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Kiffer's Hearty Alaska Haven
by June Allen


April 19, 2005

How about this for a marketing slogan for our town: Ketchikan, Alaska, a "Whole Other World!"... which leaves us with "WOW!" That should make a good, different, and pretty accurate description of our town that even ad agencies might use without gagging.
And, I want to set my friend Dave Kiffer straight about thinking that perhaps the word "haven" in describing Ketchikan conjures  up old folks' homes. Now that thought really annoys me! Living in an old folks "haven" as I do, and have done for the past almost-four years, I've gotta tell you this, "Haven" is one of the most ridiculous word I've ever heard if applied to senior housing facilities!
In six weeks I'll be 76 years old, and let me tell you, I started getting a little younger from the day I moved into this lovely "haven" called Willow Pointe! Somehow, somebody or somebodies had talked me into thinking that I was getting "old" back when I was 72. After I got here, I began to gradually get younger! I actually am a little younger than some of the others here and I discovered pretty quickly that the generic word "old" doesn't really describe people our ages.
Nor does "haven" work! Sometimes this place is a battleground when one of us old gals gets the day started off on the wrong foot. Sometimes it's one huge work party, more like an impromptu picnic when it comes time for spring planting in our little garden out back. Sometimes, many times, it's the most wonderfully peaceful, caring place of quietly helpful people I've ever known.
These years toward the ends of our lives are not a sad decline as much as having "saved the best for last!" As my neighbor said today, "You know, when I got up today I made my bed, washed up my breakfast dishes, dusted a little and then realized, 'I don't have to go to work today! I don't have to do anything if I don't want to! I'm no longer on Company Time!'" Halleluja, we use our time the way each of us happens to feel like it.
And that gives me an opening to brag. Earlier this year I entered a Fairbanks playwriting contest, the "8x10 Festival," and by gosh and by golly, I was a winner! So this weekend we're going up to Fairbanks and see my play staged. And the play is about, maybe you guessed? living in a senior housing facility. Trust me, it's a comedy. And the biggest thrill of having been a winner was that I realized that younger, much younger, people are interested in the scary mysteries of what they think of as "old age." So maybe I'll expand it into three acts and shop it around Anchorage.... Why not, who knows.
June Allen
Palmer, AK - USA


Related Column:

Hearty Alaska Haven by Dave Kiffer- Six months ago, I wrote a column noting that local tourism officials were looking to improve the marketing of Ketchikan by coming up with a "brand"that could be used to distinguish Ketchikan from its competitors for the visitor dollar.- More...
Monday - April 18, 2005



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