|A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1981|
Spring Semester/Summer in Juneau
Jeanne went to the SCA event (12th Night) in the central part of the Kingdom in California, (early January) and among other things was told by Radnor who had just stepped down as King to congratulate me on my Rose Leaf. She was surprised. He confirmed that he'd given it to me at October Crown (it was later published in the SCA newsletter, so it was "official"). So when she came back from the event she told me that. I was floored ... (I mention the SCA awards, because they helped me with my own self-image issues ... some of these recognitions came at times I really needed an ego-boost.)
Lots of trips to Anchorage to see Jeanne in the late winter/early spring. She then moved to Juneau. I don't recall what prompted this, except it was a chance to move away from her mother. She moved in March, and I was depressed for awhile (you can't drive to Juneau, and driving to Hanes, then taking the ferry wasn't exactly a single-day trip).
I made it through the semester though, and moved to Juneau to live with her there. During the time she was there, an SCA group was getting started, which eventually became the Shire of Earngyld (and now the Barony ...), although the first name was the Shire of the Thousand Isles. I moved there, and as a person with a Rose Leaf (mid-level SCA Arts award), somehow I was the highest ranking member of the group.
It was fun, but Juneau is a bit claustrophobic for me. You can't drive to/from Juneau, you can only drive so far. Then you hit mountain or you hit ocean. And the mountains are STEEP. It also rains a lot. And I do mean a LOT. If my memory is correct (and who knows at this point), there was one week where it didn't rain at all, and the rest of the time the rain-less days were scattered. Juneau is rain-forest country, and it shows in the trees, the green everywhere during the summer, and so on.
Don't get me wrong. You cannot beat the scenery in Juneau. It's a beautiful place. There's the Mendenhall Glacier in driving distance, the trees, oh the glorious trees (huge -- right up to the sky) ... the bald eagles everywhere, the mountains, the ocean. It's all there. As a place to visit, it's absolutely stunning. I just don't think I could ever live there.
Of course, at the time I didn't care. I was living with Jeanne, and we were happy -- besides, we already had planned to go back to Fairbanks in the fall. I had tried finding work at a variety of places, but was having no luck. I ended up working at Bullwinkle's Pizza, which was a lot of fun. It was a neat little restaurant, with a great juke box selection, and really good food. Fun people to work with helped, too. I remember I had to walk across a bridge to get to Juneau proper for work ... I got used to the rain, but never really liked it.
When the summer was over we moved back to Fairbanks. I moved back to the dorms, into another single room (whew!), Jeanne got an apartment with some friends.
One thing that really surprised me -- Courtney and/or Bob (who she got engaged to fairly shortly after we got divorced), during the summer while I was in Juneau, started spreading nasty stories about me in the local SCA group. I was stunned. I came back and there were some new people in the SCA who were scared of me. (???) After I returned she and Bob stopped playing in the SCA at all as far as I can remember. It took awhile to get some of the new folk to realize I wasn't a horrible ogre. (I never asked for details of the stories, maybe I should have ...?)
Jeanne had become really close friends with Tania and Chris Opland, and they rented an apartment in downtown Fairbanks. I obviously spent a lot of time there.
Jeanne ended up reading parts of my diary and writing responses. That is a bit weird to re-read after all these years ...
Jeanne (Antadina du Nordlac), Tania (Danpira Snowsong of Skyhaven), Chris (Falchion Mountaintamer of Skyhaven), Tim (Wolf Federweiss) and I started the SCA group on the Fairbanks Campus - "The College of St. Boniface". We tried for "Wizard's Keep", trying to rationalize it as "It would take an act of wizardry for one of us to graduate", but the heralds didn't buy into that one. Oh well.
Early this semester (September), we (Jeanne and I) went to Seattle for An Tir's first Crown Tournament. This was a fun trip ... it also led to our bringing the King up to Alaska in December ostensibly to rescue his sheep. The event in An Tir was a real eye-opener for me. I had never been at an SCA event anywhere but in Alaska at that point. This was HUGE. I was also going through a bit of a crisis phase regarding the next level award -- the Laurel. I was wondering why I didn't have one yet. (Dumb ... don't let yourself fall into that trap, it's really bad.) After meeting people who DID have the Laurel, and having some long talks with them, I realized I wasn't ready yet. This was great for me, because I was able to relax and enjoy doing stuff for the SCA again. Odd how something like that can mess you up.
The school year itself sort of came and went. I can't remember much about it. (I know I was there, really!)
I got a job at the University of Alaska Computer Network (UACN) as a student consultant. Basically we handled the tech support end of things. It was a really fun job, and was about 20 hours a week. The pay was pretty good, and I was having a blast there.
I met a guy who was in the Air Force as a crew chief, but he couldn't tell us more about his job. (We later put two and two together, and figured out that Mark worked on one of the stealth fighters, but he never admitted to anything ...) He was into computers, name of Mark McWhirter, and he LOVED playing around on the UACN system. He and I became really fast friends in here somewhere ... I can't remember exactly when, but he was a lot of fun to hang around with. Mark became a really good friend for some years.
Mark recently in an email (Feb., 2005) noted:
Oh, I need to clear up a misconception - what I was working on in the military while in Alaska -
some more information about the platform -
In the end I worked on RC-135 models of all kinds, and EC-135, WC-135, and others. I ended up working briefly on AWACS, and had the distinction of taxing in Air Force One one time...
Briefly, one particular plane was the most expensive ever produced, the RC-135S model. It tracked incoming ballistic missles, and photographed them. It is currently in the middle of alot of hot situations over the Sea of Japan, reconning North Korea ...
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