Filed under: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, Grossman, Personal History
Part I: Drive up
Part II: Cruise
Part III : Inland Tour
We rose early, made sure our luggage was ready for pickup, then picked up a quick breakfast. From the Hilton we were only about 1½ blocks from the train station, but our driver took us for a quick tour of the city, before going down to the station. He told us about some very cold weather, and the games his grandsons enjoyed playing in that very cold weather. Then train was coming in, so we unloaded the bus, and boarded the train. This was a double decker, with the dining area below, and the upper level domed, for us to be able to see the scenery as we headed to Denali Park. The train ride was eight hours, to just enjoy the beautiful scenery.
We were able to get our first glimpse of Mt. Denali. WHAT A SIGHT. Hard to get a good picture from a moving train.
For lunch we went down to the dining area, I tried the reindeer chili served in a cornmeal bread bowl. It was very good.
There were so many ooh’s and aah’s along the way. The hostess told us, we were seeing new snow on the mountains, new snow is “termination” snow as the tourist season is quickly coming to an end. Several of us purchased tickets for the Cabin Night dinner theater, at the McKinley Chalet Resort. Arriving at the train station, buses took us to our night’s destination, the McKinley Chalet Resort. The rest of the group was able to obtain tickets to show, so all 9 of us unloaded, found our rooms, and explored a little until time for dinner and the show.
They served us family style, we had salad, ribs, baked salmon, corn, and it was topped off with a berry pie. We had already eaten so much on the cruise, we had a difficult time eating that much. Our waiter said he could tell which way the group was going. Those doing inland, then the cruise ate very well, and those having cruised could hardly eat. I wanted to cry when I saw him put the ribs and salmon we didn’t eat in the trash.
Then the group put on an interactive play giving us history of the park, as well as the people who were instrumental in developing the park. The cast interacted with people from the crowd. They had us sing the “Home in the Snow” song, and recognized birthdays and anniversaries. Leading the group in “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. (Thanks to Gloria for sharing her photos.)
Charles, Judy, Gloria and I headed back to the main lodge to have our picture taken by the Old Sourdough Photographer. We dressed up in the fur coats and gloves, then climbed in the sled, with Charles as our musher, to get our picture taken.
Back to our very rustic cabin for the night.
The next morning we put our luggage out, as we would be spending the night in Fairbanks. Up to the main lodge for breakfast, and await our bus. This would be a refurbished school bus. This tour was taking us up to a look out point to see Mt. Denali.
As we drove through the park, I kept seeing all of these jigsaw puzzle pictures. It isn’t easy to take pictures from a moving vehicle, but kept trying.
At the rest stop, we walked up to the Ranger’s Cabin. He told us about living there with basically only his dogs for company, but the need to have a presence there. The inside of the Cabin reminded me very much of the pioneer sod houses. We also saw a moose on our way up. So many pictures it is hard to narrow them down.
Then it was off to the lookout point, and turnaround. There we got another view of Mt. Denali. The range and the peaks, along with the changing colors of the foliage made for a glorious sight. We were able to see the peak. So we became a part of the 30% club as only 30% of the people get to see through the clouds.
On the way back our driver said we were ahead of schedule so he stopped at the parks entrance to give us a photo op. This is the one and only picture of all nine of our “Cruise Family”.
Back to the Lodge, we no longer have rooms, so some played cards, others did a computer catch up, and some just sat and relaxed until it was time to load the bus, back to the train, for our four hour ride to Fairbanks. We arrived in Fairbanks and headed to our rooms. At least we would be here 2 nights.
This morning we boarded the Holland Line bus to be taken to the Goldmine, a lunch of Miner’s Stew, then a Riverboat ride.
A bonus was a stop at the segment of the Alaskan Pipeline, where we learned that ½ is above and ½ is below ground and other interesting facts. The frozen tundra makes it impossible for it underground the entire way. It is an awesome project, we hadn’t thought of all the engineering problems that had to be solved to send that much oil to a location where it can be transported to where it can be processed for our use.
Then off to the El Dorado Gold Mine. We took an open air train ride through the area, getting a flavor of what an individual would go through to find his fortune in gold. (which very few did) We were shown through a mine, then saw some of the equipment used to bring the ore to the surface.
At the end of the ride, an demonstration area was set up. After the demonstration each traveler was given a poke and a pan to pan for our own gold. All were guaranteed some gold. It was exciting to find those flakes of gold in the bottom of the pan, but it also took a very skilled hand to dip and swirl the water in the pan to get the heavier dirt and rocks out of the pan. My pan of gold yielded about $6.00 worth of gold. I had the gold put into a bubble, and put it on a chain. As far as I know no one found a nugget. Some of the couples put their gold together to make a larger take.
They had drinks and cookies for everyone. Then back to the train, which took us back to the bus. Our next stop was Goldstream Creek Gold Mine, a larger operation, where we were served a lunch of Miner’s Stew with biscuits, and a drink. We ate in a dining room like the miner’s would have been served. After lunch, several took a tour of the workings of this mine. Then it was off to our next destination.
Our final destination of the day was the Riverboat Discovery.
We took a 3 ½ hour cruise down the Chena River. Arrived at the home of the late Susan Butcher, 4 time Iditarod Race winner. Here her husband and children showed off the dogs training for a race. David Monson, her husband, took a team of dogs on a practice run. It was exciting to see these dogs ready to give their all. Susan had started a book about one of her dog; David completed it after her death. He would be at our next stop, available to sign copies of the book Granite.
Further down the river was a Chena Indian village, with guides from the Athabascan tribe to take us through the village. Our guide was a young man from the tribe. He described their home and hunting habits, then off to where we could see how they cared for their animals. Our last stop on the tour was to see how they prepared their furs. The young man’s sister, with his help, described the procedure for tanning and drying the hides. When his sister asked him to demonstrate a moose call, he came out with a small megaphone, and called “Here moosey, moosey, moosey?” Then his sister modeled some of the clothing, ending with a beautiful fur coat for a young maiden.
After our tour, it was time to get my books signs. Until the riverboat whistle blew, we could explore at our leisure. Then it was back up the river. The matriarch of the family was standing on her front lawn to share the journey with us.
Everyone loaded back on the bus, heading back to our motel. We again shared our evening meal together. Now it was time to pack and repack to make sure our luggage was ready for the flight we were going to be taking the next day.
Our last day and time to start our journey home. Our luggage was packed, weighed, and ready for the flight. We had most of the day to relax and enjoy the day at Fairbanks. Charles, Judy, & Gloria and I decided to walk about 8 blocks to a restaurant for our lunch. We had a delightful lunch at a little café called Gambardelli’s Pasta Bella.
On our walk we enjoyed the beautiful flowers, seen all along the way. Back at our motel, we admired the huge cabbage, and rhubarb growing out side the front door.
Finally the bus arrived to transport us to the airport. When we got to airport, there was a sea of luggage, for us to locate our pieces. When the second bus arrived, our group headed in to get our tickets, trying to keep track of luggage, figuring out what that computer wanted us to do, waiting in line, was all a part of the process.
I got my ticket, and my luggage was taken, the agent then asked if I wanted one of my carry one pieces to go through at no cost. I decided that was a good idea, then I went to help Melba, we also got one of her carry on pieces sent on. Now I juggled both of our tickets, luggage, as well as passports, to get her through. Then it was up to the line to wait to go through security. Most of us got through without any problems. Charles & Judy were not so fortunate. Security went through their luggage and all of their bags, not a pleasant experience. Nola, could not through the metal detectors due to knee surgery, so had to have individual search. We all gave a sigh of relief when all were through security, now to wait for our plane.
It was during our break that we learned that the Sapphire Princess, a ship that followed us most of our cruise, sank a couple of fishing boats coming in to dock at the Ketchikan Harbor. The Statendam, our cruise ship, skipped the Ketchikan port of call. The return cruise of the Statendam, would not have been a pleasant one. Glad we sailed up and not back.
Our flight was called, we boarded heading for Seattle. Landed at the Sea-Tec airport. That was an experience. It was about 11 at night. We unloaded gathered our things, and started walking to our next connection. First of all the moving sidewalk was under repair, then the escalator was not working, there were no carts, so we walked, and walked and walked. We were very tired by the time we got to our plane.
It was a short hop from Seattle to Vancouver, BC. Again loaded up our belongings, and headed for customs, needing our passports, and paperwork for anything to declare. Remember I was keeping track of Melba’s things as well as mine. Now it was time to collect our baggage from the carousel. Once the luggage was collected I returned Melba’s passport to her. Luggage for nine looks like someone is moving. Everything was collected then out to catch a shuttle back to the hotel. Everyone was ready to call it a day. Unloaded and checked in. Carl & Nola bid us farewell as their plane was leaving about 6 that morning.
The rest of us would be driving and trying to miss the tunnel bottle neck.
……………………. To be continued.
Filed under: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, Grossman, Personal History
Week #45 – High School
Week 45. High School. Describe your middle and/or high school. Was it a large or small student body? Is the school still in existence today? How has it changed since you went there?
I attended two High Schools. My Freshman – Junior years I attended Burr Oak High School. I had been a member of the class since Second Grade. The class of 22 was looking forward to graduation in 1966. Burr Oak was a small IA school, with about 80-90 students grades 9-12. Every one was involved in most of the activities. Sports were an important extra-curricular activity. I was a member of the High School Band, Kayettes, and Pep Club. It was a very busy 3 years.
The summer of 1965, my father took up a friends offer to get him a job for the grounds crew at KSU in Manhattan, Kansas. In just a few weeks, he had job, we found a house, the farm was sold and we moved to Manhattan. It is there that I attended my Senior of High School. A very different experience. This was the first year that they would be graduating a class of over 300. Going from my small school, to this large school was quite an experience There were more students in my class than in the whole school at Burr Oak.
As they were growing and had limited space, they had a split schedule, classes were held from 7:30 – 2:30, or 8:30 – 3:30. I chose to go with the early schedule. The building provided classes for the 10th – 12th Graders. Because of changing schools, graduation requirements differed, some of the requirements were at different grade levels, so I was taking those classes needed to full fill the graduation requirements, not necessarily Senior classes.
This was definitely a challenging year for me, I had to take the PE class, and Geometry for a second math requirement. At Burr Oak I had always been at the top of my class, here I was working very hard to stay in the middle of the group. By changing schools, I feel I was better prepared for my college career which I started that summer.
Burr Oak Schools have gone through many transitions since I attended, as I mentioned in my blog about elementary school. The community has struggled economically, and today they are a county school consolidated with Mankato & Jewell, known as the Rock Hill District. While Manhattan, is a part of a growing community, being a part of a college community, and next to Fort Riley. Manhattan High has had some additions, but the building I attended continues to house the 10-12 graders, while the 9 graders attend the campus at the former Middle School. As Manhattan is a college town it continuing to grow, in 1966 there were about 1200 students 9-12; with almost 2000 students 9-12 today.
Week #44 – Elementary School
Week 44. Elementary School. Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?
Mankato, Kansas is where I started my educational journey, attending Kindergarten and First Grade there. We lived about 1/2 a mile from the school. The building in the mid 50’s was an old 2 story brick building, housing Kindgarten – 8th grade. I think 4th – 8th grades were on the second floor. There was one class of students per grade, about 20-24 students per grade. One of the exciting parts of the building was the tube slide from the second story to the ground, which those on the second floor got to use for a fire escape. I completed First Grade here. Although my brother and sister are both graduates of Mankato High School. A few years after we moved away, the school building was torn down, and the National Guard Armory was built in its place.
Starting with second grade I attended school in Burr Oak, Kansas. I rode the school bus to town each day. They did not have a Kindergarten at this time, the building held grades 1- 6. Again only 1 class per grade, in Burr Oak, the classes would range from about 15-22. The building was a large 2 story limestone building, setting in the middle of the block. Grades 1- 3 were on the first floor, and 4-6 were on the second floor. Bathrooms were in the basement of the building. (We were not worried about handicapped accessibility yet.) The lunch room was a wood frame building that was at the southwest corner of the block. This is where I attended here through my 6th grade year.
Today this building houses the Historical Museum, and Library for the town of Burr Oak.
I have to consider my 7th & 8th grades as part of my elementary schooling. We then moved to the new building in town, it housed the 7th & 8th grades, self-contained class rooms, and Burr Oak High School.
After I left Burr Oak, they added on to the High School building to include class rooms for the elementary grades. But due to declining population, in the town and county, the school consolidated, and became White Rock, and today they made another consolidation to join Mankato, as a part of the Rock Hill District.
Week #43 – Worst School Subject
Week 43. Worst School Subject. What was your worst or least favorite subject in school and why?
My least favorite subject through out my school years was P E. I am not an athletic person, so PE was not a favorite subject. Recess was our physical activity through out my elementary school days. My first PE class was my freshman year of High School. It was a mandatory class so I had no choice. I made it through that year. The school I attended only required the one PE class, so I was finished with it, or so I though. Then my senior year of high school we moved from a small rural school, to a much larger city school. This school required 2 credits of PE to graduate. I was a Senior in the Sophmore PE class, taking it at 7:30 in the morning. Because of this class, I did start losing weight, for a variety of reasons, but it was never a class I truly enjoyed. This new school did give me a chance to experience some different kinds of physical activity. I was certainly glad when that class was over.
Week #42 – Favorite School Subject
Week 42. Favorite School Subject. What was your favorite subject in school and why? Was it also your best subject?
School has always been an important part of my life. As I child, I did not want to miss school. There was so much to learn. Many of the academic subjects were quite easy for me. There were others that were challenges but those challenges helped me grow in my pursuit of an education. I missed the last week of school during my 3rd grade year, because of the measles. Would missing the last week of school cause me to have to repeat 3rd grade, even though I had done quite well with grades all year? It was much too my relief, when I received my grade card, and it said promoted.
After 17 years of schooling, K – 12 + 4 yrs of college, I was ready to start working on the other side of the desk, and for another 38 years, I missed very few days, wanting to be there most days. I have since retired, but continue to substitute, and enjoy returning to the various class, and continuing to learn along the way.
Week #41 – Teachers
Week 41. Teachers. Did you have a favorite teacher when you were growing up? What class(es) did this person teach and why did he/she make an impact on your life?
When we speak of teachers we most often talk about our school teachers. I want to share about my first teacher, my Father. My father was born shortly after the turn of the century. He was the third son of German parents, his father coming over as a very young boy, and his mother the daughter of German immigrants. Before my father was born, the family moved to Montana, where he was raised. He attended one room schools, told about listening to the lesson of the older students. He only attended through the eighth grade. But through out his life he felt an education was the best thing we could have, and something that could not be taken from us. He continued to learn through out his life. It was through him, the love of learning was instilled in his children.
I was the youngest child in the family, born after my father had recovered from a very serious illness, which meant he had to take life a little slower, difficult for a farmer. He found time to read to me, and take me out with him. He loved to work with numbers. He was constantly figuring how much it would cost to do different things. There was always a daily newspaper, news magazines to keep up with local, state, and national news. He also listened to the news on the radio, and after we got a TV, news times was almost sacred, don’t disturb it.
I was allowed a library card at a very early age, because they knew the books would be read to me. My father’s expectation for all 3 of his children was to complete a college degree. I wasn’t very old when I knew that my schooling would not end in 12 years, but would include another 4 years of college. There was never any question that I would be attending college.
His also made me understand the grade I received for a class was my responsibility. When a low grade was noted on my grade card, he always asked: “Is this the grade you deserve?” These were my grades given by the teacher for the work and effort I had put forth.
All of his children did attend and graduate from college. Upon graduation from college, I started teaching, to help another generation have a love of learning. My brother and I then went on to complete Master’s Degrees. I worked in the field of education for 38 years as teacher and librarian.
Even though I have recently retired I continue to learn. From my first teacher, my father, I know my learning is never complete. He frequently said: “If you can read, you can do anything.”
Week 40: Trouble. What happened when you got into trouble as a child? What was punishment like in your home?
I was the youngest in my family, and quite a bit younger than my brother & sister. By the time I was 11 my sister was married, and my brother was away at college. Therefore I was like an only child, we lived on a farm 4 miles from town, our nearest neighbor was 1/4 mile away. I spent much of my free time reading. Things I got in trouble for was not doing things when I was supposed to. I was expected to do the the supper dishes while my parents were out milking the cows. If I didn’t have them done, I still had to do them, after they came in .
My father did not believe in spankings, but he did believe in discipline. He could give a look that would absolutely melt me. I tried not to ever get that look. My mother did give me a swat when I wouldn’t come out to help pluck the chickens, one day. I don’t know why I did not want to come out, but ended up helping.
The worst punishment I received was from my father. I was about 12 or 13, and I sassed my mother, he heard me. I can still see him sitting in his rocker, and said “SLAP HER.” To this day I do not know if my mother slapped me or not, but his words stung worse than any spanking or slap ever could.