Manley hot springs | fairbanks
"Making home in Alaska, it's like... a rebirth, intellectually and emotionally. And love."
"I should go to alaska for the summer."
[I first came up for] employment, for the summer. I was gonna work—cooking, bartending—at the Roadhouse in Manley. My parents had spent the summer there when I was in high school. I didn't come up with them, but I was laid off of work in Minnesota and was working at the bulk mail center. And I found an Alaska Magazine when I was re-bundling magazines one night, and I was like, “Huh! I should go to Alaska for the summer...! I’ll ask Mom if I can get a job from that guy that she knew up there.” So I did. And she said, “If you're going, I'm going with you.” And she came along!
life at manley roadhouse
Cooking breakfast, lunches, and dinners-- [Mom and I] kind of split that up, I don't remember exactly how. Cutting the lawn; doing laundry; cleaning rooms; keeping the dining room clean when it was mud season. Just whatever needed to be done during the day. And I didn't bartend at night; we had a bartender come in at the dinner hour. By the end of the season, [the gold miners] would come in almost every night from their mines and have drinks and dinner, and one night my mom got really mad at me about something-- I don't even know what-- and she said, “ You’re just like your father!” And she left. And I had thirty people in the dining room, and the bar was full, and I had to do it all! She didn't talk to me, well, for a year or so after that. And I really don't know-- she never told me what i did. But she was away from her husband, my dad, all summer; and it was the end, early September, so she'd been there almost six months; and listening to him whinge on the other end of the phone every week: “When are you comin' home?”
staying and creating home
It wasn't a decision [to stay]! It was just-- one of the girls at the end of the season said, “Oh you should stay for the winter!” And I was like, “Yeah, I guess I might as well, I don't know." I mean, I didn't have any-- I was not tied up to anything, and a girl had just lost her husband in Manley, and she was just going to spend the winter somewhere else, and she wanted me to watch her house. And then I ran the post office [in Manley] while the postmaster took a month vacation during the winter. So I had something to do... And, that’s why I stayed!