Twenty years in Castle Pines –
Starting the next chapter
By Elean Gersack; photos courtesy of Kathy Hudgen
In 2002, Kathy Hudgen and her husband Ron, packed their belongings, her mom, three kids, and several pets and relocated from Scottsdale, Arizona to Castle Pines. Neighbors in the HOA2 subdivision quickly turned up to say hello, deliver baked goods, and even offer a neatly snow blown driveway and assistance starting a pilot light. “It was such a welcoming community from the beginning,” said Hudgen.
In the 20 years since, three children were raised, two grandchildren were born, many friends were made, and a husband and father passed away. A lot of life has been lived during this time. Hudgen is remarkably proud of her now grown children Kendra (32), Andrew (30), and Chelsea (29). She beams as she talks about them – the teacher and mom, the car and art aficionado, and the engineer and baker. She regularly receives unsolicited compliments about them from friends and neighbors. “People always ask – what did you do?” she smiled.
Hudgen’s emotions show as she shares about her husband. Ron was the quiet to her social. His dry sense of humor kept them all on their toes. “You never knew what would come out of his mouth,” she smiled. One thing that is abundantly clear is her gratitude for her family and neighbors during Ron’s illness. They were married 40 years when he passed two years ago.
“It’s very multi-generational,” said Hudgen regarding her home. Kendra and her family are living there while awaiting the completion of a new home two miles away. Chelsea also lives there presently, and Hudgen’s almost 90-year-old mom has been there since the beginning in her own basement apartment.
After the arrival of her grandchildren – McKinley (3 1/2 years) and Paxton (10 months), who affectionately call her “Mimi” – Hudgen and Kendra had an epiphany. Eager to retire after being a full-time working mom but still in need of health insurance, the two discovered it was less expensive to pay for Hudgen’s health insurance than it was to pay for daycare.
“I feel so privileged to be able to care for my grandbabies,” gushed Hudgen.
Now, Hudgen gets to walk McKinley to preschool at Buffalo Ridge Elementary, take both she and Paxton on explorations to the library, the zoo and beyond and quite simply give them love like only a grandmother can do. Thinking about being back at the elementary school that her younger two children attended gives her pause about how many years have passed, but she is quick to note that she still feels quite young.
Besides family, Hudgen’s other pastimes include early morning lap swimming at the HOA2 pool and wedding and prom dress alterations (she was a synchronized swimmer and a seamstress in high school). Although dancing in the water is old news, swimming laps is great for exercise and gives her cherished time with neighborhood friends.
It’s always a full house at the Hudgen home. Family, friends, and neighbors are always welcome, without invitation. “It’s a community I feel so blessed to be a part of,” said Hudgen.