Suddenly It's Spring

A note to my readers

Shortly after Clyde and I were married in 1954, he said, “Honey, let’s go to Alaska and homestead some land.” I thought he was joking, of course, and I replied, “Are you crazy? Why would anyone want to go where it snows all the time and is cold and everything is frozen? I have no intention of living in an igloo!” That’s all I knew about Alaska at the time. That’s all most people knew about Alaska, then. And so we went on with our lives, working and raising our young family, although from time to time Clyde would bring up the subject of Alaska.

Sometime during those early years I read a book titled ‘Go North Young Man’ by Gordon Stoddard which changed my mind about Alaska, but by then I had managed to resist Clyde’s yearning for nine years. I have been sorry ever since we arrived that I made Clyde miss out on nine years of living in this great land.

From the time we left our home in the lower 48 and drove to Alaska with our four little children I wrote long letters to the families and friends we left behind. I wrote faithfully, every day, of our long journey north pulling our 41 foot house trailer with a ¾ ton flatbed truck, and of the time we spent in Anchorage. I wrote about surviving the Big Earthquake of March 27th, 1964 and when we finally filed on our homestead at Sherman, Alaska. I kept everyone informed to the best of my ability. I even managed to take some good pictures to help tell our story to those who had never seen anything quite like Alaska before.

For years everyone I wrote those letters to nagged me to compile them into a book. I had no intention of doing that! There were far too many other things that needed doing to take on that particular project. Finally, after saving my letters and photographs for years, they boxed them all and sent them back to me with instructions to take some of the adventures I had written about and put them in a book. And so I did, finally. I called it “Journey to a Dream”, and was surprised and pleased by how well it has sold. I was even more surprised (and pleased!) by my readers’ requests that I write a sequel. People wanted to know more about life on the homestead, and about what happened to our children: how they grew up and where they are now. I hope this book will answer some of those questions.

Briefly, Clyde and I have four children: Michele (Shelley for short) is the oldest; Clyde Jr., (known to everyone as Bud) is eighteen months younger than Shelley; next came Deborah, (Debbie) who is eighteen months younger than Bud. Our youngest is Lisa, four years younger than Debbie. In the first book, I described how we started out for Alaska in 1963 when Lisa was only ten months old. Debbie was five, Bud was six and a half and Shelley was eight years old. We home schooled all four of them after moving to our homestead, but the three oldest got a start in school while living in Anchorage.

We lived 14 months in Anchorage, before moving onto our homestead in September, 1964, after filing an open to entry claim with the Bureau of Land Management. Clyde stayed in Anchorage, and worked until he sold the house trailer so we would have money to live on, coming home nearly every weekend on the train to cut wood, bring food, and make sure we were doing okay. After six weeks, he was able to come home for the winter, and shipped up all the household goods, lumber and other things we needed on the freight. Meanwhile, he went back to work when the money ran out or when a job opened up. Sometimes he would be away from home for weeks at a time, depending on where the work was.

After two and a half years working in Anchorage and other areas, Clyde finally got hired to work for the Alaska Railroad, and was stationed (for the most part) at Gold Creek, five miles from home. This was certainly better than having him working in Anchorage and only coming home on weekends!

The whole purpose in coming to Alaska was to homestead land and build a home for our family. Actually it was Clyde’s dream, and I just came along. My first book has all that information in it. Also how the sign came to be painted on the front of our house, very visible from the railroad tracks. Our homestead is located 32 miles from the nearest road, which ends in Talkeetna. There is a stretch of 55 miles altogether of no road access and everyone living along this stretch depends upon the Alaska Railroad for everything - transportation, freight, even rescue in case of accidents. We are grateful to have the railroad. The Alaska Railroad has always been our lifeline. All of us off the road system depend upon the railroad for everything. We like to call it the “Railroad with a Heart.”

I never knew that writing a book could change one’s life so much. But it certainly has changed mine. It has been loads of fun, meeting new people all the time and getting to know new friends from all over the country. I highly recommend it to everyone if you have such a thought...Just try it!

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