Gene Brown is a 1960 AHS graduate who played trumpet in the Navy for seven years before going into banking. During his Navy years he began writing short stories and continues to write for the pleasure of friends and family. Having retired from 'real' work in 2006 and a widower since 2008, Gene now plays trumpet in several local swing and jazz bands and is working on an historical novel about Japan, his wife's homeland. His family owned the flying school at Merrill Field in the late '40s, where he was a frequent passenger in a Super Cub.
Our family moved from Long Beach, California to Anchorage in the fall of 1946.
Soon after arrival, they purchased the Larsen Alaskan Distributors flying school and local Piper Aircraft dealership, located at Merrill Field.
During my sophomore year at Anchorage High School, in 1958, I sat first chair first trumpet in the band, as well as playing first trumpet in the high school orchestra and playing in the the Anchorage Little Symphony.
In my mind, and certainly in the opinion of my trumpet teacher and most of my friends, I was the best trumpet instrumentalist in the state.
Jesse Lee Home, in the late 1940's and early '50's, was a Methodist church sponsored home for Alaskan Native orphan children. It was located several miles outside the town of Seward, Alaska.
When I was perhaps eight, in 1949, my parents were active in the Methodist church and accepted positions as houseparents in the boys' dorm of the Home. Our family moved from Anchorage to Seward, and my two older brothers and I lived with the other boys at the Home.
Many Alaskans we knew were outdoors people – you had to enjoy the harsh weather and pioneer living conditions or you wouldn’t survive in the ‘olden’ days – and we were certainly no exception.
Our family used these small aircraft much as the average family in the South 48 used their automobile: We took our weekend trips in a plane.