Windermere Professional Partners Windermere Real Estate
Gig Harbor

Linda & Doug

You can leave your shoes on in our house


Linda and Doug Olsen have been in Gig Harbor for decades, since it was a small town with one traffic light. When they arrived with their young family they didn’t know anyone, but over the decades their community of friends has grown. They’ve opened their home to friends and neighbors over the years, and even invited several friends to live with them in difficult times.

Every morning Linda meets her friends Penny and Jeannie daily at Cutters Point for coffee and a walk where they catch up, provide support to each other, talk about life, and walk the Cushman Trail. They’ve been friends for 30 years and walking together everyday for decades.

For Linda and Doug communication is at the heart of their success in marriage, family life, and community. While communicating openly didn’t come easily at first, the impacts of learning to listen and share with people have been felt in all areas of their lives. “When I learned to communicate with my wife I also learned to communicate with my kids,” says Doug. “If most of us or all of us that we come in contact with were to communicate, and listen, and share then life would be a whole lot simpler."

What happens when you meet your neighbors? How can we increase the feeling of connection between members of our community and their neighbors? Over the past few months we here at Windermere Professional Partners have set out to answer those questions. Based on recommendations from our REALTORS® we set out with a camera crew to speak to our neighbors from the heart about what it means to be a neighbor, to live life fully, and to connect with our community.

Click here to watch the behind the scenes vlog!

Produced by Gabriel Ng

Linda Olson: I'm Linda Olson.

Doug Olson: I'm Doug Olson and we live in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Linda Olson: We live in Gig Harbor, Washington. Great place to live.

Doug Olson: Moving here was a bit of a challenge, but it brought our family together.

Linda Olson: Yeah, it did.

Doug Olson: We lived in Lake Forest Park and four kids and when I got transferred, we had a family meeting. As a matter of fact, our son went to school the next day to say goodbye to all of his friends.

Linda Olson: They were like, "Yes, we want to move."

Doug Olson: Moving down here actually was a really good thing to do because kids get caught up in their own activities and their friends and all that and families can disperse a little bit but it brought us together as a family and that was a real positive event in our lives.

Linda Olson: Yeah. Our house was a party house.

Doug Olson: A good party house.

Linda Olson: Yeah, it was-

Doug Olson: It was a good party house.

Linda Olson: I mean, not too many kickers. We just decided that we wanted to have a open door policy for whoever came our way. Sometimes it was strangers. Lots of times it was people who had a need. In this house, we've probably had four or five different people live with us for a year or so at different times.

Doug Olson: We don't live by rules. Our house is open, not only as our immediate family but to our extended family. It's open to our friends. They know it. Then, they feel welcome here. When you come in my house, if you feel comfortable leaving your shoes, then that's perfectly fine. If you want to take them off, that's fine too. If you treat our house the way we would treat yours, then everything is just fine.

Doug Olson: In 1982, when we first moved here, it was very quiet and very peaceful. We had only, I think, one stoplight in the center of town. We've, over the years, watched the community grow and we still enjoy it.

Linda Olson: Yeah.

Doug Olson: It's been gradual change. It's been good change.

Linda Olson: What happens when you have that is you have to be open to change and new things coming. New generations come, new ideas come. It doesn't mean that you have to change what you believe but you need to be able to embrace others and love them where they are.

Doug Olson: I've learned to listen to others. My grandmother told me a long, long time ago, that I was born with two ears and one mouth. That's the sort of philosophy that has stuff with me all the time. We have neighbors that we don't necessarily agree with on every point of view, but we still embrace them and they embrace us.

Linda Olson: Every morning, I have to leave my husband. He has fun at home when I'm gone. I meet my girlfriends at the local coffee place and we have coffee for an hour and then we walk for an hour. Everybody goes, "Well, why don't you walk first and then reward yourself with coffee?" I go, "Oh, no. No, no, no. We go and we talk and visit and have coffee and then we reward ourself and we walk." We get emotional, physical, mental and spiritual help every day for free.

Linda Olson: We have been friends for over 30 something years. Genie and I have been walking together for probably 20 of those and Penny and Genie and I have been walking together for probably 10, for probably 10. Yup.

Doug Olson: How did we meet? We both worked at the same Sears store. One day, we were both going up to the employee cafeteria in the elevator and it got stuck between floors.

Linda Olson: We visited. I mean, I had seen him in the store and-

Doug Olson: I had seen her.

Linda Olson: Yeah, but I would never date any of the guys in the store because it was living in Peyton Place or something. Anyway, we visited and then, we used to go to a pub. There was a pub that everybody went to, to hang out. He went there more than I did, but I go occasionally. Then, finally, one of our friends fixed us up on a ... They were having a department store party, Christmas. Yeah.

Doug Olson: We started dating then.

Linda Olson: Yeah.

Doug Olson: I think that there is a link in all relationships and it goes back to what I might've indicated earlier is that you need to communicate. I'll be the first one to tell you that I was a poor communicator. What I say goes and things were tight. When I learned to communicate with my wife, I also learned to communicate with my kids. If most of us, or all of us that we come in contact with were to communicate and listen and share, then life would be a whole lot simpler.

Linda Olson: We both came into marriage, I think, very unprepared, so we had to work really diligently. People don't like to say that because, especially men, they have a hard time thinking that they don't have answers or can't fix it but we're just human beings and we all have weaknesses and we all have places where we have strength. You take yourself with you wherever you go and if you don't get yourself to a place where you can communicate and discuss things honestly and openly, then you're not going to be successful.

Doug Olson: Whether it's maintaining your home or your car, you have to mow the lawn, otherwise, it's a jungle.

Linda Olson: Change the oil.

Doug Olson: And you have to change the oil on your vehicle, otherwise, it falls apart. If you don't take care of your marriage in the same way, if you don't maintain it, if you don't communicate, if you don't listen to the other person, if you don't bend a little, if you don't meet in the middle, it's going to fall apart too. By the time you reach a point where it is totally falling apart, then you have to look back and say, "What did I do wrong?" It's a whole lot easier to maintain it than it is to try to put it all back together.

Linda Olson: Yeah. We're Christians and as Christians, the one thing that the Bible talks about Jesus, He is truth and grace. Grace without truth is licentiousness and truth without grace is harshness, so you have to have both of those things. We believe that. We have to have both of those things. I mean, we tell each other the truth but we don't go, "You suck."

Doug Olson: There's a huge mistake in a marriage when both parties think they have to meet 50/50 because 50/50 to them makes a 100. All you do is you come to blows because anyone who only gives 50% is not committed and in any relationship, if that's all you have to give, then your relationship isn't going to last a long period of time. In a marriage, it's 100%.

Linda Olson: Per person.

Doug Olson: Per person. That's what makes a whole marriage. We've struggled many, many a time but we give a whole lot more than we receive. But when you give, you receive so much more back.

Linda Olson: When you care for people, you care all the way, so it's a choice. You make a choice to do that. Act and be gracious and kind and helpful of other people. They say, like a cliché on television, "Pay it forward." That's a easy thing to say but it's really not a easy thing to do. You have to be intentional about what you're doing. You can't just think it's going to appear by magic. You have to actually be intentional. It's no big shakes but that's how we live and it's been a good life. If you don't ever take time to find out about another person, then you'll never have compassion. It's so important. All the other things that we're talking about are important but we need to have compassion.