Holiday Moments

The Juneau Empire offers these holiday memories captured on film by our readers as the conclusion to our Holiday Photo Contest. Thank you to all who entered, congratulations to all who won, and, on behalf of the Empire staff, the best of the season to all our readers.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2001

First Place: Reluctant angel

Ken and Joann Simpson were trying to get a perfect portrait of their daughter, Kayla Beth, wearing a halo last month.

Kayla Beth, who turned 2 on Nov. 23, wasn't sure she wanted to take part.

"We were attempting to take pictures for Christmas cards," he said. "She had limited patience for posing with the halo."

Simpson, former president of Haines Airways, said he knew Kayla Beth was expressing her displeasure at having to wear the halo, but the exact expression that showed up on the image was unexpected.

"I was a little surprised that it looked like we were going to be smited" for taking the pictures, he said.

After seeing the expression he captured, he captioned "What do you mean, 'Naughty or Nice' " on his entry.

Simpson said the photo was sent around to friends and relatives and may still make it on to the e-mail Christmas cards he is planning to send.

The Simpsons have two other children, daughter Lanie, 12, and son Joey, 15


Second Place: Reveling in the snowfall

As Rebecca Mass was driving her nearly 4-year-old son Aidan to a gymnastics class in the Mendenhall Valley around the holidays in December 1997, snow began to fall.

"Huge flakes started to fall, and he just started to giggle while he was still in the car," Rebecca Mass said.

As soon as the car came to a stop, Aidan got out and "just started playing.

"I thought, 'Oh, this is just too precious,' " Mass said.

It was a magical moment that she managed to capture on a series of photos, including the image she entered in the photo contest.

Rebecca Mass said temperatures that day warmed as the snow fell, allowing Aidan to go out without being bundled up against the cold and just enjoy watching each flake fall.

"I think that's the very first time he had them fall on his face, on his hands," she said. "He was just having a grand time."

Aidan is now almost 8, and is in the second grade at Harborview Elementary School.

Mass said one thing she enjoys about the story behind the picture is that there is not much to tell.

"I think it's just the simplicity," she said. "It doesn't take a lot to ... really just revel in the magic of the season."


Third Place: Christmas quintet

The happy quintet of kids in this photo have been together on Christmas Eve for years before and every year since this photo was taken 16 years ago.

From left, Monika Bethers, Brian Frederick, David Frederick, Jennifer Frederick and Jared Unruh were singing Christmas carols when this image was snapped on Christmas Eve, 1985.

"They all look so happy, like kids should be on Christmas eve," said Linda Unruh, Jared's mother, who entered the photo.

The Fredericks are Linda Unruh's sister's children, and Bethers is the daughter of close family friends.

The children are now grown and following many different goals, Linda Unruh said.

Bethers, now 19, is at college; Brian Frederick, 19, is at flying school in California; David Frederick, 21, works for Alaska Travel Adventures; Jennifer Frederick, 23, is studying at pharmacy school; and Jared Unruh, 18, is a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School.

However, she said, "we still get together every Christmas Eve," and added that the tradition will continue this year.


Honorable mention:

Shirley Walkush

Keanu and Malina Walkush, then ages 1 and 2, pose for the camera on Christmas last year in Juneau in this photo submitted by their grandmother Shirley Walkush. Keanu and Malina are the children of David and Leilani Walkush of Juneau


Honorable mention:

Judy Dusenberry

Clockwise from upper left, Joe Rolison, Jim Rolison, Judy Rolison Dusenberry and Janet Rolison Rutledge gather around the family manger scene at Christmas 1955 in Portland, Ore. Dusenberry, now of Juneau, submitted the photo and recalls it took many tries to get all the kids to stay still for this Christmas card image

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