Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Revisiting the Past

I took some time this afternoon to see if I could locate the places we lived at when we were in Anchorage in the 1960s. The city has grown far beyond what were the outskirts in those days. The Sears Mall used to be out on the east in of town, which was defined by the Seward Highway in those days. Spenard was an actual suburb, instead of a district. No one lived on the Hillside--at night the mountain sides were dark.

We moved from Fairbanks to Anchorage in the summer of 1965 and lived on the corner of Eighth Avenue and M Street, within walking distance of downtown. On M and 9th stood the ruins of a partially-completed apartment building that had been razed by the Good Friday Earthquake. The L Strret Apartments building was crazed with cracks and stood empty. Providence Hospital was kitty-corner to us on Eighth and L, much smaller than the grand complex Providence now occupies across town but then--as now--it was the largest hospital in Anchorage. The Sisters of Providence had their convent across the street from the us. It was a quiet neighborhood.

Lo, forty-some years later, it still looks like a quiet neighborhood. The building wears fresh paint and looks well-cared-for. We lived in apartments on the top floor for that first year.

In 1966 we moved out to Turnagain. The area we moved to had been badly impacted by the earthquake. The street we lived on ended against the bluff that overlooked the tilted topography that became Earthquake Park.

When did the trees get so big? Our old black-and-white photos showed vast amounts of white sky and open yards. David and I played on the topsy-turvy terrain of the earthquake slide area and along the steel-blue waters of Knik Arm. Northern Lights Boulevard was a narrow road that led back toward Spenard and civilization. A spindly row of young birch trees formed an ineffectual boundary between our back yard and the road. Across the road was wilderness and wastelands that stretched to the airport.

This photo was taken looking down this street in February 1968 from a point just before the rise in the road.

I can't get over how the trees have grown. Well, it has been forty years. We lived on Hood Court from 1966 until the summer of 1968, when we moved back to Washington, just after Richard graduated from West High School.

I found our old house. It looks a bit less properous than it did in the old days but it has been painted recently and it still shelters a young family. Our yard was open, the trees little more than shrubs. I learned to drive from this driveway. Richard parked his first car here. Chrissie and Taffy, our little black dog and my orange-and-yellow cat, sunned themselves in the back yard of this house.

I think we were happy in those days.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In Anchorage

If you have business at the Alaska Regional Hospital, it is best to arrive early.

Mom's surgery was scheduled for about 7:30 am. I wandered across town about eight and looked through three parking lots for a space. I ended up parking at the far end of the third lot and hiked about a mile to the hospital.

I was able to cut through the medical complex, so at least I was out of the drizzle for most of the walk. My path took me right by the waiting area where I spotted Dad sitting.

Mom came through the surgery fine and we were able to visit with her shortly after noon. She was still groggy but was smiling beautifully--guess she was as relieved to have that behind her as we were.

(I took this photo from the closest parking lot. There wasn't much of a view of the hospital from the lot I parked in...)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the Back Deck

"Snowland" chrysanthemum (Leucanthemum paludosum) and Outback daisy "Mauve Delight"

Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii) and Dianthus

Iceland Poppies "Champagne Bubbles" and Calibrachoa "Red Superbells"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Gazania (Gazania rigens) "Daybreak"

Nemophila "Baby Blue Eyes"

Outback Daisy "Mauve Delight" with marigolds and chrysanthemum in background.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

After Work

Just after I leave work, the road dips down to near sea-level and offers this view across the shallows of Mud Bay (low tide) toward the Homer Spit. If you click on the photo to enlarge, the low, green line of the Spit shows more clearly. On the far side of that green line is the wide expanse of Kachemak Bay. The mountains mark the south-east shoreline.

Just across the road from where I stopped to take the photo of the bay, this hill of lupine climbs up toward the level of the runway.

I can't decide if I love the lupine or the fireweed more. Lupine recalls the height of summer, while the fireweed always has the subtext that the summer is ending.

In a month, you can judge for yourself.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Midnight Sun

The north-facing window in the entry way gets direct sunlight only for about a month during the year.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rain Month

Somewhere--down south--the words "July" and "August" conjure images of blazing sun, dusty earth and the dead yellow grasses of late summer. There are hot evening and the warm darkness perfect for lying on the grass and looking up at stars.

But where I live, July is the start of the rainy season.

Yet even under cloud-covered skies, the green vibrancy of life is intoxicating.

I take a lot of pictures, so I can remember this in the winter.