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Autobiography of Irene A. Jacobson


Chapter 6


The packers came and wrapped our things in waxed paper and put it in crates.  We boxed a lot of it ourselves, of course, but that waxed paper treatment floored me!  I still don't understand it.

We headed for Michigan, where my brother Howard had lined up a Chevy Greenbrier van.  We'd had two Plymouths, a sedan and a station wagon I'd used for car-pooling Daniel to school.  We sold the station wagon and drove North in the sedan, which we sold to Howard and Esther.  After a few days there, we went to NY, then headed West, visiting Ohio, Iowa, and seeing our wonderful country.  On the way, we stopped at places where we could get the required baby shots for Naomi.

One stop was at Palo Verde, where we were lucky enough to get a cabin and stay overnight.  Bernie took the boys to see the pueblos, and I stayed in the cabin with a sick Ruth and baby Naomi.  I would have like to go too, but well, that's the way it goes sometimes.

When we got to California, we had to visit Disneyland!  We had a motel across from the entrance, found a sitter for Naomi and enjoyed the evening at that fantastic place.

The drive up the California coast was beautiful.  We had excellent weather for the entire trip.

We drove up the coast of California, through Oregon and Washington, and arrived in Seattle in time to make the time we were supposed to fly to Fairbanks.  We spent time at a Howard Johnson motel that we would see again on trips through there.  It had a good swimming pool and we enjoyed that a lot.  Unfortunately, the maid took a towel that I had received when Naomi was born, and I left a long handled feeding spoon in a restaurant.  Other than that, everything was fine.  Why do I remember those things and not some of the other details?

We took the Greenbrier to a place where it would be put on a barge to be shipped to Alaska, and boarded the Pan American plane for Fairbanks.  It was a long night flight, not crowded.  We were able to stretch out on three seats, most of us!  I gave the flight attendant a jar of baby food to warm up for Naomi, but she fell asleep before it came back.  We had front seats with a bassinet attached to the bulkhead dividing coach from first class.  (We were on the coach side)

It was early in the morning when we got to Fairbanks, September 23, 1964.  It was dark and felt cold.  Someone met us and after we picked up our luggage from the outside luggage area, we drove to Murphy Hall at Fort Wainwright.  There we had two rooms with a bathroom in between.  We stayed there a couple of weeks till Bernie found us an apartment in town.  While there, we ate at the Officer’s Mess, and met some other people.  One older couple was Helen and Jim Brasher.  They had just arrived from Great Falls, (I think) Montana.  Wonderful people.  I still write to Helen.  Jim retired and they moved to Salem, Oregon later on.  Jim died and Helen remarried twice more.  She’s 92 now and still going strong as Mrs. Miller.

We had an apartment in Fairview Manor, which has been the home of many Fairbanks newcomers.  We had been in touch with a realtor who recommended a builder and we were put in touch with a home to be completed soon.  Fairview Manor supplied some furniture for a month.  There was a welcome wagon type of group in town that I contacted for some of the little things we’d need, but we ended up getting them ourselves.  The woman I spoke to was rather rude saying, “What makes you think you’re

entitled?”  I told her I didn’t; I was just following up on what had been suggested to me.  So much for that idea.  Apparently no one had told us that we were supposed to have sent some things ahead in what they called “hold baggage.”  Not knowing this, we had not done it.  We made do as best we could.

Ruth started Kindergarten at Denali Elementary School, which was walking distance from Fairview Manor.  Daniel was in 4th grade there.  Philip started 9th grade at Lathrop High School, which was also walking distance from the apartments.  We were there about a month.

We needed transportation till our Greenbrier arrived, so Bernie found a used Renault.  It was small, like a Volkswagon, had a rather worn driver’s seat (from a very heavy previous owner, we were told), but it served us well when we needed it.