This week we’re hearing from Cece Esparza in Kodiak. Esparza has been a social worker all over the state and is the longest volunteer host at KMXT in Kodiak. She’s originally from California.
ESPARZA: I left when I was 17. At that time, I had a boyfriend who had a sister who was a mother superior in Mexico City, and so I was going to go to Mexico City and be the secretary for the convent. And so, I was all set to do that and then the bishop in Mexico decided that, because I was like 19 or 20… at the time we were talking about it, that I had to live in the convent. And I said, “No way, Jose. I ‘ve not been under anyone’s thumb since I was 17.” It was very, very restrictive. And I said I can’t live like that.
I had just decided then that I was going to apply to Berkeley because I had not gone to school other than high school. And I made an application to Berkeley, when this opportunity to come to Alaska happened, so I came to Alaska.
Today is my 50th anniversary of coming to Alaska. I came to Alaska June 1, 1968. I had a one-way ticket, I had $90 to my name, I had a suitcase of clothes and I had a temporary place to stay.
In Anchorage, in those days, many of the side streets, the fronts in town, were not paved. That was before the Parks Highway opened and there was just two lanes. And that was before they cut all the trees down by Elmendorf. Because I can remember crying when I went down the road because they had chopped all the trees down to make four lanes, at that time. Now it’s six or eight lanes. But yeah. It was a long, long time ago… far, far away.