by Peter Twitchell
Imagine how isolated we were in Alaska before colonization. There were no roads, trains, airports. Not until steamships started sailing north did we have people and goods.
Even tools, dry goods, and mail was transported by dog team.
Let’s focus on 1970 when a 5 foot 2 inches tall nurse was working at a cardiac unit of a hospital in New Ulm, Minnesota. She was from Palisade, Colorado but her mom was from Minnesota so she experienced her mother’s land.
Alaska was calling this little lady with a big heart! She wanted the thrill of the experience so she bought a Datsun pickup in military green color and loaded her belongings and a lifesized Snoopy to ride in the passenger seat and headed North to the Last Frontier!
She took her time stopping frequently to visit and talk to “interesting” people along the 1,400 miles of the ALCAN Road.
She enjoyed herself and hung out in Canada for a month before her permanent move to Alaska. This woman arrived in Anchorage and this woman is the mother of my children: Saranne, David and Daniel.
She is also my best friend.
She was employed at the Indian Health Service in Bethel before retiring to raise her children. She and another young mother got together with other young mothers and started the “Little Red Pre-School” for all toddlers in Bethel, an alternative school which was successful and loved by the children and young parents of Bethel.
It was successful because of loving parents who wanted a healthy environment for their kids.
As the children grew up, Betty dedicated the rest of her community work to the teenagers of the Bethel Group Home and the Bethel Teen Center.
She retired and lives in the Mat-Su Valley spending quality time with her eight (8) grandchildren and one (1) great-grandchild Ryker.
Thank you Betty for your friendship and great devotion to the children of the Bethel area and beyond. God bless you richly and raise you up to His pure light.