Olympus: Home of the Gods and Other Folks

July 3, 2012

By Pat Detmer

In 1987, the average American home sold for $125,000 and you could drive to it in your $6,895 Ford Escort filled with gas that cost 89 cents a gallon. Televangelist Jim Bakker, who established the Praise the Lord network (broadcast acronym: PTL, later dubbed “Pass the Loot”) was embroiled in a scandal. News about the Iran-Contra Affair filled the airways. The Dow dropped 508 points on a day that became known as “Black Monday.” It was enough to make you want to take Prozac, and luckily enough, Prozac had just been introduced to a willing Gosh-I-didn’t-even-know-I-needed-that public.

When my little sister Barb was in high school, the hill I live on was in unincorporated King County and was covered with alder, traced with jeep trails and littered with abandoned mattresses. She tells me that this is where local high school kids drank and made out. She knew about it, but never went there herself. Or so she says.

Not long after Barb didn’t go up into the hills, The Sainted One and I did. We were into orienteering at the time, and one Saturday we registered and drew our map at what is now Renton Academy, and then hiked on trails that took us up into the hills. We found one of the control point flags a hundred yards west of where we now live. We noted the fresh bulldozed trails and the tree trunks X’d with paint and wondered what was in the offing.

It was Olympus that was in the offing, and we end up moving here almost 22 years ago.

They pretty much scalped the hill at the time, and with the exception of greenbelts — one of which merges with our back yard — Olympus was denuded and treeless, with lots of fresh bark to cover all the bare spots. Now bare spots are hard to find — at least in our yard — and trees planted by early owners have reached 60 feet tall or better. Now it looks less like a new home sales brochure and more like a place with history, a place where trees and families grow, a place that’s been around for a while.

I’m currently on the Olympus Homeowners Board, and we’re planning a 25th anniversary celebration that will take place during National Night Out. I look forward to comparing notes and old pictures with other residents.

I wasn’t around for the naming of where we live, but I assume that the origins were in Greek mythology, where Mount Olympus was the home of the Olympian Gods. Homer said of it: “Olympus was not shaken by winds nor ever wet with rain, nor did snow fall upon it …”

D’oh! Clearly, Homer never spent a winter in my home on the hill!


One of the Olympian Gods was Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, which is really close to “Detmer,” who you can reach at patdetmer@aol.com.

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