Friday, April 24, 2015

Alaska: Even Better the Second Time Around, Part 3

Our family loved to camp and we would go out a lot during the summer months. Our favorite place to go was Quartz and Crescent Creek Campgrounds. We would go out rain or shine. Mom, dad and Kevin loved to fish but I found it very frustrating as I didn’t have the patience. As a teenage girl, I couldn't figure out where the fun was in standing on the side of a river, waiting for a fish to jump up and take my bait. But there must be something about fishing because so many people liked to do it. My mom and dad loved to fish and it was rare if my mom didn't come back with a bunch she had caught.  So I decided that there was only one way to find out what they saw in this sport and that was to join them.  Before I left Alaska, I was going to catch a fish, no matter how long it took. So I got my rod and headed down to the creek. 

I have to say, it is not something that I would seek out to do now but the thrill of the catch was pretty exciting.  I got a bite and fought my catch for a little while and reeled in my prize.   I had caught a 22 inch Dolly Varden trout.  After that day, I never caught another one near that size but I was happy I had finally seen what everyone loved about fishing.  

We all owned waders in my family.  The tall water boots that you wear to get in the water to fish.  Lots of times we would just wade out in the creek and play in the water or build a dam and then take it down.  

There were a lot of girls in the families we camped with, so we would get together in one of the trailers and play Canasta for hours. Or we would take hikes, never straying far from camp.  We didn't want to run up on any bears.

We had awnings that we would put up over the picnic tables so we could eat outside, even if it rained.  Mom cooked a lot of our meals right on the campfire.  We had a big piece of stainless steel, that was about the size of the fire pit and we would cook pancakes, bacon, eggs, hamburgers, etc. on it.  Some of the best eating came off that big old piece of seasoned metal.  

During the cold months, we didn't camp much but that didn't stop us from being outside, enjoying different activities.  It was not unusual for us to get a bunch of families together and go out to the Rec Area, on base, for sledding or snowmobiling. We would build a fire outdoors and we might cook hot dogs or other things for lunch and would use it for warmth too. We always had so much fun on those outings.

We were very active while in Alaska this second time.  Kevin and I learned to snow ski at Elmendorf's, Hillberg Ski Area, which had beginning and intermediate slopes. It was the perfect place for new skiers.  They had the disk and t-bar lifts, which were a challenge, but before long we had no problems on them.  We used to ski in our jeans.  We would use Scotchguard to help waterproof them but after being out all day, they still got soaking wet.  We didn't care.  We loved it. I think it was $12.00 a day to rent skis and for the lifts.  A real bargain compared with today's lift ticket prices at other places. 

Our family in Alaska the second time.
One of the things we did for PE during the winter was play Broom Hockey, also known as Broomball.  There was a rink right at the school that we would use.  The game is very much like real hockey but with a broom and a ball. You are on skates and you try to get the ball in the goal.  

We liked to roller skate too.  The base had a Roller Rink and it was very popular with the junior high age group.  All our friends would meet up there and we would do all kinds of different fun "skates", like skating backwards.  We would get together with our friends for the holidays and by mid afternoon all of us kids would want to go skating. Our parents would act like they weren't going to take us but would finally give in.  We think they were glad to have us go but were just playing with us.  We always had a blast when we went.  

My Grandfather Hatch passed away in 1972, so we went back to North Carolina for the funeral. I remember there were so many people there that they were standing outside. A lot of people came out to show their love for ole Skybo.  We got to see family while there.  It had been three years since we had been back to the Lower 48 and North Carolina.  I left Alaska with long hair but had my cousin cut it into a shag while back there.  Shags were very popular then.  

I was on the Student Council and served as Secretary.  We got so much accomplished that year but our biggest success, according to the students, was the acquisition of a soda machine.  Everyone loved it.  We also sponsored several dances.  We had a set of twins in our class, Vince and Wayne Watson, and they were both officers too.  They were active in so many things and were lots of fun and always cutting up.  Where are they now?  I would love to know where a lot of the people that went to Orion are now.  (If you happen upon this blog and you were there, let me know.)   

The soda machine we worked so hard to get.
Someone, when signing my yearbook,
wrote in the "Beer" as a joke. (1)
I went on my first "date" in my ninth grade year.  His name was Rick and he was older than I was.  I couldn't car date so we walked to the movie theater to see whatever was playing at the time.  That relationship didn't work out but his family moved to Missouri at the same time we did so we went out again there.  Still nothing.  

I did meet a boy from my grade that I liked and, of course, I fell head over heels for him right before we moved away.  His name was Eddie Bannick. He was a basketball player and very quiet. My heart broke to have to leave him.  I thought my world was ending.  He promised that he would come to Missouri one day to see me.  I thought, yeah right, easy to say now.  But sure enough, three years later, when I was a freshman in college, I got a call that he was in town.  He was driving from Alaska to Texas and stopped by.  He came back through again a few years later but by that time I was in a serious relationship.  It was still great to see him though.  I think he went back to Alaska but I lost track of him along the way.  Unfortunately, that happened with a lot of my friends over the years, during our many moves.  And we were about to make another one.

Today's Terri's Tidbit:  I love doing genealogy and I follow a lot of other genealogists and their blogs.  One of them is Jana Iverson Last and her blog Jana's Genealogy and Family History. Recently she posted the cutest video that I thought was worth sharing.   Watch "Grandparent's Little Secrets", from Studio C, by clicking here.  Do you have a skeleton or two in your family history closet?

(1)  1973 Arctic Highlights Yearbook, Orion Jr. High School, Elmendorf AFB, pg. 7

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