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Romance in the parking lot

Vivian Herron, Columnist
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There I was in the Rainbow Store parking lot, checking out my 2-year-old grocery list, when a car pulled into the slot next to me. I idly looked over to see who it was. The driver turned off the engine, turned to her passenger, and threw herself into his waiting arms.

What kissing! What passionate hugs! Between the kissing and the hugging, they gazed at each other with such love and tenderness, with such utter delight in each other … I gawked, I stared, I melted.

What was the occasion of this awesome display of affection? Why, it happens every time Craig Chacon drops Gwen Krause off at work.



Gwen is a Nevada City girl; she attended Lyman Gilmore, graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1984, and has been working at the aforementioned store for three years.

I caught up with her in the checkout line and thanked her for making my day and then some, and why. She went pink.




“Oh, Craig and I met several years ago, but he decided to go to the Bay Area to work,” she said. “Then he came back with the intention of finding me, which he did, and we’ve been happy ever since.” Well, I’ll say.

“I like to think we have our priorities straight,” she smiled. “We sure don’t make a lot of money, but our love for each other and our children is first and foremost.” Kids are Tina, 16; James, 8; and their new baby, Jakob, 5 months. Lucky kids.

Check with store owners Brenda and Dave Cubitt for Gwen’s work schedule and lurk in the parking lot until she drives in. If you don’t sigh and say “awww” at least once, then I’ll eat my hat. Remarkable!

I had an unexpected treat last week when I met Maryalyce Hansen – now there’s a beautiful, old-fashioned name. She’s lived in Bigtown since 1931. Her dad, Harry Twitchell, was born in Nevada County, so she’s grown some very deep roots here.

Maryalyce attended the old Grass Valley High School, graduating in 1948. She married CHP Officer Joe Blake, and they moved away for a while, then returned in 1962. Joe died in 1981, and she eventually married Karsten Hansen, another longtime county resident, who is retired from – you guessed it – Hansen Bros.

Since she’s lived here all these years, I asked her what she thinks of all this county growth and change. “I thoroughly understand why people want to come up here to live; it’s a beautiful, beautiful place. But remember that all the old-timers did one heck of a good job taking care of it, too.”

Down here in Washington, we had an honest-to-God formal visit from nurses Anne Bomberg and Vicki Cole, courtesy of the county Human Services Agency (senior health and outreach).

Usually, these ladies make the rounds of Truckee, North San Juan and the Senior Center, to name just a few of their stops.

They invited all comers to get their blood pressure checked, and more than seniors showed up, believe you me. In my 27 years in Littletown, I cannot recall any medical service being offered to residents before.

Vicki said, “The country is beautiful, and the people are generous and outgoing.”

Anne agreed. “It makes me feel a little like I’ve gone back in time.”

The neat thing is they’re coming back in November and bringing flu shots with them! Washington Mayor Phillip Copening coordinated the visit and got the word out to locals.

He said, “We really appreciate the recognition that the health department has given to Washington … we’re existing on planet Earth again!”

Phillip, you get a round of applause and a big thank-you from some very grateful townspeople!

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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