Stuck on an island
Our family arrived at Camp Island near Petersburg in Southeast Alaska on Sept. 9, 1959.
How we got there is quite a story.
We were living in Charleston, Oregon. My father was always a wanderlust, and we worked our way west from our birthplace in Chicago, (my two brothers and one sister).
My father saw a personal ad in the Portland newspaper where this CPA was looking to run a hunting lodge in Alaska and needed a hunting guide. This was right up my father's alley as he was a great outdoorsman, fisherman, and hunter.
So, we packed up and headed to Portland and stayed with this family until it was time to head for Alaska.
Two families, numbering ten people, drove from Portland to Prince Rupert in a 1957 Cadillac. Yes, it was crowded.
We caught a flight to Ketchikan where we were held for nine hours because they questioned my mother to see if she was an American Citizen. She was from Paris, France where my dad married her in World War II.
They finally got things straightened out, and we headed for Camp Island, flying in a Grumman Goose seaplane.
We got to the island by landing in the water, and then we embarked from the plane.
At that time, there was one house and a 12×12 shack. Our family stayed in the shack and the other family got the house.
After just three days, this CPA and family apparently freaked out over the wilderness and called a plane to come and get them. We watched as they boarded the seaplane and left us alone on the island.
As a result, we were stuck on that island for four months.
We lived on ducks and geese and one day my father spotted a bear when the tide was way out and went after him. I followed and saw the bear running and then watched my dad lean up against a massive chunk of ice as he dropped that bear from 450 to 500 yards away with one shot from his 308.
That bear was delicious when you were not picky.
One day, we were in the shack and my father said, “Everyone quiet”. He heard a boat, and it was deer hunters from Petersburg. He ran to the water's edge and fired off two rounds from the over and under 410/22 he bought me. They heard the shots, saw him and jumped into their power skiff and rescued our family.
I will always remember Ron Hasbrouck as he was the captain of the boat. My father gave him my brand-new gun as a gift of gratitude.
They brought us to Petersburg, where we lived until we came to Anchorage on January 3, 1962.
I enjoyed all that Anchorage had to offer. The Bun Drive-In, the Varsity Show, Fur Rondy, Cinnamon Cinder and more.
I never left Alaska, my roots are so deep here. I share memories with everyone about growing up here.
Our move to Alaska was not normal, but you know I was never scared on that island. I knew my father could and would do anything to keep us safe. I was only ten at the time, so I might not have realized some of the things that could have happened. But we made it, though.