Friday, December 5, 2008, 11:03 PM
I was getting ahead of myself in this story (saga, narrative). The summer of 1966 was momentous because we took our “turnaround” trip to the “outside.” By this time, we had learned these terms, along with “lower 48,” when referring to the country outside Alaska. We had been here two years, and now, by Army standards, we were entitled to a trip back to our “home.” We decided to do a Grand Tour.!
We flew to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, where we boarded the White Pass and Yukon railroad (a narrow guage railroad through some beautiful country of Canada and Alaska) to reach Skagway. There we boarded the Alaska ferry system ship Malaspina ( just recently retired) for Prince Rupert. We slept on the deck along with many other tourist passengers till Bernie was able to secure a cabin, which we took turns with.
When we arrived at Prince Rupert, we rented a car and went to a bed and breakfast place for that night. The place was a house with a nicely finished and furnished basement. The people were very friendly and sent us off with a good breakfast. We had another meal in town before boarding the Canadian National Railroad train that would take us to Saskatchewan.
There was a stop at Jasper, B.C., a famous resort, so we looked around there and took the tram ride up the mountain. There were many Japanese working in the shops, which seemed strange to me at the time.
The next stop was Calgary. I tried to phone my Cousin Louis Schoepp, (Aunt Frieda’s son), but no one was home. I had never met him, and would have liked to close that gap in my family acquaintances. I didn’t know at that time that there was another cousin living there, Margaret Scholz Richardson (Uncle Martin’s daughter).
Back on the train, we headed for Langenburg, Sask. We would arrive at Yorkton, about 1:30 in the morning, and the porter assured us he would wake us up in time. Cousin Walter Scholz (Uncle Walter’s son) would be meeting us. It was very dark, and the station was deserted, but Walter was there! He drove us to Aunt Frieda’s house, and there we stayed for a few days.
The weather was perfect for a picnic at a lake, backyard barbecue at Walter and Reta’s home, visits with Paul Scholz’ farm (Uncle Walter’s son), and others of the family in that area.
We flew from Yorkton to Winnipeg, where we rented a car and drove to Cousin Clara Scholz Weitzel’s home. (Uncle Walter’s daughter) We stayed there for a few days and had good visit with Clara, Harold and their children. At one point, we were in Assinaboine (sp?) Park trying to use the Walkie-Talkies we’d brought. Bernie made contact with someone who thought he was talking to someone in Alaska. I can imagine the disappointment when he learned he was talking to someone in the park who was VISITING from Alaska!
We went out to the farm at Beausejour and visited with Uncle Martin and Aunt Mary. Some of the family were there too. Martin and Norman were there; I thought Norman was the image of his father in appearance. Aunt Mary was so petite. We met Rose, now Masnyk, who lives in Winnepeg, too.
We visited Cousin Joy and her husband George. Their home was lovely, but we met out in the garden. I almost felt that she didn’t want us upsetting her house. I had to use the bathroom or I wouldn’t have been inside at all, it seemed.
Then we drove down to Minneapolis, where we stayed with Mansoor Sedarat, a friend we knew from his student days at Upper Iowa University at Fayette, IA, and his family. While there, we met with Aunt Wanda and her husband Gayle, who were also visiting in Minneapolis.
From there we went to Iowa, where we spent a few days with Uncle Robert Parker and Aunt Beulah. They had a Parker family reunion with Aunt Nellie Mairs (my father’s sister) and her family. That was very nice. Aunt Nellie was short on memory by then, but we had a good visit.
While in Iowa, we stopped at Fayette, to show Daniel the house we lived in when he was born. The present owner, a nice older woman, let us in to look around. Improvements had been made by owners after us. We visited Helen Bitterman, still a neighbor there, and some others too.
Then it was on to Ohio, where we passed through Convoy, where we lived when Philip was born, and on to Huntsville, Alabama, where Naomi was born. We stayed with Alice and Lyn Bennett while there. They had a party, inviting people we had known at Latham Memorial Church. We visited the horse farm where Ruth and Daniel went riding, and the Bennetts took us out for a boat ride.
Then on through New Jersey and Dover, where Ruth was born. This was on the way to New York for some time to spend with Mom and Pop Jacobson. Aunt Lucy (Mom J.’s sister) and Cousins Melba and Sheldon were on the visiting list too, as always.
We flew back to Alaska from New York, tired but happy with our first trip “outside” as Alaskans. We had a lot of fun answering questions from everyone about what life is like in Alaska. I told them all that we lived in a very modern igloo with wall-to-wall carpeting and indoor plumbing.