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Synopsis

From the fall of 1962 to the spring of 1963, my husband, Ed, our five children and myself lived in an Eskimo village on the vast tundra land of Alaska. We were thousands of miles from our suburban home outside of Chicago, IL. Ed had accepted a job as the superintendent of the largest state operated school in Alaska. We were living in an Eskimo village, Bethel, so named by the Moravian missionaries who had established a church on the Kuskokwin River many years before. (The Kutskokwin River is the second largest river in Alaska, surpassed only by the mighty Yukon River) As for Bethel, it was over four hundred miles from Anchorage, Alaska, on the same line of longitude as Honolulu, Hawaii. By November, it could only be reached by airplane - weather permitting.

This is the story of our year in Alaska, living in a Quonset hut, situated next to the school. It is based on a daily journal I kept of our experiences there. We had left behind many conveniences such as an automatic washer, dryer and dish washer. Instead we had accepted a comparatively primitive way of life. I cooked on an oil-burning stove, which also served as a space heater for the front of the Quonset hut. Our water had to be delivered by truck. Our bathroom had a chemical toilet, called a "honey bucket," which needed to be emptied several times a week. Our accomodations were cramped compared to the split-level home we had left in Illinois. However, there were many compensations. We soon realized that we were surrounded by many kind and caring people. Although we led a simple life in our year in the Alaskan Eskimo village, the experience was an enriching one for the entire family. This is that story.

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