Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mother and Pioneer Peak

This is mother standing on the highway that ran from Palmer to Anchorage, probably somewhere in the vicinity of The Butte. The road ran straight to the mountain, crossed the Kinik River , and then ran along the base of the mountain alongside the river. We lived about four or five miles (?) from the place where the highway crossed the Kinik. Every spring a snow slide would come down and block traffic for a day or two.

This is obviously in summer, and I have an idea it was the first or second year we lived in Alaska.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Dad, the Provider

Dad was always a hunter. When we lived in Wyoming he hunted for deer and cottontail rabbits to supplement our diet. He shot a bear, too, but the meat turned out to be too strong to eat.

When we moved to Alaska he would go out each fall and bring home a moose. He was a very patient man and would locate a trail that had evidence of moose usage, and then he would sit and wait for one to come along.

He always came home with one, which he would skin, and then he and mother would cut it up down in the basement. Ron and I would wrap the meat, and in the freezer it would go. Mother always called the roasts rum roasts, no matter what part of the moose they came off of.

Moose is wonderful meat. It's very similar to beef, which was very, very expensive when we lived in Alaska.

Dad went hunting for carabou one year, but we didn't care for that meat as well, and mom asked him not to go again.

These pictures were taken somewhere in the early 1950's. I don't know who the fellow is who is helping Dad skin the moose.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Up a tree, as usual

This is kind of a puzzling photo, but illustrates a situation that happened a lot. I think I was caught in the fork of a tree, and Mom was trying to get me out. Tootie is trying to keep Mom from falling into the canal. You can see Mom's head peeking out from behind the tree, and one leg down below. One of Mom's feet is between Tootie's. Tootie, you will notice, is nattily attired in a cotton summer dress and saddle shoes.I think this was somewhere in Wyoming, in either 1949 or 1950. Anyhow, it was shortly before we went to Alaska.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grandmother in Hot Springs

This is a picture of grandma Smith, me (all small unidentified boys become me) and an unknown woman in front of grandma's house in Hot Springs. The building across the street is, I think, a church. Don't you love the adobe architecture? This was on a street on the east side of town, across the main drag from the school and a couple of blocks away. The time would have been about 1945 or so. The woman is dressed quite nattily, but I don't think it's Mom. She doesn't have the right gestalt. Grandmother would have been nearly 60 by then. The time was early spring, because the trees hadn't leafed out, but grandma isn't wearing a coat, so it can't have been too cold. I remember it snowing only once while we lived there. In the morning there was snow, so Dad built us a sled out of scrap lumber, but by the time he had it finished, the snow had melted.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Shook family at home in Alaska

This has to be late in 1951 or early in 1952. We were living in a log cabin on a country road around a large hill called "The Butte." In this photo, I'm 11, Tootie is 9/10, Dad is 40, and Mom is 35. Butch, the dog, is 5 (or 35)? This was for some occasion or other, since I am dressed up in my complete boy scout regalia, complete with flashlight. Mom is in her favorite outfit: sweater and slacks. Dad is wearing engineer boots, which is pretty much all he wore except on Sunday. Tootie's dress I don't remember all that well. She will, it is to be hoped, fill y'all in on it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Grandfather, Grandmother, and Butch

This is a picture of my grandparents on Mom's side. They are on the porch (!) of their home in Truth or Consequences. The family sons (and Dad) built it for them when I was about six. It was a smallish home, 24 feet or so on a side, square, with four rooms inside divided by two walls that crossed. Out back there was a screened in porch where I used to sleep when I visited there. I remember once how excited I was when I found a nest of black widow spiders in a corner by my bed. It was always kind of dusty, since New Mexico is always kind of dusty. This picture would have been taken in the early 1950's, I'd think. I think the dog is Butch, my family's black cocker spaniel, and a wonderful companion in all our travels. Good natured and willing to put up with a total lack of grooming, he was always there. He was struck by a car and killed on July 30, 1056. On the back of the picture is written, "Your old Folks. The dress I have on Anna made me for Ma day." I assume the picture was sent to Mom. Grandpa is wearing leather slippers. That's all I every remember him wearing, even when we went downtown.