Jeanne Waite Follett
Jeanne Waite Follett has lived in Alaska since 1948, graduating from Anchorage High School in 1960. As a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News after high school, she covered the Alaska Court System in its infancy after statehood, as well as federal and municipal courts. She also worked in radio, as a legal secretary, cook, electrician, and in construction. She and her husband puchased the renowned Jockey Club roadhouse in Moose Pass and reopened it as Trail Lake Ladge. They retired after selling it in 1996.
Jeanne is an award-winning writer and now blogs at http://gullible-gulliblestravels.blogspot.com.
On their first Christmas together, my parents purchased a simple red aluminum foil star for the top of their small tabletop Christmas tree.
In the snapshot they stand on either side of the tree. The star has a large hole in the center, obviously meant for a tree light to be inserted from the back.
My friend Pauline died recently. From the time I heard that she was ill, and since she passed, I spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamo that was Pauline and the times when our paths crossed.
Pauline and I were friends, but not best friends. We didn’t hang out together, giggle about boys, or share our innermost teenage angst. Were we not classmates at Anchorage High School, we most likely never would have met.
Thirty-some years ago my friend Ramona had the use of her friend’s team of Malemute-McKenzie River huskies. These were working dogs, used by her friend Steve to haul freight and gear on Mt. McKinley for mountain climbing teams. During his off-season, Ramona ran them to keep them in shape.
Ramona and I decided to take on challenge one winter—we wanted to mush to the old copper mining town of McCarthy, deep in the Wrangell-St. Elias.
It wasn’t my favorite car. That would be the 1965 Ford Mustang.
No, the vehicle I want to tell you about wasn’t even a car. It was a Willys Jeep, surplus from World War II, no doubt.
When I hear the October rains thrumming on the roof, I think about Girdwood, the little ski resort town where I lived many years ago.
I lived there at a time in my life when I thought it utterly cool to have no telephone, no radio or television, no running water, no plumbing, and a little Quaker pot-burner oil stove for heat.
Not long after moving to Alaska, my mother almost called the cops on me.
Such was my transgression that I have little doubt the Anchorage cops would have enlisted the Territorial Police and the U.S. Marshals in hunting me down.