Break Up in Anchorage

by Michael Dougherty

After a long, dark winter of cold, snow and ice, when Alaska starts to enjoy more daylight and warmer temperatures begin to melt away those winter blues, Alaskan's call it “break up.”

Near the end of one winter in Anchorage, Alaska, when I was only 3 years old, I went outside to play with my sister Anna and brother Tom. We noticed a small patch of dirt showing through the snow and ice. It was the most exciting thing to use, and I ran back into the house yelling “we saw dirt, we saw dirt.”

Of course, I scared my mom half to death. But then she realized that her little children thought that because of the snow and ice of winter, they would never see dirt, grass, or flowers again. So, Mom just laughed and smiled as she watched us admire a silly little patch of plain old dirt.

Spring time in Alaska means we can all start wearing a layer or two less of warm clothing and that the day is coming when we can chuck those big, clunky winter boots.

And although spring in and around Anchorage, where temperatures rise above freezing, is a happy time, it's also a dirty, slushy mess. Our cars and trucks are covered in dirt and mud, while pedestrians have to watch for cars and trucks spraying them with muddy water as vehicles drive through huge mushy mud puddles.

With all of this in mind, back in the 1970s, along with my engineer Joe Gill, I sat out to capture “break up” in a music video.

KAKM channel 7 had a one hour, weekly television magazine show called “Southcentral.” One of the things we did on the show was to put video to music. Now this was before the days of MTV and music videos, so ours were just referred to as “video essays”.

The video above is one of many that we put together. It was shot in and around Anchorage and in a parking lot at the University of Alaska at the Anchorage campus.

If you no longer live in Alaska, the video will no doubt remind you of those days when you wished you were driving a boat through the streets of Anchorage. Instead of driving your car through those never-ending muddy streets and slushy parking lots.

What are your memories of “break up” season in Anchorage?

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Breakup in Rogers Park
by: Joe Fournelle

In Rogers Park in Anchorage, roads weren't paved and there was no drainage on Galewood St.

My dad would get home from work and park in the melting snow.

It froze overnight, and the car was frozen in the ice.

Dad would have to call the Chevron service station at Fireweed and Gambell. The guy would show up in a Jeep with big push boards on the front and bump him out.

Dad finally had a load of dirt delivered and that raised the car out of the slush.

Love This
by: Marci

I had to walk seven blocks to work and learned early on to carry my work clothes in a plastic bag.

Dirt: 24/7/365
by: Jonathan Burton

Where my home is now, dirt can always be seen.

I like dirt.

But, every now and then experiencing a little "break-up" on 20th between "C" and Spenard Road again would put a grin on my face...

A cup of coffee at the White Spot would help too.

But, for now, I’m having to settle for a round of golf at 11:00am in my current hometown of Alamogordo, NM.

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