My father’s first letter to mother upon his arrival in Anchorage, Alaska
June 11, 1957 – Anchorage, Alaska
My Dearest Mildred,
I’m writing this letter now because I know you’ll want to know I got here OK. But I hate to write right now because I wanted to write only cheerful letters, and I’m afraid this one won’t turn out to be very cheerful. I’m so lonely and blue and depressed right now, I’ve got a lump in my throat and I just feel like H ____ .
Everything is fine as far as the trip up here is concerned, and I’ll tell you about that in a minute, it’s just that feeling I knew would hit me sometime or other.
I’ve given up so much to come here, left so much behind me, and I feel like a little lost child. I’ll get over it soon, when I get on the job and begin to meet some people, but right now – today – I wish I’d never heard of Alaska. I don’t know how long it will be before you’re letters catch up with me, and that makes things worse. I think tomorrow I’ll be able to give you a better address, and then in four or five days after that I’m sure to have a letter. J
To get back to my trip, I stayed last night at the Olympia in Seattle, then at 6:00 this morning I went to another place where I was picked up by an Army bus and taken to McChord [sp?} Air Force Base near Tacoma. I got there at 8:15, and at 10:00 I was on the plane and taking off for Alaska (that magic name that I’ve talked about for so long). It was raining in Washington this morning, although yesterday was a beautiful day; and we climbed rapidly to 19,000 feet. From there we could look out over the blanket of clouds that covered the earth completely, and it was like that all the way until we hit the coast of Alaska where the clouds disappeared almost completely.
I had a good view of the country all the way from the coast to here, and it was beautiful. There’s still a lot of snow on the higher mountains south of here, but very little on the ones I can see from here. The weather here is pretty warm right now, very pleasant. The trip took 5 ½ hours, but we gained two hours on the clock so it was only 1:30 when we got here. It’s about 5:30 now, but it’s 8:30 where you are – that makes it seem even farther doesn’t it? I reported in to the District’s Personnel Office, was sent to the Housing Office, and given a room. I say room, and that’s about all it is! A room with a cot, a closet, and a chest of drawers, and a chair, period. If you ever had any doubts about me wanting to find a place for us to live you can be certain I’ll want to get out of here as soon as I possibly can.
I didn’t talk to anyone about my job yet, I’m to report again at 8:00 tomorrow morning for that. And as soon as I get oriented on that I’m going to start inquiring about housing. After I finish this I’ll go look for a place to mail it, and a place to eat supper, then I’m coming back here and go to bed. It’s been a long day and I’m tired. Tomorrow I’ll take a bus downtown and look around, and by tomorrow night I should be able to give you a lot more information.
I can imagine how things have been for you, and I’m sorry to burden you with my morose feelings. But you can do the same with me and we can cheer each other up.
Please be careful of yourself, my darling, you mean everything to me. I’ve worried so much about you and the children since I left, being so far away from you and out of touch for so long. And I love you with all my heart and soul, Mildred, I wish I could write it better but you know how much.
I hope the roses got there on time, kiss each one for me and I’ll feel it across the miles.
I wish so much that we could be together, but someday soon we will be and then this will all seem like a dream we had. Kiss each of the children for Daddy and know that I love you and think of you always, Bill