Up North

07/15/2012

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Picture
The Old Cabin
I had a bit of a different childhood.  I grew up at Mile 497 of the Alaska Highway - a place about halfway between two towns - Watson Lake (Yukon) 3 hours to the north and Fort Nelson 4 hours to the south.   We started out living in the Old Cabin (on the left) which my parents had built several kilometers out in the woods, away from the highway.  I don't really remember a whole lot about this place.  I only lived here for a year - I think there was a fire? - and we bought the cafe out on the highway.  I remember this place not as it looks in that picture, but in a state of disrepair - parts of the roof fell in and people eventually started taking logs for firewood.  

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I grew up working - I was seven years old when I first started helping out with cleaning the rooms - I would get $1 per bed I made.  I had a really hard time getting the pillowcases onto the pillows - for me it was a huge struggle and the pillows were piratically bigger than I was. When I got older I took on the task of doing the laundry.  I learnt how to fold sheets on my own - something again quite challenging when you are a little girl - it was one of my proudest accomplishments.  After my stint being the laundry girl, I was given the task of cleaning the RV park - raking the grass, organizing the rocks around the fire pit, picking up garbage, restocking the outhouses and cleaning the bathrooms.  The only time I ever refused to do any task was when my mom once told me I had to dig through the bathroom garbage to find paper towel I could reuse to clean the floor.... I still think that's just gross.  

When I was 12, I started waitressing. I loved waitressing - maybe not the mornings when mom would come bang on my door at 6am to get me to cover a shift for someone who had failed to turn up to  work.  But I loved the work.  I loved the busy-ness of it - running around like crazy was incredibly fun for me.  And the tips! I'm sure they weren't anything compared to say what a girl working in Cactus Club makes, but to me, it felt like a fortune.  I waitressed every summer until we sold the lodge in 2003.... and I haven't been back since.  

It feels crazy to me that those days that feel like yesterday are long gone. I have a serious itch pulling me back in that direction.... 

 


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