These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.
CED – About 1940-41, things were getting red-hot. Major Marston was up there in charge of the Alaskan Defense Command. He was based in Anchorage. Rusty made friends with him – he made friends with everyone he talked to. He met the Governor of Alaska (Ernest Gruening) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Gruening) through Major Marston. Rusty came home one night and he said, “Know what they’re going to do? Major Marston says that the Governor wants to go around the whole perimeter of Alaska and try to develop a reasonable defense system for Alaska. I guess it was Major Marston’s idea. Major Marston said, “None of us know anything about Alaska, the Eskimos, the Indians. We should go around and meet these native people. They know the land and if any problems develop with the days coming, we would be lost. We would not know what to do.” He said, “We want to get an Alaska Defense going with native people.” Governor Goering says, “Well, you know what? I don’t know any either. I’m the Governor of this territory and I’d like to go around with you and meet these people that I’m supposed to be Governor of.” So, Rusty sat and listened to all this talk and he said, “You wouldn’t want to take me along, would you? I have had this in the back of my mind for years. I would like to do a series of pictures on the discovery of Alaska.” His whole goal, idea and the love of his life was Alaska. He said, “I would like to have a chance to go around to all these places and make sketches.” “OK, come on along,” they said. That’s where he got this series of eighteen paintings, starting with the fellow who came from Russia, sailed to Alaska and took it for the Russians. That was the first painting. He did the Gold Rush and sixteen others. This was after he moved to Fairbanks.
Painting by Capt. Hurlin (Huerlin), formerly of the Alaska Territorial Guard at Barrow.
It depicts Major Muktuk Marston in 1942 on one of his many trips by
dog team through the Arctic northland enlisting te Eskimos, Indians, and
Aleuts in the Alaskan Territorial Guard, the forerunner of today’s famed
Alaska National Guard Scouts.
Pub. by Ward Wells Photographer, Anchorage, Alaska
Rusty moved to Fairbanks and got married. He was probably in his 60’s, and he married a girl from the Fairbanks News. At this point he decided that he would teach Art so he got a job teaching Art at the University. He did that for quite a while. After he got these pictures done, the University said to him, “Why don’t we set up a building for you and fix it with a huge rotating platform and you could put these eighteen paintings all the way around the building.” They talked it over and they got the Poet Laureate of Alaska to narrate the story. He did a beautiful job and that’s up there. If you ever get to Alaska, you should see it in Fairbanks. (I believe this park is called “Alaskaland” .
Alaska is different than any other state. This place is out of town about ten miles or so. It’s a park sort of thing. They have a huge boat there that they have on display, probably like the boats they used up there. This one building is all Rusty’s paintings. They also have a museum and other historic stuff.
Rusty was an amazing person. He did posters during the war with “uncle Sam Needs You” on them. When my wife, Fannie, my sister, Biss and I went to the University of Alaska, we told them what we were after, and they took us down to the basement and showed us some of his work.
Ced had been in contact with Rusty and they were going to visit during this trip but Colcord Magnus “Rusty” Heurlin passed away on March 10, 1986, in his 90th year, four months before Ced’s trip to Alaska. It would have been one fantastic reunion.
Tomorrow, more Random Memories, most from Dave.