Meet Your Neighbor: Anne Larson

I met Anne Larson, the Green Gables Elementary PTA President, at the final PTA meeting of the school year. She was busy heading up the end-of-year details of the very active and engaged organization, but agreed to meet with me after things settled down. She has so many things going on and I was glad we could find this time to visit. Meet Anne Larson: interview by Bruce McDonald.

Bruce: How long have you lived in Southern Gables, and what brought you here?  Anne: We’ve been here eight years. It’s easy to remember because our firstborn was two, and we were expecting our second. Our path to Colorado and Southern Gables was long but not overly complicated; Ben and I are from South Dakota, and after college we taught in Japan for two years. Nearing the end of that, Ben decided to go to law school. He did a lot of research and decided that DU would be the best choice, and Colorado would be a great place to live. We started out in Denver, near the University, and as we started looking toward the future we found we liked the neighborhoods closer to the mountains. We found that we tended toward places with trees, an established neighborhood with trees.

So then, besides our trees, what are a few things you like about the neighborhood?  The neighbors are amazing! We have relied on each other for help in all kinds of things like caring for each other’s pets – ours was sick for one vacation trip and they cared for her with real dedication, like family – and then there’s shoveling snow, things like that. We enjoy two- or three-family cookouts, and just interacting with each other in day-to-day life.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?  I love how the kids get along and play together. My boys are old enough now, at 10 and 7, to start expanding their boundaries a little, which we appreciate even more after going through the restrictions of confinement during the pandemic. I have to tell one memory: when things started to open up a bit, our boys were playing with the neighbor kids and they all had sticks. I was concerned, and told them I didn’t want them hitting each other with sticks! They said they were playing tag, and had to keep six feet apart. Creative, at least.

I suppose the pandemic motivated creativity in a lot of ways. How did you manage to get through the times when the school was remote-learning only?  I made a little classroom here and set up a kindergarten “pod” with two other families.  I was a teacher myself, before the pandemic, but I was grateful not to be working at the time. I was also grateful to have had the teaching experience. It was nice to be able to help out some friends and to have some other kids in the house again. I really felt for the teachers, how hard that was for them. For so much of the time they had to deal with teaching some students live in the classroom and cover the same lessons with others on remote connections. The Green Gables teachers are the best!

I knew of your role with the PTA, but you were a teacher too?  Yes, I taught Kindergarten, first, and fourth grades. I taught at Deane Elementary; I wasn’t always connected with Green Gables. We started our son at Patterson International School for the IB program, but we were hearing such great things about Green Gables Elementary that it soon became apparent that our little neighborhood school was a great place for our kids. I scheduled an interview to check out the school, and the Principal, Ms. Hawley, took us around. She greeted every child we met, by name. Everyone was so friendly, like a good family. Choosing Green Gables was good too, for being involved with the neighborhood where we live. That was a big part, actually, of deciding to enroll the boys here.

What sort of things do you do with your leisure time? Any hobbies, or…  Ha, leisure time? Hm. I guess you could say I’m a full-time volunteer. I teach Sunday school, I’m a Scout den leader, and I coach the boys’ basketball team. Aside from the volunteer things, I’m currently training for Ragnar. It’s a mountain trail relay race up in Snowmass. Eight of us run 3 different loops over a day and a half and through the night for a total of 15 miles each. I’m a bit terrified about the 1,500 foot elevation gain at 9,000 feet. So I’ve been putting in a lot of miles lately. I also like to garden and do yard work this time of year.

In closing, do you have a favorite quote or saying for us?  I’d probably have to google something that sounds really good, but it would have something to do with giving our children roots, and wings. It would tell the importance of raising children who will be independent, confident, and respectful. It would be clever and wise.

Well, we can’t ask for more than that. Clever and wise!  

Contact [email protected] to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series.

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