Thursday, July 25, 2013

Growing Up in Alaska

Mother always told us not to play with matches. One morning, several of us were playing on the tidal flats below the house near an old derelict ship wrecked there years earlier. That old ship, nearly tipped on its side, all black with decay, fascinated me. I wondered what stories it could tell. I never did learn how it got there. It's gone now, taken out along with our children's home, by the highway department when they put in the modern Eagan Drive.

Anyway, that morning, I found a pack of paper matches. We were away from the house, so I knew there was no danger of burning it down. I decided to try to light one of the matches. When I struck the match, it flared into flames and set the whole book on fire. Before I could drop it, the flames licked at my thumb and immediately raised a blister. My mother often quoted Scripture to drive home a point when disciplining us. That day, I learned the meaning of "Be sure your sin will find you out." To this day, I will not light a paper match.

Often on Sunday afternoons, we children were required to take naps so we could go the evening service at church. One of my fondest memories growing up was of waking up to my mother playing the piano and singing hymns in her beautiful soprano voice.

For a while, a lovely young Eskimo woman and her baby lived with us. My brother, sister, and I sang together on special occasions in church when we were young. The Eskimo lady taught us to sing "Into My Heart" in Eskimo. I can still sing it even now. Mother also wrote songs for us to sing. "I Wish I Could Have Been There" is one we sang for the church Christmas programs.

Every Christmas after the program, each of the children in the church was given a red net stocking filled with ribbon candy, chocolate drops, various nuts, plus an orange and an apple. The fruit was a special treat, because fresh fruit had to be flown to Alaska and was very expensive. My parents could rarely afford fresh fruit or dairy. We ate canned vegetables, fruit, and juice, and reconstituted tinned evaporated milk or powdered milk. Milk is another thing I don't particularly like to this day. In spite of all this, I never felt deprived. We didn't know anything else, until we made our trips back East to visit our grandparents. Actually, I felt it a privilege to grow up in Alaska.

No comments:

Post a Comment