Candy and Frances

Trip Start May 05, 2009
Trip End Sep 20, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a day we had in Fairbanks today! We started the day with a visit from Candy Waugaman. Val talked to her on the phone, and she said it was difficult to find her house she would just come to the hotel and get us. She arrived about 10 minutes later, and we followed her back to her house. What a house, and what collections she has. The first thing that caught Val's eye upon entering the kitchen was a collection of spoons. Candy tells us that they are all Alaskan, and she only has part of them displayed. She has over 500. They are all unique and beautiful.

The next remarkable sight was in the next room. Candy explains that her deceased husband was a hunter, and displayed on the wall are the heads of all of the known species of sheep in the world. He was one of 12 people in the world to have successfully hunted all of the species. Val wishes that she had taken a picture. It is very impressive.

We moved from collection to collection through Candy’s house. Dave spied the milk bottles and tins in one case. We looked at posters, and paintings, and who else do you know who collects burnt moose hides? The place is like a museum. It is absolutely amazing. One wall of a room holds her postcard collection in notebooks. Candy pulls out 4 notebooks with postcards of McKinley Park for our perusal.

Candy has just purchased two scrapbooks that belonged to D. T. (Dan) Kennedy. Dan was the first concessioner at Mt. McKinley Park and Preserve (now Denali Park and Preserve). This collection includes letters and pictures. Val feels as though she has hit the jackpot. What makes this discovery even more unbelievable is that Candy allows us to take this collection, that she just paid $7,000.00 for, and copy whatever we want. Val offered to leave Dave as collateral, but Candy is a pretty smart lady and she said, "No thanks." So off we go with thousands of dollars worth of her pictures, and Candy has met us for the first time today.

We got our copies made at the place Candy suggested, and our next stop was at Frances Erickson’s house. Frances is the daughter of Bobbie Sheldon who managed the concession in the park for 17 years. Frances lived in the park every summer from the age of 3 to the age of 13. Wow! She knew the Karstens family, she knew everyone who worked at Savage Camp. Frances is just a treasure. She is delightful, and confirms that Savage Camp was a fun place to live and work. Her father loved it there. Her mother did too, but not as much as her father did. Frances gave us lots of information on the record, and even some off of the record. Val is very excited.

Val and Dave want to do something for Candy because she has been so helpful, so they call and invite her to dinner. She agrees to meet them at the Salmon Bake. The plan was to take Candy to dinner, but she beat Dave to the punch and ends up buying our dinner. Wait a minute. This is not right. Candy has already done so much. Val and Dave have a great time at dinner with Candy, and then it’s hugs and goodbye for now. Candy says that when we come back to Alaska we need to stay with her. What a gal!

We got to Fairbanks on Thursday afternoon, and Val started her research at the university right away. On Friday Val completed her research at the college by 3:00 p.m. Saturday morning we spent with Candy, and Saturday afternoon with Frances. Sunday we will return to Savage Campground much richer in knowledge of our park’s past. We have gathered so much it is almost overwhelming.

Learning and loving it,

Val, Dave and Remington
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