Neighbors mailbox

Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thanks for sponsoring my Australia trip

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I would like to thank the following sponsors for their help in supporting me to participate in People to People, where I traveled to Australia this summer. While in Australia, I met the mayor of Burdekin Shire and took part in "Full On," where I learned to conquer my fears and learned leadership skills. I enjoyed spreading good will of Alaska and the United States while in Australia.

A sincere thank you to: Lions Club; Eagles; BPO Elks 420; American Legion Post 25; Steller Financial; Simpson, Tillinghast and Sorensen, P.C.; Curves; Rep. Beth Kerttula; Alpha Gamma; Dr. Mark Reiderer; F/V Lady Leona (Dave and Sherry Garrison); Dr. Larry Foster; Judy Weske; Val; Lind; Frankie Miller; Molly Box; Wells and Barbara Gabier; Carolyn Reddekopp; Jan Somerville; Wanda Fleming; Helen Fleming; Marva Hatch; Amy Steffian; Tom and Shelly Bates; Ginger Morton; Sally Millay; Sue Karlstyst; Bob and Heather Mitchell; North West Souvenirs (Steve and Toni Hogberg); Louise Dawson; Elizabeth Lucas; Sharon Lowe; Laura Conrad; Anker and Sandy Evans; Arlene Buonamassa; and my mom and dad; as well as all the individuals that purchased from me at the craft fairs.

Jasmin Evans

Student ambassador, People to People


Reunion has graduate thinking of Juneau

They say you can't go home again, and yet, every 10 years, that's just what many Americans do. For me, the magic year of homecoming ends with seven. This year, 2007, is my 30th high school reunion from Juneau-Douglas High School. I left Juneau in 1984 and rarely return, but this summer I am making two trips to the land of my youth, and my thoughts turn to change and constancy. So much is different about Juneau: covered sidewalks through a cleaned up South Franklin, dedicated tour ship docks, Mount Roberts Tramway, and new construction everywhere.

What struck me the most however, are the trees. Everything just appears different because the trees have grown so much. The entrance to my old neighborhood on O'Day Drive in Tongass Park is obscured because of the encroaching trees, the downtown residences are dwarfed by trees, and the Mendenhall Glacier, well, have you seen it lately? The boulders where my sisters and I frolicked and climbed are covered with lichen and alders and, according to local geologists, will soon sprout spruce and hemlock. And the trees behind my old home in Tongass Park? Those humongous trees that we spotted with rope swings and tree forts have been cleared and replaced with rows of homes. I couldn't find the scrappy tree that grew off a cliff out by Auke Bay. Maybe it finally succumbed to the harsh winds. I like to think it has grown so strong, it is unrecognizable. Yes, the trees are different.

People also have changed. Life experience has taught me that, thank goodness, I was not done maturing when I graduated from high school those many years ago. People grow up. Sometimes it takes a long time, but eventually our brains catch up with our bodies and we stop racing the highlands and begin driving with seatbelts. Those differences that seemed so stark in high school, that placed us into social cliques, meld gently into middle age so we are no longer stoners or band kids or jocks - we are just people with mortgages and laugh lines.

On my most recent visit, I felt overwhelmed by the changes in Juneau. The tide of familiar faces ebbed, and although I elbowed my sister every time I saw someone who looked in my age range and asked her, "Do we know that person?" It seemed we rarely did. I couldn't help wonder if there was anything left of me in Juneau, until we landed in Funter Bay and I walked along the shore, and the ocean welcomed me home. I live in Washington, with its privatized beaches and waterfront properties posted with "No Trespassing" signs. The beaches I comb are devoid of life; they are unfamiliar and standoffish. Although I skipped a lot of science in high school, I do realize that the ocean that sweeps through Chatham Strait is the same ocean that slips through the Puget Sound, but the two are simply worlds apart. The Juneau ocean is constant; I recognized the waves.

There are few things as quirky and vibrant as Juneauites. Letters to the Juneau Empire editor are fervently spicy. Activism is part of the 4th of July parade and discussion at the Moose Lodge. My sisters and I grew up with the mantra that we could become anything that we wanted because Alaska is full of self-made mavericks; I thought I could change the world by going door to door and handing out pamphlets. When I moved from Juneau, I discovered, however, it is difficult to galvanize the apathetic. The rest of the world doesn't think like Alaskans. Juneau makes you feel like your voice matters - that hasn't changed.

You know that saying about home? I guess it means that when you do go home again, everything will have changed so much that it isn't really home. But they are wrong. Life is in constant flux; home is that part inside you that doesn't change. Going home again is part remembering and part renewing, and not only can you return, you also should revisit home. It's good for your soul. Here's to you, Juneau. I hope I see you before 2017.

Linne Clarke Haywood

JDHS Class of 1977

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