Where to start?

So I lost my job recently. That is probably the best reason I can give for starting to blog again. Not having a job during the summer months means I get to spend a whole lot of time with the kiddo, do yard/house work, read, travel, and sit on my bum. Blogging seems like a better alternative to sitting on my bum … at least for some of the time.

I’m not sure I know where to start this blog. I often start with where my life is currently and go from there, but that often leaves out too much back story and I have to explain a lot … So … Lets start at the very beginning … a very good place to start?

I grew up in Alaska. Depending on where I am in the country, that either elicits surprise, intrigue, or a “that’s nice dear”. I tend to like the intrigued reaction the best. Surprise is eye-roll worthy for me. Since moving away from Alaska, I’ve meet more people with ties to Alaska than I thought possible growing up, so I don’t really understand why it’s so surprising to people any more. Living in Texas and being from Alaska should garner no more surprise than living in Texas and being from Vermont.

Intrigue makes the most sense. Alaska is unlike any other state in the union. Where most state’s populations are pretty even throughout the state, Alaska’s major cities are miles apart. Anchorage and Fairbanks, the 2 largest cities (last I checked), are over 360 miles apart. In between them are dozens of tiny towns and villages with populations smaller than the neighborhood I currently live in. The population of Dallas is more than the population of the entire state by almost a half million people. Think of the ratio of land to people given Alaska has 660,000 square miles of land to Dallas’ 380. These facts, as well as many others, made growing up in Alaska different by far. Intrigue makes sense and opens the door to conversation.

I love Alaska. The Last Frontier will forever be my home. My family has lived in the great state since the Gold Rush in 1898. I’ve had relatives referenced in Alaska history books. I will always have family there. I have no doubt of that. Currently, my parents, 3 sisters, grandmother, a host of aunts and uncles, and dozens of cousins reside in the state with no plans of leaving any time soon. I love them for this. It gives me excuses to visit as often as I can.

Being that we arrived with the Gold Rush, you can rightfully assume that we came for the gold. Until the early 1990’s, my family’s mine was active every summer. I spent the best summers I can remember out there; catching algae in the creek and playing hide and go seek around the cabin with my cousins. If I needed a break, my dad would take me for a ride in the cat; 4/5 year old me called it the cat but it was a CAT front end loader. Dad would let me steer or shift on occasion. I only ever put it in the ditch once … or so my grandma tells me.

I was pretty young, but I still remember the smell of the dirt running through the sluice box, getting yelled at for wondering too close to the CAT while dad was moving dirt, running from bees in the woods, the night we had a bear in camp, eating grape jelly on my pancakes, and sneaking into the closet to eat Grandpa’s candy when no one was looking. Memories I wouldn’t trade for any “normal” childhood that’s for sure. I don’t have many stories to tell since I was barely 6 when price of gold dropped enough that it was more expensive to run the place than we were dredging up, and my memories are hazy at best, but I lived 19 years in that state; there are other stories to tell. No doubt.

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2 thoughts on “Where to start?

  1. Thanks for a great posting. I have just moved from Alaska, because of my health (at least that’s what my son insists is the reason). And though only 20 years in the state the last fourteen of those were off grid in the wilderness up North, and I too have memories that make thinking about them painful.

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  2. Thanks Pete for the comment. I’m sorry you had to leave AK. I’m sure your son just wants to keep you around as long as possible – I have half a mind to make my Dad move next year – but I have no reason to, other than we miss him. Other than summer’s at the mine or the lake, I never lived off the grid. That must have been a great adventure! From the look of your homestead on your blog you did it right! No Into the Wild nonsense! – I’m sure I’ll rant about Mr. Supertramp later. That story gets my blood boiling.

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