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Jennifer Douwes lives for story and is a life long lover of all things word. She has been writing fiction for over fifteen years, and non-fiction for over four years. Enjoy a sampling of her published work below. Want to connect? You can find her on LinkedIn. If you'd like a copy of her resume, click here.



Klahanie Neighbors Magazine

Spinning the Wheel with the Pattons

1078 Words

It’s not every day you meet someone who’s been on the television game show Wheel of Fortune. Have you met Meri and Bob Patton? They’ve lived in the Winslow neighborhood for six years now and did just that.


Longtime fans of the Wheel of Fortune, both Bob and Meri have fond memories growing up with the show that began airing in 1982. “We remember watching with our families after dinner. It was fun to play along.”

They have continued the tradition with their daughter, Maya, and their son, Van, as they have grown. As it turns out, they were just getting the kids ready to root for their parents: They were lucky enough to be whisked away to Florida for the filming of the Sweetheart’s Week episode which aired on February 12th, 2018.

The Wheel of Fortune has a touring RV that goes around the country to find contestants for their future episodes. The couple saw that they’d be coming to the Emerald Queen Casino in late July of 2017, and decided, “What the heck?”

When the big day finally came, Meri was randomly picked and put through a simulated game. Having not been chosen, her husband made a B-line from the waiting area to video record her on stage, right when they were asking “Who are you? Where are you from?” and she remembers saying, “There’s my husband right there.” Meri tells me she said, “He’s so sweet, he makes my life complete.” The remainder of the audience gushed.

At the end, they were sent away, with a bag of Wheel of Fortune goodies and a “We’ll call you.” Bob and Meri knew how slim the chances of getting called back were, but, always looking on the bright side of things, it didn’t faze them. “It was fun going down there and auditioning.”

Two weeks later they both got an email saying they were chosen, along with about a hundred people for a second round of auditions at the Hyatt in Seattle, where they were put through more simulations, including very difficult written tests and puzzles that Meri was sure she failed. “I think I got five right out of 20,” she says. Again, they both went away thinking it wasn’t going to happen. When three weeks passed, and they still hadn’t heard back, they started kidding around that they would never watch Wheel of Fortune again.

It was then, right when they’d given up hope, that they got the call. Meri was at home when Wheel of Fortune called, asking if they’d be interested in filming in Disney World. “I just screamed,” Meri says, remembering that surreal moment. But more about that later.

Meri and Bob have a great connection going on, making them ideal candidates for the show. It all started when they met while out-on-the-town in Seattle, and kept running into each other again and again. They got married in 2001 after three years of dating. Meri has an apparel design degree from Seattle Central College and is pursuing a design career after many years in sales and marketing management. Bob has used his Purdue University degree in Engineering at Boeing for the past 21 years. I’m sure you’re guessing by now that there’s more to them than their jobs. In their spare time, they enjoy being outdoors, boating, and spending time with friends and family. 

Their daughter Maya is a junior at Issaquah High School this year. Her favorite subject is Sports Medicine. She started playing volleyball in the 6th grade, and continues to play for her high school, as well as Sudden Impact Volleyball Club and USA Volleyball High Performance, and recently started her first job. Son Van is a freshman at Skyline High School, and his favorite subject is Technology and Industrial Arts. He started playing the Ukulele in the fifth grade and continues to play guitar thanks to lessons from Moore Brothers Music. He enjoys playing video games, and you can find him cruising Klahanie on his Onewheel skateboard.

Of course, their family wouldn’t be complete without their cats Merio Lewis and Cat Clark (aka C.C.). “We found them as kittens sharing a cage at the Factoria Humane Society Summer of 2010. We could not separate them.” Meri goes on to say, “We can't forget to include our special yearly visitor, Nana's dog Princess Taffy!” 

They really enjoy living in the Klahanie area, thanks to the great schools. “We love the convenience of Klahanie shopping center and access to parks, trails, and beautiful lakes,” Meri says. “Our neighbors are wonderful, friendly and helpful! We are so grateful for the families on our street.” 

They obviously love games, because in October of 2017, Meri, Bob, their family, and Meri’s mom hopped on an airplane for a whirlwind trip to film an episode of the 35th Anniversary Wheel of Fortune. It was their first trip as a family to Disney World, where they spent four days having fun together, and then Bob and Meri left the kids with her mother to go to Epcot where the special episode was filmed. “It was pretty neat to be behind the scenes,” Meri says.

Having been chosen randomly to be in the first of five episodes they filmed that night, Meri and Bob were very nervous. Of course, one would imagine meeting Pat and Vanna would be a highlight of the trip, but they didn’t come out until filming started for the first Toss-Up match. “Pat comes out, and you’re star struck,” Meri says, “and you have to turn your brain on because you are immediately starting the first puzzle.”

When the game began, it seemed that the first contestants were going to win. The Patton’s were just happy to be there, so they weren’t sweating it. 

After making it to the bonus round, it was the puzzle “Forging Onward,” that won the game for the Pattons. “Bob just saw it as soon as the letters were flipped over. He didn’t even think about it, just whispered [the answer] to me.” Meri says it was at the exact same time Pat Sajack said, “You have ten seconds to guess.” Meri called out, “Forging Onward?” before Pat said, “Well, yes, that’s it.” The kids and Meri’s mom ran up on stage to celebrate. “The rest is history,” Meri says.

There is so much more to this story. Do say hello to the Pattons when you see them. They’d be happy to tell you all about it.


Klahanie Neighbors Magazine

sisters of klahanie

1118 Words

When I was a kid, I’d get jealous of the neighbors who came from large families. Youngest of three, I had no idea my own family was considered big to some. But there was the family down the road with eight kids, and another with five. In both cases, the kids were piled two or three-deep in a bedroom. So much togetherness! So much love! Everyone in these families, from the kids to the parents were welcoming and happy I was there. That’s what it looked like from the outside looking in, to nine-year-old me. It was to those houses I’d gravitate to, yearning for what they had.

That level of chaos and love I experienced when I went over to neighbors’ houses as a child was the same feeling I got when I sat down to interview this family of close-knit sisters in a local Starbucks. Yvette Artman and Kendra Campbell live in the Audubon Ridge neighborhood, and their sister Lindsay Taylor lives in the Summit neighborhood. What a great thing to have your family live so close by.  


These ladies are from a family of six children. Their brothers live in Portland and Colorado but come to Issaquah now and again to take part in all kinds of family parties from birthdays and holidays to football games. Really, they’ll use any excuse to get together and share a meal. They put together a kickball game during these gatherings with as many as 30 people participating at a time—including friends and neighbors. “There’s an injury every time,” Lindsay tells me excitedly. 


Having lived in Klahanie since 2008, Kendra and her husband Scott were the first to move to the area. After Kendra and Scott’s first child was born in 2009, Yvette and her husband Larry came to visit and liked how similar it was to their home in Virginia. They were a quick second to move to the neighborhood in 2010, right after Yvette’s husband retired from the Navy. “It only made sense,” Kendra says, of the need to have her family close to her. Lindsay followed after that in 2013. Their dad moved to Providence Point in 2017, and their mom will move nearby in June.


“The beauty of having sisters in the hood is we can borrow things from each other, babysit each other's kids and check front porches for packages,” Yvette says.  “The primary reason for moving [to Klahanie] was to be close to family. Griffin is an only child and to live right next door to five of his cousins will make for some lifelong memories and friendships,” Lindsay says, adding: “Combined with the family-friendly environment and the outstanding public schools it was an easy choice to relocate. You can't really ask for a better neighborhood.” 


All told, there are 13 grandchildren. Yvette, who works at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital has three kids: 17-year-old Lucy and 15-year-old Abby who go to Skyline High School, and 12-year-old Nora who goes to Beaver Lake Middle School. Kendra, who works part-time for Issaquah FC, has two kids: 9-year-old Kayla and 6-year-old Max who both attend Challenger Elementary. Lindsay, who works for Evergreen Emergency Services (EESI) in their urgent care, has one child, 10-year-old Griffin, who goes to Endeavour Elementary. The rest of the grandkids belong to their brothers. 


One of the many fun things that happen when they are together is silly pranks. Yvette shared a story, “Several years ago my mom gave each of us a large chocolate cross for Easter. Not to sound bratty but the chocolate was terrible, and none of us really wanted to eat them. As a joke, one of us hid the chocolate cross in the other's house, and that began several years of that chocolate cross turning up in all sorts of places in each house. Since that time, we have also hidden random funny statues and lawn ornaments in each other’s houses and yards that we have come across at elephant exchanges and various stores in the community. Currently, there is a pink porcelain unicorn Dachshund statue making its journey back and forth between our homes. Kendra, did you find it yet?” 


Their good-natured ribbing started back in college, when Yvette and Kendra were at the University of Oregon and Lindsay was at Oregon State, “a very similar rivalry to UW and WSU,” Kendra says. Even today, all these years later, it’s not often that this family goes without teasing each other, and you know it’s all done with love when you hear the affection in their voices. 

“The absolute BEST part of Klahanie is living near my sisters AND having the BEST neighbors on the planet!” Yvette says. Kendra shared a story about the recent wind storm when a large cedar tree fell into the street. The whole neighborhood had to work to get it removed. By 9:30 am, seven neighbors came out--without being asked. “That’s a lot of people up as early as 7am to help.” They worked hard through the morning, filling many yard bins.


Over the years the family seems to find more ways to enjoy the Klahanie area, seeming to never tire of all it has to offer. All three of their families have enjoyed using the pools and being a part of the Klahanie swim team, with the oldest kids moving on to other activities as time goes by. “We have made great use of all the trails and find it so convenient to have the grocery store, restaurants, and other shops right in the neighborhood,” Yvette says. And it doesn’t stop there. She goes on to say, “We have participated in the Klahanie 5K and have thoroughly enjoyed the Klahanie 4th of July parade and festivities and Easter Egg Hunts and so many more across the years.” Even the parents find fun activities, she shared. “My neighbors and I have a Book Club that has been meeting once a month since 2013!” Let’s not leave out the menfolk: “The husbands enjoy hitting Duthie Hill and Snoqualmie Pass when possible.”


Big families may not be as common now a day, but after interviewing these sisters, my youthful yearning returned full force. It makes me wonder what life would have been like had I hidden in one of my childhood friend’s bedrooms when my parents moved our household four cities away. There’s a good chance I’d have missed my family, but perhaps taking part in all of the laughter and shenanigans large families bring to the table would have been a good trade-off. 

Looking at these sisters, I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late to find out. I’m left with one question: Kendra, did you find the unicorn Dachshund yet?

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