I’ve reached mid-century modern age and still act like a kid. I married while still a wee babe, because I’d found The Man with Smiling Brown Eyes. After two years of newlywed bliss, we left our hometown in Texas for USAF school in Colorado for David. There our beautiful, strong daughter was born, in an Army hospital that resembled a MASH unit. No walls in the maternity ward, just canvas tent walls to define each “room.” Towering windows faced the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and I’m convinced this exposure imprinted my daughter’s life.
We returned to Texas, and had two of the most adorable little boys. We bought a 1921 Bungalow in small-town Central Texas, and spent seven years with a screwdriver and paintbrush in hand. Beautiful, graceful home (even with the ghost), but if you’ve restored an oldie, you know why we sold it. Also, Alaska called! David and I had the fortune to visit Juneau, Alaska, and were captivated by the unspoiled, the grandeur, and every superlative I can muster. So we sold our small business and disposed of household items that were not worth the transport rate of 94¢ per pound. In was Grandma’s sewing machine, out was the Flight Recorder of the Seventies (that being a black box of 8-track tapes). We were off to the Greatland!
Our eight years in Alaska were epic: turquoise rivers, snow-streaked mountains sporting fresh green leaves in June, Cottonwood-scented forest, bears in the backyard, random moose, wolves, caribou, a porcupine in the kids’ fort, hauling in King Salmon and Halibut, trips to Denali National Park, hiking noisily (bears, you know), bread bowls of soup at the Alaska State Fair on a drizzly day, neighbors from around the globe, and wrapping up in quilts to view the Aurora Borealis from the deck.
Still, we grew tired of snow and ice on the ground for 6 months straight. Friends recently spoke of a summer with 11.5 days of sunshine. When you’re counting the half-days of sun, that speaks. I miss Alaska greatly, but am enjoying being home in Texas. We have settled in the rolling Prairies & Western Crosstimbers region of North Texas, and have come to love the area. We actually have four seasons (no, really) and enjoy a stunning display of autumn colors. Prairie grasses dance in the wind, butterflies and fireflies abound, and fragrant Wild Plum trees are the first to bloom each spring. I am often found, camera in hand, chasing foxes, armadillos, rabbits, and roadrunners. Sometimes before coffee!
Throughout my life, I’ve alternated between SAHM and working in the Usual Industries. I’ve designed, edited, tallied, balanced, fielded calls, volunteered, kept the books for our small business, acquired Some College, and I’ve served fried chicken. When David took a job with an unusual schedule, it was decided that I would stay home with the kids. As those kids grew and Chronic Life moved in with us, my availability as a caregiver has been crucial.
My kids still have their “Alaska Grown” shirts, and I like to think our family spirit of adventure has been significant in their ability to adapt and flourish when faced with Chronic Life.