Marcia J. Sands, 76, of Joseph graduated from Central Valley High in the Spokane Valley in 1960 and went on to Washington State University to major in education.
It was a natural progression, as both of her parents were educators . But as it turned out, she didn’t want to teach. She met her husband of 55 years, Kent Sands, on a road trip home to the Spokane area. A friend who was dating a soldier from Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane introduced her to Kent, who was also serving there, and she and Kent and the other soldier drove back to the Spokane Valley together. The couple married in 1962.
They had a son and twin daughters and worked around the west: in Prescott on a wheat ranch; Portland where Marcia finished her education in a new direction, chemistry at Portland State University, and worked in a physician’s medical lab while Kent started his career as a grain merchandiser and in a few other cities. The couple eventually bought two businesses: A.R. Smith grain merchandising and Sands Trucking while living in Seattle.
The couple ended up in Wallowa because Kent’s cousin, Joseph Mayor Dennis Sands rode in Cycle Oregon around 15 years ago and ended at Wallowa Lake.
“He called and said, ‘Kent, this is where we’re going to retire,’” Marcia said. Retirement didn’t suit any of them and Marcia estimates both she and her husband lasted about six weeks in retirement before they found part-time jobs they continue to enjoy. Marcia has worked the last 10 years at Anton’s Home and Hearth in Joseph and Kent sells real estate for Wallowa County Brokers.
Q. What keeps you in Wallowa County?
A. I’m crazy about the people. I love the people. It’s open, everyone is open to talking to you and knowing you. We disagree politically, but it doesn’t make us stop loving each other.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. When Kent said we were moving here I said, “not me! I am not leaving a city and moving to the country. What will I do for my entertainment!” But, I’d been married 45 years so I gave up. We moved here, and I started working here (at Anton’s), and I realized that I still had people I could communicate with, could talk to, who were still interested. I learned that we all have different colors no matter where you live.
Q. Do you remember the first book you ever checked out of the library? And can you recommend a new book you’ve just read?
A. Yes, “The Diary of Anne Frank” was my first book. I was about 12 and we’d talked about Anne Frank at school and it was the first time I was totally aware of who this little girl was and that she was my age. After I read her book, I thought “I’m never going to be as smart as Anne Frank.”
That was my first choice. I was with my mother, and I got to walk down the aisle and pick out my own book.
My most recent book: I just read the novel “The Loop” (by author Nicholas Evans, who wrote “The Horse Whisperer”) about wolves. It was fascinating.