Jana Ariane Nelson
“I packed one suit, two shirts and two ties,” Dad said to Mom the night before he left Portland. He had accepted a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Anchorage and needed to be presentable for work, but had little room in the old Plymouth for much of anything in addition to camping equipment, food, fishing gear and his beloved guns. Read more.
It could perhaps be described as a minimalist Christmas, that Christmas of 1948. Our household goods were stashed in Seattle with many other boxes and crates and barrels headed for the Last Frontier. Good foresight that Mother didn’t ship her houseplants. Read more.
I am standing in Red Square. The pentagonal luminescent Ruby Stars glitter on top of five Kremlin towers, each an enormous jewel in the black night sky. In front of me is St. Basil’s Cathedral. It takes my breath away and is by far the most vibrant and enchanting building I have ever seen. Read more.
Henceforth Mother always referred to it as “Ash Thursday”. It began like most other summer days. At age 11, Jack and I claimed our independence by staying away from the house as long as was possible, or as long as we could get away with it, coming in only to forage for food or some other necessity... But, as the morning wore on, sunlight went from normal to practically non-existent. Read more.
Flying back home to Oregon from a family wedding in Anchorage, I cannot keep from reflecting on her changes over the years since I moved away. During this visit especially, I am aware of how “grown-up” Anchorage has become since we moved there in 1948, when the population was about 15,000. How different she is now compared to the “early days”! I think of my Alaskan grandchildren, who have grown up in a much different world than we did; theirs is a world full of cell phones and video games and wireless Internet. They are used to the hustle-bustle of modern Anchorage, riddled with freeways, coffee kiosks and retail outlets on every corner. Read more.