What is the prescription for finding home in Alaska? Take one young Mennonite girl and transplant her from the flatland prairies of Kansas. Give her village potlatches, school in a Quonset hut, the fragrance of wood smoke, Native friends, a doctor for a father who creates hunting tales and medical adventures with a bush plane, a mother who makes the tastiest moose roasts and has the grit to be a homesteader, and throw in a batch of siblings.
"Written more for local Residents....."
Just as the Alaska spawning salmon swim upstream, so did this single woman swim against the current of a society that expected her to fit the mold of wife and mother. When this rite of passage eluded Anna Bortel, she did not bemoan her singlehood. Instead, in 1954, this young school teacher drove up the Alaska-Canada Highway from Ohio to Valdez, where snow was measured in feet and an Easter Egg hunt unheard of. Her curiosity wasn't quelled. She pushed farther north to an Athabascan village along the Yukon River. Drafty Quonset huts with freezing oil lines at 50 below zero added to her teaching rigors. Discouraged? Yes. Daunted? No.