Former Alaskan pens story of early pioneering days

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002

Kansas resident Kathy Slamp has written a book about her childhood in Fairbanks for five post-war years, 1947-1952.

"My parents moved our family to Alaska from San Antonio, Texas, in the fall of 1947, and together we experienced some unbelievable adventures," said Slamp, who was 4 years old when the move occurred.

Her book is titled "Our Little House in the Arctic, An Adventure Story." It is available through her distributor, Todd Communications.

Mosquitoes, the pleasures of picking wild rhubarb and berries, the muck of breakup, ordering school clothes from Sears and Roebuck, panics over polio, reading, reciting and playing music for entertainment, water in the fuel lines, the necessity of scraping ice from the inside of the windshield while driving - these are the stuff of which "Our Little House in the Arctic" is made.

Slamp ekes out the tales of daily family life with details about the downtown Fairbanks fire of 1950, roadhouses, the building of the Alaska Highway, Gold Rush history, Jonas Salk, Sgt. Preston, Chiang Kai-Shek, the aurora borealis, Burma Shave signs and travel by the steamship Bananof, among other topics.

The young family moved to Alaska because Slamp's father accepted a job as pastor of a small church. They live in a small "compound," experiencing typical power outages, snow storms and medical emergencies. Several pages of color snapshots help to tell the tale.

The family adapts with good humor to its challenges. Her father's church blossoms, but eventually he decides to transfer to a church of 500 in Ohio. Parishioners sign a petition hoping he'll change his mind, but he is adamant.

"The people who are reading this book absolutely love it," Slamp said.

Since her days in Alaska, Slamp has taught in six states at all levels and has also served as a school administrator. She resides with her husband in Wichita, Kan. As the founder of Vessel Ministries, she speaks extensively around the United States and Canada. She can be reached by telephone at (316) 729-2597 or by e-mail at dkslamp@cs.com.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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