I grew up before there were phones in McGrath and Takotna, Alaska where I grew up.
I grew up where there was an Airforce Base, Tatilina. Tatilina brought television to McGrath, Alaska; my hometown. And folks, let us not forget, today I am at the tender age of 50.
It wasn’t until much later, after this particular story, that I realized there were 5 time zones in Alaska. When I was a bit older, we lived in the Trading Post in McGrath and my mom would call “long-distance” to my Aunt Jan in Kake located in Southeast Alaska. Or call my Aunt Clara in Nome, Alaska.
My worldview of the size of the entire world has been based on how far and distant places in Alaska were from each other. The cost of a long-distance phone call was a lot. We learned that right away. I learned much, much later how small the world actually is geographically, compared to Alaska. However….
When I was less than 4 years old, we lived in Takotna. That is the place of my first memory of a phone. My younger siblings, Sonny and Katie, who are twins, were less than one-year old (from my memory and mind’s eye as a toddler myself at that time).
We lived in a light-green colored house up the road from the Takotna River toward my Uncle Eep and Aunt Pudden’s house. They lived in a log cabin, across the road from us. In this memory of mine, it was the time of year that it was dusky outside at night.
As some may know, in Alaska, the sun stays up for most hours in the summer.
If it had been spring, my memory would have been, “that it was still fairly light that night”.
But falltime, retains a memory in a child’s eye that it was kinda getting dark again at night.
On this particular occasion, My Aunt Echo and Aunt Sophia brought me into the back bedroom in that light green house. (The only bedroom as my mom recently explained to me). There was a crash and a ruckess. Then nothing. No crazy memories, no drama, and that was that.
A day later, a week later, may later that day; I do not know. But what I do know is this: My Mom brought me up another hill to my Uncle David’s House almost parallel to the Takotna River, behind his bar, the Takotna Bar.
That is where I first experienced a phone. My mom was talking to my dad. My dad was not in town apparantly, otherwise I would likely have never had the memory of this phone. As this phone, was the only phone in our little town, and if my dad was in town, we would have no reason to be talking to him on it.
I think she had me talk to him, or he asked to talk to me on the phone. That is all I remember, in regards to the phone.
In my lifetime, there were no phones and no television. I do not remember radio or CB communication until later when we moved to the Nixon River Cabin to go trapping.
My parent’s have a painting my Aunt Echo painted of the Takotna Mountain. The Takotna Mountain is still majestic. The phone, now just a staple.