Note: all photos shared by Peter Morton and Arlene Arnold.

I saw Peter Morton at the South Whidbey Commons May 23rd, and the first thing I noticed was that he looked younger than when I saw him last. I mentioned this to him, and asked what he was up to. Peter was picking up a couple of latte orders with a decorative heart swirled in the steamed milk of his coffees. He pointed over to a woman sitting at a long table and said, “You’ve got to meet Arlene.”

I have always liked talking to Peter. He served, and has since retired from a council position with the City of Langley. What he did and said then made sense, and he still does make sense. He cares deeply about the well-being of our ‘Village by the Sea.’ As a councilperson, he chaired the committee formed under Langley’s declaration of a “climate emergency” in support of United Student Leaders, and now serves on “Whidbey Climate Action”.

Peter is also a retired Boeing executive who worked for the company when it was in its ‘Camelot’ phase during the 1990s.

“Many of us believed that the working together culture at Boeing when the 777 was built was magical,” Peter recalled.  Nowadays he says he and his Boeing retiree colleagues fervently hope Boeing will bounce back from the troubles the company is facing.

As regards how people interact, he says, “I think one of the worst symptoms of social maladies today is the gotcha’…that does nothing for either party in a discussion. I say, let’s work together.

“I think the problems at Boeing now have to do with sole focus on only shareholder value,” Peter added, citing a shift in Boeing’s emphasis on how its money is spent and made. “Milton Friedman was the University of Chicago leader of the brand of leadership focused on shareholder value. This is in sharp contrast to the notion that prevailed at Boeing during the 777 program in which the entire mosaic of stakeholders were valued. I have lots to say about that, let me know when you want to sit still for a presentation on the subject.”

…I will write about this economic shift in the near future. Meanwhile, Here are This is Whidbey stories written in the past with Peter in them:

Back to our impromptu visit at the South Whidbey Commons: I said hello to Arlene, Peter’s wife since Valentine’s Day 2023, and felt right at home in her presence. I asked if I might write about the good feelings the couple embody. While they are in their 80’s, witnessing their energy and refreshing outlook made me feel young and vibrant.

Peter has known Arlene since they were children living in Costa Rica, and he was best friends with her older brother Paul.

Arlene’s dad, Art Peterson, was a professor of agriculture at Washington State College in Pullman, and had taken his family on a three-year sabbatical then to Costa Rica. When Peter later graduated from engineering school in 1958, he stopped in Pullman to see his friend Paul on his way to reporting for duty at Boeing. Peter noticed Paul’s little sister was now 17, and was attracted to her. Arlene enrolled at College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and they began dating.

“We went steady for a year, but then Art took the family on another sabbatical to Taiwan,” Peter noted. “That broke up the romance, and next time we met, we were grandparents.”

Peter reconnected with Arlene in 2009 at an after-Thanksgiving gathering. They exchanged contact information and caught up on one another’s lives. Arlene then lived with her daughter and their family near Vancouver WA. Several months after Peter’s wife Anna Marie died in 2022, Peter contacted Arlene and they became Face Time friends.

Some months later, I thought: ‘where is was going?’” Arlene recalled. “I sent him an email that said, ‘I’m wondering if this is too soon. I want to have some clarity about the relationship.’ That precipitated an important conversation and the rest is history!”

In September, Arlene invited Peter to Paul’s daughter’s wedding in Puyallup. Afterwards, the couple spent the rest of the weekend on Whidbey Island.

“I knew once she saw Whidbey, that would cinch it,” Peter added. “And it did!”

Arlene first visits Langley September 18 2022. Here they pose in front of butterfly wings designed and painted by local artist Siobhan Wright

Arlene moved in with Peter Dec. 1 of 2022. She wondered what his family might think and he had the same thoughts about her family’s reaction.

“It was magical and so seamless,” Arlene said.”The families said if it makes us happy, then they were happy.”

Peter added, “There’s not a huge amount of runway left. You might wonder whether romance could work in a couple’s eighth decade.”

“And, I said it doesn’t matter if it’s two weeks or ten years,” Arlene added. “I say, give us ten years. I’ve asked that we be in good health, because we have things to do in the world.”

Among other goals, the couple are dedicated to bringing hope in these difficult times. Additionally, with their work in different fields—Peter is a retired engineer, and Arlene is a practicing metaphysician—one might think the two would have little in common.

As the founder, healing facilitator, and certified spiritual guide of Transformational Tools LLC: Transform Yourself-Transform the World, Arlene works with highly sensitive and intuitive individuals to help them realize their gifts.

Love Luminaries sacred geometry card by Arlene Arnold and art by Lahrinda Eileeen. This image is part of Luminaries™ card deck: “A Prism for Change through Reflection and Transformational Art.”

With reference to Arlene’s business when she is at a holistic fair, Peter said, “I’m her Vanna White,” referring to his advocacy of Arlene’s avocation. Note: Vanna White, is known for her ongoing roll as a co-host on Wheel of Fortune. “We’re living in highly stressed times. Arlene’s practice is a really effective way of moderating that sense of fear among people.”

Arlene’s practice provides tools on how to listen to one’s intuition. She has created Color Cards™ and Luminaries™ cards to help focus and sharpen one’s own inner clarity.

“Most people who are highly sensitive and intuitive are scared of saying what they know,” Arlene explained. “If you get people in a safe place and give them permission to say what’s on their hearts, they can come to their inner conclusions without people saying they’re crazy or impractical. We need to manifest this new world that’s possible. I can feel it. It’s here. There are people all over the world that know this. How to figure how in the heck do you know what’s true? It’s in here.” She pointed to her heart.

What Peter and Arlene know is true is their shared belief about being a couple and what that means. They mentioned the 2004 film Shall We Dance, which brings up the question of why people get married. Peter and Arlene spoke these words from the film to each other at their Valentine’s Day wedding in 2023:

Arlene & Peter Feb 14 2023 at Unity Church in South Whidbey taking their vows. Audience was minimal; just the minister, two witnesses and their spouses

I Will Be Your Witness

We marry because we need a witness to our lives.

There’s a billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life really mean?

But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything.

The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all of the time, every day.

You’re saying:

“Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.”

“Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”

Arlene and Peter at the Museum of Flight celebration of the marriage reception held for family and friends May 20, 2023

Here’s to Peter and Arlene, may they continue to spread their joie de vivre.

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