by Charlotte Glover
January 05, 2005
Gee, according to Mr. Branco, it's amazing that I survived my twenties without "sophisticated social interaction." Going to college, teaching junior high and getting a masters degree took up too much of my time for me to be worrying about "entertaining" myself, though I do admit to really, really enjoying the twelve screen multi-plex University Cinemas near U of W and numerous trips downtown for live music, museums etc. When I chose to live in Ketchikan, at age 25, I knew I was giving up a number of big city entertainments for a slower, less commercial way of life. In addition to my job, I volunteered at KRBD and WISH, started a weekly theology group, went hiking and swimming, and had a lot of dinner parties and evenings out to our fine local restaurants with my friends in those early years. It was a blast. If you can't enjoy what we have here, it might not be the best place for you to live. Nothing wrong with that, but please don't say it needs to be more like Las Vegas of all places. I've been there... saw Tom Jones do a great show.... and thought it was the saddest, most artificial place I had ever been in my life of living in thirteen states, and numerous communities from urban NYC suburbs to rural NM, and travel to half a dozen foreign countries.
Like Ms. Thompson, I find it astonishing that someone of any age cannot keep busy in Ketchikan. There's live jazz music tonight at Cape Fox, I need to book a baby-sitter for two nights of professional Cabaret and Jazz later in the month with performers from NYC, the world famous Wearable Art show is coming up, the local theater group is the best in the country for a community this size, and we do get a remarkable number of performing artists and authors. There are plenty of places to drink in Ketchikan, and I'm sorry that you are not able to gamble, but the odds are not in your favor. That's an industry for people who can think of no better use of their money than to throw it away and it does prey on the lonely, the elderly and the dreamers, very often to the detriment of their families. Why not save your money and travel like so many Ketchikan residents? I have never met so many fine and interesting people as I have in Ketchikan and am amazed by the places they go- Australia, Thailand, Norway, Ireland, South of France, Russia, etc. The sky is the limit. If you have money for drinking and gambling, you have money for travel. When I was having 'island fever" last year, I went to NYC and DC, visiting relatives and seeing shows. I had a fabulous time, but after a week, I could not wait to get back to our quiet island. We have something rare and precious here and all the lounges and dance clubs in the world won't fill what's missing in your heart if you can't appreciate it.
Finally, all of the entertainments you mentioned are generally done by private business, not local government. Some variations on your ideas have been tried in the past two decades with greater or lesser success. I agree both public and private enterprise could be more creative in offering recreation here (I would love a skating rink myself) but it may simply be the case that the population is too small to economically support what you wanting. There is such as thing as an economy of scale and that's why small towns have very different retail and cultural environments than cities. Ketchikan has an incredible arts and entertainment scene for a town of its size and would be the envy of any similiar community in the country.
And don't worry.... your twenties won't last forever. With any luck, you'll be thirty or forty or fifty something like the rest of us and begin to appreciate what you have instead of wishing for what you don't.
All the best,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.