”
That cup of coffee was six years ago and, even though Donna has since given up her post at the Post Office, they’ve been together ever since, enjoying winters together at The Resort. When we asked Donna their favorite things to do at The Resort, she told us, “Harley loves to play pool – you’ll often find him down at The Resort’s pool room — and I love the events. This past season my favorite was the street dance at the end of March. It was outdoors, down by Studio 55, and I don’t think there’s a person in the park who missed it.”
So that’s how the two of them got together. Let us back up and fill in some of their stories prior to meeting at The Resort.
grew up on a farm near Ceylon, Minnesota. After high school, Harley enlisted in the Marines. It turned out just fine — he ended up serving in peace time (falling between the Korean and Vietnam Wars) and got an enviable posting: two years in Hawaii. After completing his service, Harley began a career in law enforcement, starting in Sleepy Eye, Minn.
(I couldn’t resist looking into the name Sleepy Eye. Turns out, it was for a Chief Sleepy Eye, the leader of the Sisseton Dakota tribe in the 1820s. A couple of photos from the Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce give you an idea of the town today.)