Monday, October 5, 2009

Most Improved

May 15, 1983 Sunday

Dear Ophelia,
"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

Dear Ophelia,
"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

Dear Ophelia,
"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

Dear Ophelia,
"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!

Lake Louise by grammy paul.

Lake Louise, Alaska

June 2, 1983 Thursday

Dear Ophelia,

"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."

Go to fullsize image
Moose are less shy than deer (in Jen's opinion) so one sees a lot of them in Alaska!

Go to fullsize image
A flounder on a hook--Jennifer had never caught such an exotic fish!

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.

Valdez, Alaska_0102 by melmashman.

Valdez, Alaska

Downtown Valdez Alaska by bahamahawk.
Downtown Valdez

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.

Alaska Regions Map

Alaska, The Last Frontier!

1 comment:

  1. Jen: I have been to Lake Louise in British Columbia many times, but never heard of Lake Louise in Alaska. I googled it and sure enough there is one. The photo is beautiful. I have been to Alaska 3 times. The first time was for 8 weeks in an RV in 2001. We visited Valdez and took a whale watching cruise to a glacier on the Kenai Peninsula. It was beautiful. We also visited all the ports the cruise ships visit as well as Sitka, Anchorage, Homer and the entire Kenai Peninsula, and Fairbanks. It was a fabulous trip and we fell in love with Alaska and the Alaska Marine Highway. We took the ferry home from Skagway to Bellingham, WA, which cost us a fortune because of the 34 foot motorhome, but it saved us about 5000 miles of driving home. On that trip we put about 15,000 miles on our RV, by far our biggest trip so far. We went back the following year for 4 weeks again on the ferry but without the RV from Bellingham with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Haines, and Skagway. Two years later we did that trip again for 4 weeks. My boys have great memories of Alaska and the ferry, which is a great way to see the wildlife close up. We saw Orca whales, eagles, bears, and lots of moose.

    I am really enjoying your blogs and the photos. Great job.


Thank you for reading The Jennifer Diaries!