Homelessness Disappointing

by Peter Twitchell

A bit of sad happening at Watson’s Corner. Over the winter my Mom Sarah Twitchell’s home at Watson’s Corner was used by the homeless of Bethel and trashed. I was informed by a friend of mine that it was no longer habitable or salvageable.

Just as well, we can’t take it with us when we go.

The entire building is covered with exterior sheet iron. If anyone cares to take that for fishcamp smokehouse, be sure to use good breathing apparatus to keep from breathing bacteria or any hazardous material.

I told Betty that she can ask the Bethel Fire Department if they want to use the 2 story structure for fire training, they would be welcome to burn the building down.

After retiring our family had to leave my home of Bethel because it was not feasible to live there any longer, not on Social Security. I always said Bethel became a two-income community due to the high cost of living.

That probably explains why Bethel residents have relocated elsewhere in our State.

Anchorage has become the biggest village in Alaska, and so has the Mat-Su Valley. I believe because it is more feasible to live here.

I have the utmost respect for folks who still make rural Alaska their home, still living on subsistence food staples. That is healthy. Our salmon gives us longevity and good health, as well as other staples like black and white fish, smelt, burbot, pike, and needlefish – eaten with seal oil.

I never got tired of it and it kept us warm and energized! Healthier than canned commercial foods. Berries are always a good source of vitamins.

No regrets. The house was built in 1938 by Mom and her husband Toni Sumi. I grew up in that house and it was unique. The ground beneath the house was excavated and a there was a woodstove constructed of welded heavy quarter inch steel covered with asbestos, a fire retardant.

Mom and Dad used to load the stove with whole 8” in diameter two foot logs and go to bed. The first floor was vented in all rooms and vents were opened and heat rose to the attic.