70 & COVID-19 Virus

by Peter Twitchell

I’ll be 70 years old tomorrow. I was born April 25th, 1950 in a makeshift hospital Quonset after the Bethel Hospital burned to the ground. I was born to David & Sarah Twitchell. Both were Yupiaq Eskimoes.

My Dad was drafted into the United States Army when he was 17 years old and trained in Fort Lewis, WA for WWII wartime duty in the European theater with the 3rd Army under General Patton.

Dad was a decorated veteran for heroic duty earning the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Dad had high regard for Dwight D. Eisenhower. I remember Dad was tough as nails with a big heart.

He had the Twitchell Mercantile Store in Kasigluk and Akiak throughout the 1950’s extending credit and wrote off $15,000 dollars for people who couldn’t pay their charges at his village stores.

He loved the Elders and picked salmonberries every July for Grandma Williams who raised him in Akiak when he was an infant in 1924. His mom who was from Nelson Island/Tununak area died of tuberculosis after she gave birth to Dad.

Mom was born at Nunacuaq in 1909. Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me to love everyone and respect my Elders.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, a difficult time for all of humanity my daughter Suzi’s son, Dallas Owen Wesley “Agyaq” Rozelle was born April 5th, 2020 to proud mom and dad Robert at 1:13am.

When I looked out my window I saw the planet Venus twinkling in the sky. I named my grandson “Agyaq”, Star in Yup’ik language and despite the virus pandemic we are thriving thank God.