When I was less than a year old, Dad began making plans to move his little family to Alaska. Dad had served in the Army in the Aleutian Islands, and he loved the area. Hunting and fishing were special pleasures to Dad, and he assumed that the three of us would enjoy the beautiful wilderness. I think he was also totally sick of his factory job spray painting ovens for Western Electric. Perhaps he thought that Mother‘s wild antics would be calmed down in a colder climate.
I really can’t imagine her going along with this plan; however, she sometimes became very passive and just waited for things to go wrong to start complaining.
Dad was not normally a Far From Normal person; most of the time he was the voice of sanity. This time however, I have to wonder what he was thinking. I know he loved to hunt and fish, but how was he planning to support his little family? By this point, he had had enough experience with Mother to know that she was not going to be helping out. So what was he thinking? This is just a guess, but I think he thought that Alaska was the state of opportunity and that he could make money off of something related to outdoor sports. I never asked him what he planned to do and he never volunteered that information.
Before just pulling up stakes and heading North, Dad wrote to several Chambers of Commerce in Alaska. He was apparently trying to figure out what part of Alaska to re-locate to. One letter tickled his funny bone and he preserved it for future generations. It was written by a man working for the Chamber in some small town and it went something like this:
Please re-consider your plan to move to Alaska. It is cold and gloomy and the opportunities are not good. I wish I had never moved here. Please go to the library and check out a book of poems by Robert Service. His poems talk about the snow and cold and will hopefully make you change your plans.
Dad’s plans did change, but it had nothing to do with Robert Service. He and my mother discovered that they had another child on the way and determined that it was not a good time to move anywhere. Thankfully, my sister Lindy prevented me from becoming the kind of girl who skinned a deer with a knife and killed bears with a bow and arrow.
Dad went on to return to high school, attend college and graduate from law school. Instead of heading North, we turned South to our delightful little town in Central Illinois. My sister Lindy changed my life in many positive ways. I am so thankful for my sister!