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Ruth Sandvik

Ruth Sandvik: Interview Outline: Section 5

Parents moving to Kiana and buying items from the store

Tape Reference Number: H2002-09-11
Ruth Blankenship-Sandvik talks with Bill Schneider and Eileen Devinney in Kiana, Alaska on February 28, 2002.

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Bill Schneider: I kind of sidetracked you a little bit, so I guess back to the story of -- of this community. And so your -- your parents then moved here and --

Freddy Jackson and Elwood Atoruk

Freddy Jackson and Elwood Atoruk in front of old Blankenship store in the 1950s

[Photo courtesy of Thomas Jackson]

Ruth Sandvik: And then --

Bill Schneider: And they bought the store?

Ruth Sandvik: And then they bought the store. And we were in a place kitty-corner from where we are now. And then when he bought the -- the present store and moved over there, he sold the kitty-corner area.

And let's see. I'm trying to think the year he died. I think it was '57. And so he was in the hospital in Fairbanks, which is why I got involved with -- with the store at all. He was -- he was a veteran. I think he had 17 or 18 years in the service, but there weren't any veterans homes here when he had a stroke, and certainly no medical facilities nearby, so Fairbanks was the nearest place.

Bill Schneider: So you took care of the store while he was --

Ruth Sandvik: Well, I had a first -- his nephew, who was my first cousin, came up from North Carolina.

Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.

Ruth Sandvik: And he had just gotten out of the service. And he -- he enjoyed mostly doing things with the Eskimos. He liked to hunt with them, and he -- he was really, I always said, more Eskimo than the Eskimos.

But all of a sudden when this happened, my father had a stroke and my mother had died by then, we had to buckle down and get the store going. So it started off as a part time thing for me because I was married and had children, and my husband had a career. He was a geological engineer.

And so I -- wherever we went, I herded, I came back with a herd of children every summer and fall and took care of the store to -- and then relieved my cousin every March. But the children have all had connection with -- with Kiana.

Bill Schneider: Uh-hum. And your mother had died earlier?

Ruth Sandvik: Yes, she had died earlier. Let's see, I'm trying to think. 1953, I think.

Bill Schneider: Uh-hum.

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