Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Land of the Midnight Sun

There are so many memories of Alaska that it would be very hard to put them all into a blog. We were very fortunate to be stationed at Elmendorf AFB twice, and lots of memories were built both times. The first tour was from 1960-1964, so in today's blog I will share some of those highlights.

When we first moved up to Alaska, we lived in a trailer park in Muldoon, just outside the Anchorage city limits. This was a grand time in the lives of my brother and I. We learned all those fun winter activities, such as ice skating, sledding, building snowmen, igloos and forts. It really was a child’s winter wonderland. 

It was a very cold place to live in the winter, and required some actions that weren’t necessary at many of our other bases, such as plugging in your car at night to make sure it would start the next day. And something that was done a lot… shoveling, shoveling, and more shoveling. But it was also a place where you could make your own ice rink in the back yard and see the awesome Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).  During the winter months, darkness sets in and stays for the better part of the day.  It is very weird.  It feels like you are wandering around at dusk but all day long.  Then the opposite happens in the summer where you have daylight for long periods of time.  In June, the sun could still be up close to midnight. Because of the long hours of sun, flowers, vegetables and other things that grow in the summer, tend to get very large.  Our friends grew some zucchini one year that were like a foot and a half long.  They made lots of zucchini bread.

The Muldoon trailer park we lived in was Rangeview Trailer Park. It had a little stream that ran behind it. I can remember my parents warning us about the dangers of getting too close, falling in, going under the ice, and freezing from the cold water. Did we listen? Of course not, and one day we were down by the stream when my brother Kevin, fell in. Talk about a scary moment. I just knew that everything that mom and dad had told us was about to come true. However, he was pulled out and although cold and scared, was okay. I’m sure our parents were fit to be tied. Kind of like the time my mother looked out the front window and saw the two of us running across the roof of the neighbor’s trailer. 

Me in front of our Rangeview Trailer Park home
Oh it didn't stop there. The icing on the cake came the day that we went to run errands on the base with my mother.  It was at the time that people were getting off work. Traffic was usually quite heavy at this time, with everyone ready to get home. Mom stopped to fill up the car with gas and went in to pay for it. Famous last words, she told us to not get into the front seat while she was gone. That was the time when cars would go into gear without the brake being set. So, the minute mom was out of sight, my brother jumps into the front seat and hits the gearshift. We are now rolling into the road cutting off traffic at the stoplight. Mom came out and there was no car! Then turning around, she saw the car and figured out what had happened. She came running over, not sure what she would see but found us with no harm or injuries.  She said that when she came up to the car, there stood Kevin, at the wheel, with a big, proud smile on his face.  We had rolled right into a huge snowbank, cushioning our stop.  She was so furious, yet so relieved that we were okay. We had fun and lots of adventures while growing up.  

We eventually moved onto Elmendorf AFB and lived in an apartment type building on Apricot Street. Little did we know that our next time there, we would live on the same street, just at the opposite end.

Do you remember the show Mannix?  I don't remember it well, except maybe what I saw in reruns. Sometime while we were there, Mike Connors came up to Alaska and we were able to see him. Mom got dad to take a picture of her standing behind him.  Look at the smile on her face.  She was thrilled to see him in person.  

Mike Connors from the show Mannix
with mom and Kevin in the background.
My parents were very outdoorsy and loved to camp and fish. My brother and I were out camping with them from a very early age. We started out sleeping in tents and slowly moved up to a tiny little trailer just big enough for one person to turn around. But we thought it was heaven after sleeping in the tent. Mom and dad told us one time that they tied a rope around several trees and put us inside the rope and told us to stay and silly us…we did. During our four-year stay at Elmendorf, we made many trips to the woods. 

Me, Mom, Kevin and our little camping trailer

While at Elmendorf, we participated in our dear friends, Jim and Sandy Paxton’s, wedding. It was a real family affair. I was the flower girl. Kevin was the ring bearer and mom and dad stood up with them. We would later be stationed with them again in Alaska, and I would babysit their boys. To this day we are still great friends with these folks.  They have become part of the family. That happens a lot in the military. Those you are stationed with become like family. Many times, you are too far from your hometown and can’t get back often, especially from places like Alaska, so the people you are stationed with help you celebrate your holidays, birthdays, new babies, etc.  They become lifelong friends!

The Paxton's Wedding
Today's Terri's Tibit:  We became grandparents again last night at 6:57 pm, when our newest granddaughter was born.  Joleyna MaeEllen was 8 lbs 1 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.  She is an absolutely beautiful baby and all are doing well!  Congrats Stephanie (my daughter), Bobby and big sister Hannah! We love you!


Ann Morton said...

Terri - this is a wonderful blog with great stories and pictures. Your kids and grandkids will treasure this. Congratulations on your newest granddaughter!

Terri Hatch Politi said...

Thank you Ann!

sage said...

Congratulations on the birth of a granddaugther I was always jealous of you getting to live in Alaska

Terri Hatch Politi said...

Jeff, as much as you love the outdoors, you would really enjoy Alaska! We're loving on the new granddaughter and feeling very blessed!