Blink

Goosevia Daily Prompt: Blink

I was sitting with my mother this past summer during an early evening in June.  My husband was discussing some of the finer points of the agenda for the 75-year Commemoration of the bombing of Dutch Harbor and the evacuation of the Unangan people.  Events were to include a memorial ceremony, historical presentations, personal stories, many luncheons and dinners, and flyovers by historical aircraft.  The commemoration of a little-recognized part of history is significant and educational not only for those connected to World War II in the Aleutians, but for a much broader international public.  My mother, who was 87 1/2 in June, had been 12 years old when the events of WWII enveloped the islands that she called home and changed her life forever.

On the morning of June 3, 1942 and continuing June 4, Japanese planes rained bombs on her home town of Unalaska and the Navy and Army infrastructure that had been constructed for the protection of Alaska and the lower 48 states.  Within a month, her family was split apart as older siblings joined the military or, in the case of her two older sisters who had married servicemen, were evacuated to their husbands’ families in the lower 48.  She, three of her siblings and her mother were forcibly evacuated to an abandoned fish cannery in Southeast Alaska.  Her father, not being native, was not allowed to accompany them.  They were not allowed to return to their home until late in 1945.  Although the war ended, and things were supposed to return to normal, nothing was ever normal again.  Families were smaller, having suffered the loss of 10 percent of their population in the detention camp.  Economies were changed as industries that had been in place prior to the war had disappeared.  Many Unangan homes had been ransacked by the military personnel and were unfit for habitation.  The trust that they had in their government was badly damaged.  My mother’s family was never, ever all together again after July of 1942.

So, a 75th year commemoration was a pretty important event in the life of my mother.  It would mark a time when she knew that it most likely would be the last time she would see any of her friends who might come back for the commemoration.  Only a handful of original evacuees remain living in Unalaska, so she was looking forward to seeing her now distant friends.

As she sat in the living room of the home in which she grew up, a drone of engines, starting out faintly, grew louder and louder, soon passing directly over the house.  She turned toward us and in a surprised voice said, “The Japanese.”  In the blink of an eye, with the sound of the plane engines, she was transported back to what was, most certainly, a hellish part of her life.

 

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Women’s March 2017

mom-plus-3We are privileged to live in an extremely diverse town.  If you can think of a nationality, we most likely are fortunate to have one or two or a small community living here.  We just all live and work together.  Our community is a blue town living in a red state.  We believe in equality and justice for all.

In our disbelief, the results of the recent election finally crept up on us.  I kept thinking that something would happen between November and January to save us all from the fact that life as we have known it was going to go through some dark and drastic changes.  So I was ready to support my fellow women who were marching on Washington in peaceful protest.

We all marched for many different reasons. Because we can. My 87 year old mother marched to remind US citizens not to step on people’s civil liberties like happened to the Unangan/Unangas people during World War II.  She was 12 years old when her civil liberties were taken from her by the US government.

Ours was not as formal as some of the larger city marches. We didn’t have speakers. We did have signs. Great signs. One said Ataqan Akun.  We are one.  One of them said March 4 love. One said March against Hate. Another said equality and justice. One said feminist AF, carried by a man. One said Tuman tanax^ agliisaax*txin. Take care of the land. Another said Tuman alag^ux^ agliisaax^txin. Take care of the sea/ocean. And one said Ig^ayuux^txin, ang^im atxag^ingin agachan madada. Do the things you know are right.

And this is not right. Unfortunately, things are being taken away from us all, but some are suffering sooner than the rest of us. We, the marchers, just knew it would happen before others realized the impact.   We all need to practice the values handed down by the indigenous people of this great land   Our people. Our values….the right way to live as human beings.

Dedication and Procrastination

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I am a master at dedication.  Over the  years I have dedicated myself to performing major feats.  Raising three children on my own.  Coordinating a summer culture camp.  Planning a secret anniversary party for my parents with my sisters, where practically the whole town was invited, and it remained a secret.  Many, many feats.  So this morning, when I still have over 100 chocolates to dip, why am I sitting here procrastinating?  I will be mad at myself later when I am running around trying to get them packaged up.  I will really be pissed when I’m trying to squeeze in time to make that homemade ginger ale.  Why is it that I am a master at dedication and procrastination?  And look at that fingerprint on the peppermint…guess I’ll just have to eat that one.

A Quick Shout Out for Volunteering

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A community is nothing without the help of its community of citizens.  In our small community of 4000, we have hundreds of volunteers who help make Unalaska a great place to live.  We probably host about a dozen non-profit organizations who provide services ranging from art and culture to education and protection for victims of sexual assault and family violence.  These organizations provide much needed services, at a cost much less than a governmental agency can provide.  So when you are out and about, no matter where you live, think about volunteering for a non-profit.  If you don’t think you have the time to serve as a director on a board, or don’t think you have the expertise to help provide actual services, think about donating something at the next non-profit fund raising event.  Be involved.  And if you are involved with a non-profit, remember to thank your volunteers and the community for the support.  That’s what I’m busy doing this week.  I sit on the Board of Directors for the Museum of the Aleutians.  We are hosting our 6th Annual Chocolate Extravaganza.  It is just a fun event we like to host for the community every year.  It gets people out of the house in the dead of winter to mingle, taste a whole lot of chocolate, and, this year, to view a one night showing of the Museum’s acquisitions for the past year.  So if you are ever in Unalaska in February, come join us for chocolate.

That is what I have been doing this week instead of writing….making a whole lot of chocolate.  http://kucb.org/news/article/the-exchange-chocolate-chocolate-chocolate/

Kristuusax^ Ag^akux^! Amchuux^txichin!

From the land of saints, the faithful Orthodox in Unalaska, Alaska wish you a Merry Christmas.  This evening was the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.  Tomorrow we begin our tradition of following the Star of the East.  For three nights we will visit parish homes and sing carols.  We call it starring as we carry a large, decorated star and the star spins as we sing.

Kristuusax^  Ag^akux^!  Amchuux^txichin!  Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Kristuusax^ Ag^akux^! Amchuux^txichin! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

The title of this post is in Unangam tunuu, or the Aleut language.  We also say the phrase  in Slavonic.  Khristos Razhdayetsya!! Slavite Yego! And in English.  Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Happy 2013!!!

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Cousins….cool cousins with their ultra cool New Year hats from the Grand Aleutian Hotel. Awaiting midnight.
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Bubbly at the ready.
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A pretty amazing show put on by the the City of Unalaska!
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Love being able to watch the show from my driveway!
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12312012 011a We had the birthday cake and cupcakes for the two New Year Birthday babies.
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Happy Birthday! Happy New Year!!

Already, the year is so old??

Stunning firewords compliments of the City of Unalaska!

Good grief, time flies.  I really need to get past living from holiday to holiday, event to event, and meeting to meeting.  It blurs all those good days in between!

We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, celebrating not only the new year, but, of course, the birthdays of my mother, Gert Svarny, who welcomed her 81st year with perfect grace, and my husband, Caleb, who grumpily acknowledges his birthday each year.  Of course, if a big deal was not made of it, I am sure he would be totally disappointed!!

So every year, I debate the great cake question….what kind of cakes this year?  I settled on a cheesecake with a nut crust, enrobed in chocoate and served over a strawberry coulis, plus an incredibly dense chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  To tie them together, each had orange in them and were sprinkled with orange zest.

Cheesecake
Crazy, dense chocolate cake.

The chocolate cake was so heavy, (literally, I could not carry it with one hand) I was really afraid to cut into it and serve it.  But, thank god, it was absolutely delicious.  I believe I have found the perfect cake for the Chocolate Extravaganza!

Pirates invaded the party at about 11:45.

As we get older, we joke about being able to stay awake until midnight!  We have devised a schedule to help us out….a late dinner at 8 PM, socializing and drinking(!), then, started for the kids several years ago, we play our “traditional” New Year’s Bingo games with great prizes of things mom wants to get rid of!!  At 11:45 things start to ball up….getting the champagne ready, watching the ball drop, toasting the new year in, running outside to watch the fireworks, coming back inside for a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday, eating cake and opening presents!  By the time this is all done, it is usually about 1:30AM.

And so, with a great start for 2011, here’s hoping your year will be filled with happiness and prosperity.  If not that, at least have some fun!