“Home is where the heart is.” That’s how the old saying goes, and it might be true. Just ask recently appointed president Dr. David King. For the past 66 days, home has been room 300 of the Cambria Suites for King and his wife, Winnie.
King checked into the Cambria Suites on the evening of Jan. 8 — the night before the beginning of the spring semester. For Dr. and Mrs. King, room 300 has served as a temporary home during a time of transition.
The idea of staying in a hotel for a couple months was something the Kings intended on doing while they adjusted to a significant change in career and location.
“Originally, we were going to ‘occupy Malone’ and put up a tent, but David said the tent would be a little cold,” Winnie said.
“David and Winnie’s great adventure”
David said staying in a hotel has also freed the Kings from having to buy a new house in the middle of an already hectic period of transition.
“When we were kind of deciding that, Winnie said, ‘You know, we’re just going to look at this as David and Winnie’s great adventure,’” David said. “And it has been. When it comes right down to it, in a two-room suite in a hotel, we have more than we need. We have more than most people have.”
The room the Kings are staying in is a two-room suite, although David said “a kitchenette would be stretching the word.” He said the stay in the hotel has enabled them to get to know many hotel staff members on a first-name basis. Winnie said she has found that certain chefs cook better eggs for breakfast than others do.
According to David, he and his wife have to improvise to find time to eat meals together in the evening without always going out to eat, which includes buying meals that are easy to prepare (such as salads) and bringing them back to the suite. Winnie said they have shared meals on a rickety card table before.
[pullquote]Winnie said this: It’s kind of like we have a chance to live together in a dorm room, which we didn’t have a chance to do in college obviously,” David said.[/pullquote]
In addition to the challenges of living in a relatively small space for an extended period of time, the stay in the hotel has also impacted Winnie’s interior design business. Winnie, who is the owner of Environments HC, still regularly commutes to Pennsylvania to help clients.
“It’s much harder for me than for David because he has his office and job, but I haven’t established clients in the area,” she said.
New home, new opportunities
By staying in a hotel and not immediately moving into a new house, the Kings have been able to ease their way into a transition that occurred during the middle of the academic year. The stay in a hotel has also enabled the Kings to feel less rushed as they search for a new home — which they may have found. David said the couple was actively pursuing a condominium located fairly close to campus in North Canton.
“I will say there’s not a calendar on the wall with X’s, but we are anxious to get into this condo,” he said.
David said their new home, if they end up completing the purchase, will not be large enough to host a large amount of students — a problem they already face at the hotel. According to David, this means that the Kings will make a stronger effort to meet students on campus and utilize Malone’s facilities.
Part of the reason the Kings are interested in a condominium rather than a larger house is because they are going to be keeping their home in Pennsylvania.
The Kings themselves may not be the only ones looking forward to moving into the new condominium. Winnie said the Kings have a cat named Kozmo that is still back home in Pennsylvania. Kozmo was named after the character from the popular sitcom Seinfeld, of which David is a big fan.
An experience and a memory
Overall, the search for a new home and an extended stay in a hotel has only been part of the transition to Malone for David and Winnie. David said the Malone community has been very welcoming and hospitable so far.
“There’s a palpable sense of readiness at Malone,” he said. “We feel that among the students and we feel that among the staff.”
In addition to warmth and receptivity, David said he has also encountered a lot of good handshakes since arriving at Malone — something he didn’t experience quite as frequently back east.
“I haven’t had one ‘dead fish’ handshake [at Malone],” he said with a laugh.
At a recent Student Senate meeting, David recalled Winnie saying that she and her husband were “falling in love with Malone.”
[pullquote]There are some things in life that are better as a memory than they are as an experience,” he said. “This has been a good experience, but it’s going to be a better memory.”[/pullquote]
“Not that there wasn’t already a lot of love that got us here,” David said. “But to be here on the ground and for Winnie to say that to students that early on, that’s a good indicator, a good barometer measure.”
For Winnie, being at Malone fulfills a sense of calling.
“This is a transitional time for us,” she said. “Where we are together is clearly where God has called us.”
The Kings have yet to completely put this transitional time behind them, but when they do, David said they’ll see the entire experience — staying at a hotel for two months included — as something that was all worth it in the end.
“There are some things in life that are better as a memory than they are as an experience,” he said. “This has been a good experience, but it’s going to be a better memory.”