"Today I slept until 11:30am. Laurel and I went to Boniface Mall and I got henna shampoo. It makes my hair beautiful. Next week are the track championships. I am nervous. We get out of school at 1:30. I have to start working on unpacking. Well, bye Ophelia. Love ya. Your friend, Jennifer, Muffie, Chipper."
May 18, 1983 Wednesday
"I ran the mile in (championships) 6:03--third place. I ran the 880 in, I think, 2:49, 4th place. I passed about fifteen people. The coaches said I did great. Cheri got second in the mile and 880. I gotta go cause its late. Bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer, Muffie, Chipper."
6:03 isn't a bad time for a 12 year old girl in the mile, but it wasn't good enough! Cheri had an arch nemesis at a neighboring school. This was the girl who pushed her to her limits, just like Cheri pushed Jennifer to her limits. Cheri rarely beat this girl and so she ended up second.
May 19, 1983 Thursday
"Our relay team got second place. Becky got off to a bad start. I did okay. 8th grade girls won and the rest of us got second in the championships. Tomorrow we don't have track. Track season is over. I gotta go so bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer, Muffie, Chipper."
May 22, 1983 Sunday
"Saturday and today we had a garage sale. 25 dollars was taken somehow. I think Joel took it. I met George and Bernard today. George is a female black poodle (14 years old) and so friendly. Bernard is about a year old, also a female, part Irish Setter and Cocker Spaniel, I think. I am going to jog after school with Bernard. I made about $8 dollars on the sale. I gotta go so, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer, Muffie, Chipper."
Jennifer made animals friends wherever she went. Her daughter is exactly like her! Pet owners who let children walk their dogs and play with them have no idea how much it can mean to the child. These particular owners, I must say, seem a little strange. Bernard and George--both females!! I think there are some issues going on there...
By the way, Jennifer no longer believes Joel took the money!
June 2, 1983 Thursday
"School ended today, yeaa!!!! I got an award for track saying 'Most Improved'. Last weekend we went camping at Lake Louise. We saw 3 moose. We went fishing in Valdez. My first fish was a flounder, the rest were pullup. Bernard and I go jogging almost every day. We got my room cleaned up. Well, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer, Muffie, Chipper. P.S. Sorry I haven't written very well lately."
Jennifer describes fishing in Valdez in 1983 as fun then exhausting and finally, boring. She tossed her line into the Bay of Valdez over and over again and pulled up fish after fish after fish. She kept throwing them back. If each fish weren't a different size, she would guess she was catching the same dumb fish over and over again. The sea was rich with life. Times were good in Alaska.
I tried to research what a pullup fish is and found no information. The local fisherman may have been having some fun with her by calling her little, useless fish pullups. She was fishing from a high pier and "pulled up" lots of fish that were no good for eating. They would waste a real fisherman's time and perhaps were nicknamed "pullups" by the locals.
The easy pickings in Valdez would not last. On March 24, 1989, the Exxon-Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. It was trying to avoid ice. Mistakes were made. The ship carried over 50 million gallons of oil from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The tanker was damaged and 10.9 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea, spoiling 11oo miles of coastline.
This was, and remains, the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. Scientists are continuing to study the long-term effects of this spill. Jennifer was eighteen years old when the spill occurred. Her first thought was the pier in Valdez. Now even the pullups would be sparse and hard to catch.