by John Parker
My parents came to Anchorage in 1946.
First Dad in April 1946, and Mom in late June 1946.
Here are a few of her thoughts about life in Anchorage at that time.
September 30, 1946
The house she describes is the first home they built on Fireweed Lane. It's where the New North Star Elementary school is today.
“I have two of my three pine floors painted now, and what an improvement it is. What fun we had painting the kitchen. Our house has one exit through the kitchen. We were faced with the necessity of painting ourselves in and going out through a window for a couple of days or painting ourselves out and camping on the doorstep. Fortunately, our windows are not far from the ground.
We aren’t the only ones though, whose houses are furnished in what is known locally as “Blazo Period” to the uninitiated – the boxes the 5 gallon cans of fuel gas are packed in. You’d be surprised how many stools and benches have their beginnings as a nail keg.
At present, I have stored under the house an old lard tub which is destined to become the base of a coffee table. Many are frilled aristocratically and (unreadable word) dressing table hereabouts dare not lift its skirts for fear of showing orange crate legs. Nothing goes to waste here. Even the dirt is used.
When you dig foundations you remove a foot of topsoil, which you place on your garden spot. And seven feet of gravel, which you put on your road, having first removed the topsoil from the road and scattered it on your garden spot. You save your cans to hold nails and mixed paint. Your table scraps you either feed to the dog or dig into a compost pile. Smoke is about the only thing that escapes reuse into the fourth generation, and someday someone’s going to find an answer to that.
We visited the Johnsons the other day. They’re one of the couples who lived in tents last year. Mrs. J says when you come up here there’s so much to do that you can just wear yourself out thinking about it.
January 27, 1947
Another year crossed off, and I’m glad to see it go.
We’ve been in Alaska more than seven months, but I still can’t believe we’re really in fabulous Alaska, country of dog sled, gold rushes, and igloos.
Especially since we haven’t seen any of these.
Actually, all we have seen is a rather average little boom town with a heavy blanket of snow.”
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