“I’ll do the interview if we can go outside and sit in the sun,” Sandy insisted. Maybe it was because it was a gorgeous and warm April Saturday, or maybe it’s because Sandy loves nature. Either way, nature was a theme that kept coming up as we talked about her life in Alderwood Manor.
Sandra Forsgren Konikson was born in 1939 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, although her family lived in Alderwood Manor at the time. Her father, Harry Forsgren, emigrated from Sweden with his family when he was a boy, initially arriving at Ellis Island, then traveling through Canada, and eventually settling in Alderwood Manor, where the family bought land from Pope & Talbot. As Sandy grew up, her family had a home with “a huge garden, … cherry trees … woods in back of us, woods to the side of us. We had horses… chickens… ducks… geese… rabbits… a pig; and we had one nasty rooster.” She remembers that even though she had chores, “we also had a lot of freedom and playing.” In addition to the nature on her own family’s land, she also has specific memories about the trees of Alderwood Manor: “I loved the poplars on this street. It was called Poplar Way, and it was lined with poplars on both sides along here. And we used to walk home from school, and they were so massive. They were just beautiful.” She also recalls that “along 196th [St SW] … were Filbert trees… and I harvested them when I did my paper route, filled my pockets full.”
Sandy graduated from Edmonds High School in 1958 and went to work. She first worked at a bank, then went to Boeing in 1961. In 1968 she left the company to raise the family she and her husband, Nick, were starting: son Clay and, later, daughter Erica. As the kids got older, Sandy did part-time and temporary work, and returned to Boeing full-time when her son was in high school. In her total time at Boeing, she was a file clerk for the BOMARC project, did document updating and revising, assembled parts for wire shops, worked for the Advanced Tactical Fighter, and worked in parts stores at different sites, among many other duties. She retired in 2001.
Now Sandy spends her time with nature and her family. “We’ve got an acre and a half, with a creek going through it, and that’s a lot to take care of. … We’ve got coyotes in the back [and] river otter in Swamp Creek. We’ve got squirrels [and] cottontails. They try to eat my flowers and I scare them away. It’s nice: there’s a lot of nature. And that’s good. I like nature.” Additionally, she goes to Hawaii to visit Clay and his family, and gets to spend time with Erica and her family, who live minutes away from Sandy and Nick.
Sandy has been a part of AMHA since 2003, when Pete Francis, Sandy’s neighbor growing up, recruited the Koniksons for the Board of Directors. Now Sandy is a host at the cottage and serves on the Board. She says her favorite part of being at AMHA is that it “ties me to old Alderwood and the roots I grew up with.” She also loves Heritage Park: “The grounds are beautiful. And the Wickers building—I never thought that would make it here. It had that fire when it was on Alderwood Mall Parkway [in 2000], and I thought, ‘That’s the end of that.’”
With her family nearby and plenty of nature all around her, Sandy says she couldn’t be happier. “Born and raised here, and just really, really appreciate it. It could be warmer weather, but all in all, it’s a beautiful place. It’s such a gorgeous state.”