Road to Junction: How one family made it across the pond from London
Editor’s note: Know a Grand Valley transplant with a unique story? Or perhaps your path took an interesting detour, ending in local residency? Email email@example.com.
Tea and crumpets; Big Ben; red telephone boxes; double-decker buses; the Queen; a rich, storied history. These are all common scenes from David and Maggie Cook’s homeland — London, England.
The Cooks, now Grand Junction residents and married since 1959, transplanted to the United States in 1980.
At the time, David worked for a British pharmaceutical company. When it acquired a business in Kansas City, Kan., he and his family were transferred as part of the merger. It was a three-year contract for David, which continued to be renewed until the job became permanent.
“I like America a lot,” Maggie said of the move.
The couple and their three children stayed in Kansas City for 15 years. When they grew tired of the humid climate, the Cooks began looking west. They first traveled to Sedona, Ariz., Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction, but fell in love with Battlement Mesa.
“With a bit of luck, a golf course was there,” David said, which influenced their decision to move to the mountain town.
They resided in Battlement Mesa for 12 years and enjoyed hiking, golfing, and other activities made available to them there. But the art scene was lacking, ultimately pushing the Cooks to Grand Junction when friends put their house on the market.
“I mentioned to them if they ever wanted to sell the house, we wanted first dibs,” Maggie said, and they purchased the home in 2007.
As avid painters, the Cooks appreciate Grand Junction for its variety of artistic outlets. Maggie paints acrylic and David paints oils; both find inspiration in Grand Valley’s unique landscape (often engaging in Plein Air work, otherwise known as painting outdoors).
The Cooks also revel in Grand Junction’s climate, its library, the downtown area and The Art Center (with which they are heavily involved).
“We recently went over to the Pollock Bench area and it’s just gorgeous,” Maggie added.
When the Cooks first came from London to the United States, they discovered a few unexpected cultural differences.
As head of marketing, David gave many presentations. One day an assistant mentioned how most people weren’t listening to him because they were too busy listening to his accent.
“I always wondered why they had a certain look on their face,” David said, jokingly.
Another difference noticed was the amount of food served at restaurants.
“I was amazed at the gargantuan-sized plates of food,” Maggie said.
Other eye-catching American trends include fast food, bumper stickers, and 18-wheeler semi-trucks.
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Home values in western Garfield County are way up, according to tax assessors. That will contribute to a higher tax bill next year.