The Clyde Family

Karen Grossman: 30 Years of Thursday Nights

Karen Grossman

When Kären Grossman retired from her job at Island County Health Department six years ago, she thought about the things she loved most–movies, art, and wine—and promptly added two more part-time jobs to her schedule. Now she not only sells tickets at The Clyde, but also pours nectar of the gods at Whidbey Island Winery and sells paintings at Brackenwood Gallery. With creativity, she’s fashioned herself the perfect post-retirement life.

Kären first came to Whidbey 34 years ago to buy the Dog House with her (then) husband—not many people know that!–and to find a family-oriented community to raise their daughter Erin. Her husband carded then-31-year-old Blake on his first visit, which still delights him.

It wasn’t long before Kären realized that spending hours and hours in a bar was not really for her. She worked as a nurse at the Langley Clinic in the 1980’s and then for the Health Dept. for twenty years. “ I did many things during those years,” she says, “but most meaningful to me was work in the areas of child-abuse prevention (such as making home visits to parents involved with Child Protective Services) and HIV/AIDS (such as testing, counseling, and needle exchange).”

Kären is married to local builder Bob Grossman and they share three adult children—Erin, Cari, and Ryan–and three grandchildren. Their kids grew up enjoying the perks of having your mother/ stepmother volunteering in the box office in exchange for free movies. “Lynn asked me to fill in for her around the end of her pregnancy with Brook. It’s worked out well, because Bob and I are crazy movie fiends.”

She has been a consistently calm and elegant presence in the box office on Thursday nights for more than thirty years now, and a patron favorite. “I have had customers offer me ice cream, pizza, coffee and wine,” she says. “I haven’t taken them up on it though—it’s too hard to fit that stuff through the little window. I had a few customers over the recent years try to give me tips, but I just stick the money in the Magic Change Jar.”

“I love this job because it gives me a chance to see some friends I rarely run into any more,” she says. “I’ve worked longer than any other ticket seller [except Lynn], and I intend to work here until I really start screwing up with the money (more than I do already!!).”


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4 responses to “Karen Grossman: 30 Years of Thursday Nights”

  1. Ann Medlock says:

    Never knew about Karen and the Doghouse and hadn’t tracked that it’s Thursdays when I see her in the booth. Thanks for this good profile.

  2. Patty Willson says:

    It’s always a joy to see my friend at the ticket booth on Thursdays so I can get an experienced opinion of the movie beforehand.

  3. Diana says:

    Karen alone is an excellent excuse to come to the Clyde on thursday nights! Of course, we never need an excuse to come to the Clyde.

  4. Deb Asplund says:

    I remember all those events, (I know who the secret ex is!), the great warmth and care at the Langley Clinic, all the little kids we raised who are now 30 something. I will always love Whidbey, but am oh-so happy here in warm Florida. Love, Deb

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