by Maggie Wilkinson
From 1956-1959 I lived in this little log cabin in Bootlegger Cove, Anchorage, Alaska.
It was a momentous time in my life, a time of transition. I was 10 when we moved into the garage apartment in the alley and 13 when we moved to a bigger home because our family was growing.
I went to Fifth grade in 1956 in a Quonset hut on the Park Strip where my teacher was a butcher from the neighborhood grocery store. There were many more students in Anchorage than there were teachers, so the Anchorage School District hired anyone who applied. It was a very difficult year for me.
But things turned around because in 1957 and in the Sixth grade I went to the brand new Inlet View School and my teacher was a man who made an extra effort to learn about each of his students. He gave me my nickname of “Maggie” and that made a very positive difference in my life. I felt seen, recognized and understood.
In 1958, I was in the 7th grade at what is now the location of the Performing Arts Center.
My mother fell in love with and married my step-father. He was a pilot for Reeve Aleutian Airways, and we were all very proud of him. Life was good. I had a new bike, I made a little extra money from mowing lawns for $1.00/hr (I learned to charge by the lawn instead of by the hour!) My best friend lived a block away, and she had a TV that we watched every day after school.
In 1959, when I was in 8th grade, my little sister Betsy was born, and I didn’t know how my life could get any better. The summers lasted forever and joy filled every day of my life. All of this and more happened in that little log cabin more than 65 years ago.
Recently, my dogs and I walked at ”Betsy’s Park” (Elderberry Park) and then we walked to the log cabin which is very close by.
I spent a little time there, remembering how I played marbles and jumped rope in the alley, picked pussy willows in the Spring, and I got a Chesapeake puppy (named Cinnabar). Many days were spent climbing high up in the cottonwood trees, chasing the train and getting the engineer to blow the train whistle.
I climbed on icebergs on the mudflats in the Winter, played kickball at the park in the summer and had to be home when the sun touched Susitna’s tummy. I remember riding my bike so fast down the 5th Avenue hill and then peddling hard back up to do it all again. In the Winter we rode our sleds down the hill and swept the sand off it after the sanding truck went by. In the summer, we jumped over the water spraying from the water truck that came by to keep the dust down on the dirt roads.
It was a good childhood.
I remember a lot of it, and I am truly thankful.
It’s such a cute little log cabin, and it’s packed full of childhood memories.