Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Alaskan Sister

Back in 1975 my sister (Goldy) and her then live-in boyfriend (now husband, Gold Digger), being the hippies they were, packed up their VW Van, and drove to the last frontier. In Alaska, you could still homestead. When they arrived they did several odd jobs to survive; and indeed, it was survival. They had no where to live. As my sister said, they lived out in the bush.

They plotted out gold mining claims for a large property owner. Living in a tent with a camping stove and dutch oven and supplies they could carry from their van on the long hike. She told me stories of digging out the snow in area large enough to accommodate their tent. The deeper they dug, the warmer they stayed. Fine dining included, black tailed deer , canned vegetables, and fresh baked bread. Goldy said she would mix her dough and sleep with it in her sleeping bag so it would rise and not freeze. Goldy and Gold Digger panned for gold for extra money as well.

My Aunt and Uncle owned small hunting lodge and lived in Alaska for two years. Goldy and Gold Digger grew tired of living in the bush and working for the man. Cold and tired, they trekked out of the bush, back to their hippie van for the long drive back to town. As luck would have it, their love bus broke down. On a remote highway, out in the middle of nowhere, it died. Goldy said it was a miracle. They spotted a truck and waved it down. Can you believe it? It was my Aunt and Uncle. They stayed with the relatives for a couple of days and it was time; time to homestead.

They packed their tent, clothes, and supplies and paid a Cessna pilot to take them to a small island off the coast of Alaska called Montigue Island. They built a log cabin and small barn. Of course, the cabin had no electricity and no running water. There were three other couples living on the island. A community hut was built were the islanders would eat dinner together. All couples took turns cooking. They hung their black tailed deer outside the hut and would lower it to get cuts of meat. A small plane flew in every three days delivering supplies and mail.

They cut tree bulbs and crafted sconces and furniture. They combed the beach with a metal detector to find treasures, and panned for gold so they could afford supplies to live.

As nature has it, Goldy found she was with child. Natural childbirth was the hippie way and Montigue Midas was born. (Yes, this what they named their son.) Montigue was for the island and Midas after the mythical King Midas with the golden touch. Goldy would strap Monty on her back, strap on her 357, and hall water back to her home. She had to protect herself and her baby from the bears. Goldy was and is tough as hell; all 110 lbs of her.

Around two years went by. Goldy and Monty were out in the barn when Monty fell from the loft and broke his collarbone. Poor baby, they would have wait three days before the mail and supply plane would arrive so they could take him to a doctor.

That was it. Goldy insisted they move back to civilization for the safety of her child. Living in Wasilla, Alaska, my sister is no longer a Kansan, but a true Alaskan.

A picture of my Alaskan sister and brother (who lives in Lori's town). I love those guys...