Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Helen Josefsen and Trinket Gallien

Helen Nagy Josefsen and her daughter, Trinket Nagy Gallien, were interviewed on October 1, 2017 by Jan Yaeger at the Harbor Lights House Assisted Living Facility in Soldotna, Alaska. In this interview, Helen talks about growing up in Seldovia, attending school, and operating a beauty shop in Anchorage. She also talks about Russian Orthodox church traditions, restoration of Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox church in Seldovia, and the work she did to start the museum in Seldovia and take in community donations of artifacts. Throughout the intervew, Trinket helps her mother remember details by offering prompts and reminders based on things she has heard in the past.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2014-17-19

Project: Seldovia Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Oct 1, 2017
Narrator(s): Helen Josefsen, Trinket Gallien
Interviewer(s): Jan Yaeger
Transcriber: Varpu Lotvonen
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
Institute of Museum and Library Services, Seldovia Village Tribe
Alternate Transcripts
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There is no slideshow for this person.

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Family background and childhood in Seldovia

Attending high school

Getting interested in art

Russian Orthodox Church traditions

Restoration of Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Seldovia

Icon and chandelier restoration

Funding for church restoration project

Reconsecration of the church, and community working together

Leading the restoration project, and restoring it to original as much as possible

Visiting priests

Family background of her second husband, Simon Josefsen

Living in Seldovia and at MacDonald Spit, and traveling to Seldovia by skiff

Being in Anchorage during the 1964 Earthquake

Moving back to Seldovia, and her husband's work as an artist

Starting the Seldovia Museum

Tracking donations and displaying objects

Getting interesting items donated

Problems of keeping items in the community, and lack of storage and display space

Community cooperation to complete projects

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JAN YAEGER: It is October 1st, 2017, my name in Jan Yaeger and I’m speaking with Helen Nagy Josefsen and Trinket Gallien, her daughter, and this is a recording for Project Jukebox and for the National Park Service Traditional Heritage project.

And Helen, were you born in Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, I wasn’t, but -- went there when I was about ten years old. Nine or ten, in that area. Yeah. Came from An -- gosh, where were we living before? I can’t even -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Fairbanks.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: In Fairbanks. Yeah, we came down from Fairbanks, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: But you were born in McGrath. HELEN JOSEFSEN: And yeah, I was born in McGrath, yeah, and grew up ‘til I was about three, four, five years old and then we went -- moved to Fairbanks ‘cause I had to go to school and they didn’t have a -- what the heck is that before -- kindergarten.

They didn’t have kindergarten in Seldovia (probably means McGrath) so had to go. We went down there to go to school, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So what brought your family to Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: What brought my -- oh, my dad -- fishing. Dad -- dad was a mechanic and he had a machine shop there. They worked on the boat engines and -- and we lived on the dock and little houses on top and his shop was on the bottom, and --

And so we lived up on -- up the slough, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah. Was a good place to be. Just over the hill from the boardwalk, 'cause we weren’t on the boardwalk, we were on the beach, yeah. Or not on the beach, but on the road. Hm, mm. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And what was it like being a child in Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, you were always busy. If you wanted to work you could work, ‘cause you could always get a babysitting -- a girl -- well, boys, too, I guess, did babysit.

You could always get a babysitting job because when the canneries were workin,’ the mothers and -- and the fathers were usually workin' there, you know.

JAN YAEGER: I’ve heard someone say that the slough was a fabulous babysitter by itself. Did you spend a lot of time playing there? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Up at the school. Yeah, well, that was the only playground there was ‘cause otherwise it was the beach, and when the tide was in you can’t go play on the beach.

And then -- then -- and then up at the school had a playground with swings and a teeter-totter and a -- I don’t know what else was it -- I don’t know. Stuff to do, you know, things to play on, yeah. Slide to slide down and -- and things like that ‘cause you usually had --

like when you got about ten or so years old, you had another kid to watch -- to watch, you know, so -- or make sure they were safe on the sl -- on the play equipment. Yeah. Uh-huh.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Was that your brother or what? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah, my brother for sure. And then my sister, she was -- but she was real small, ‘cause she was only ten. I mean, I was only ten -- TRINKET GALLIEN: You were ten, yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- and she was -- just -- just a real crawl ‘em around thing.

JAN YAEGER: So you're the oldest in your family? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yes, uh-huh. Yeah. JAN YAEGER: And so John is your brother, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yes, uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: And then -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: My sister, Diane, yeah. She works with -- she works with the young kids, uh-huh. Yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And who were your parents? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Cra -- My dad was -- had a machine shop. He worked on boat engines. Leroy was his name. And then mom wor -- usually worked in the cannery in the summertime. Odd -- she did odd jobs, yeah. UIh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. So Leroy Crawford would have been his name? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, Crawford. My name was Helen Crawford, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Uh-huh. And I had a brother, a younger brother. He was three years younger than me. He is, not was. And then Diane, my little sister, and she was ten years younger than me. So I -- so I babysat her most of the time while mom worked in the cannery and stuff, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Do you remember which cannery your mom worked in? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Well, yeah. Well, there was three canneries. Let’s see. The AYR shellfish, and then -- what the heck -- I can’t even remember name -- what’s the name of the other cannery? I can’t even remember the name of the cannery I worked in. I’ll remember it when you leave. (Laughter.)

JAN YAEGER: Was it -- I know Wakefield was a cannery? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Wakefield's, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: And so that’s the one I couldn’t remember, Wakefield's. And my mom worked in Wakefield’s, too. And, well, everybody in town worked for the can -- that needed a job, yeah.

So it was -- it was pretty -- it was a busy town. It really was. ‘Cause, well, we had the boardwalk and then all the kids were always out on the boardwalk or under the boardwalk during the daytime.

Then when the tide was out, we always had the beach to play on and stuff like that so -- You were always busy, yeah. You weren't fishing or hiking, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: When was it that you left Seldovia and went and lived with Auntie Bertha before you came back? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I went -- yeah. I was -- I think I was ten years old when I went to live with Auntie Bertha and Uncle Eddie, yeah. ‘Cause might have been a little older. I can’t even remember when it was.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. But you did leave Seldovia for a while, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, uh-huh. ‘Til --

JAN YAEGER: And where was that, that you went to? HELEN JOSEFSEN: In Anchorage, uh-huh, yeah. Stayed in Anchorage with my -- with my aunt and uncle, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah.

And then I went to school up there a couple years, too. Yeah. Man, that was like -- that was a long time ago. I can’t remember. Holy moly.

JAN YAEGER: And so did you finish school up there or did you -- or in Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Ah, let's see, where did I graduate? I think we ha -- I think we did have teacher come that year -- my senior year and -- and -- and I graduated in Seldovia, yeah. Three of us.

Yeah, there was three of us. Me, Noelle and Mae -- Mae Carlough and Noelle Raymond and me were the graduating class. Three girls, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: That sounds like classes are about the same size then as they are now. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah (laughter). Yeah, yeah, really it was small class. But you got a lot of special attention. And it was -- it was interesting. I enjoyed it.

We always had good teachers that enjoyed teaching the kids, you know. They didn’t just give you something to do and tell you to go sit down and do it. They were always working with us and stuff like that. They -- they were good teachers and -- and you ended up really liking them, you know. As a kid even, you know, ‘cause I don’t think there was one that the kids didn’t like, you know.

Because all the high school kids were together. We had classes -- the classes we had were in, you know, freshman, junio -- freshman -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Sophomore. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- sophomore, junior, senior. We didn’t -- ‘cause you had like -- I think I had my sophomore class -- my first year in high school. Then I had junior and then I had freshman class, and then the senior class. Yes. TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s how they do it now.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, that -- and they still do it the same way now. ‘Cause there’s never enough kids for -- for to have all the -- all of the classes, yeah. So it was fun. It was interesting, I thought, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s interesting that it’s reverted back to that. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, really, 'cause they did -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Because when I was in school -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yes. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- it wasn’t like, you know, -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. You guys had to -- TRINKET GALLIEN: There were a lot more students, so -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So did you have individual grades? TRINKET GALLIEN: Mm-hm. In high school we did, yes.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. So all seventh graders together and not mixing with eighth graders and so on? TRINKET GALLIEN: Right.

JAN YAEGER: About how many kids did you have in a class? TRINKET GALLIEN: My class, there -- we -- about fifteen. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, there was more kids then -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Grad -- We graduated with twelve kids in our class in ’87, so -- But now it’s zigged back to -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: In to the old days, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: My girls did it like you. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. So it’s really interesting, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: See it come full circle. HELEN JOSEFSEN: But it was fun. Yeah, really. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: I’m curious to see how many families gra -- graduated three generations from the Seldovia schools. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. There’s been quite a few. Yup. Yeah, that’d be cool.

JAN YAEGER: Do you remember some of the other young people you used to spend time with? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Well, Rose Mae Carlough. I think, Raymond -- what the heck was her name -- first name? I can’t even remember. They were just -- well, like Mae -- Mae and I, we were in the same class and then -- what was her name? Oh, God. That one. Oh, I can’t even remember.

But there was three of us that went. That I went to -- through high school and stuff with, yeah. I can’t remember her name! That’s funny.

TRINKET GALLIEN: It’s okay. How about when do you -- when did you start taking up art? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Well -- TRINKET GALLIEN: When did you -- when did you -- artsy stuff? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I always did art. Yeah. Well, we -- in the la -- in like all the classes, we always had a art period, you know. To draw or to color something or whatever the teacher knew how to do is what we got taught.

That’s really -- that’s how it was is what the teacher knew -- knew to teach us. (Laughter.) Yeah, uh-huh.

So we always had an art class or, you know, a period of art stuff, yeah. Even just reading a book or -- or -- or doing drawing pictures, or if they had a cra -- craft material then we could do craft stuff, yeah. Uh-huh.

It depended upon what the teacher knew to teach us, you know. It is the way it went more or less, yeah. So --

JAN YAEGER: Over the years I know you’ve -- you’ve done art in a number of different forms. JAN YAEGER: I know you’ve done -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, yeah. JAN YAEGER: -- beading and you do bentwood hats, and you do painting. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And how did -- how did you learn to bead? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Beadwork, my mom taught me and my grandma. Uh-huh. Yeah. And then my aunt, auntie -- I lived how many years with auntie? I lived with my aunt for three, four, five years. And she did handiwork, too, so I learned to embroider and crochet and knit and -- and do all the handwork, you know. Yeah.

And beading, you know. Well, of course, beading I learned from mom, yeah. And my grandma, yeah, while she was alive, yeah. And then I just always have enjoyed arts and crafts, yes, uh-huh. Yeah, and the fancy work, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: So what made you decide to do the icing sculpture of the Russian Orthodox Church in Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, the church. What the heck was -- There was some festival coming up in the church and -- and I wanted to do it.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, you worked on the consecration of it, you know. You did -- you re-did all the -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, oh, that’s right I did. Worked on the restoration stuff on the reconstitu -- consecration of it.

Yeah, oh, yeah, once I got with that and then the one priest that would come to town regularly helped me and encouraged me and I really -- that’s how we got it. Re -- re -- consecrated it and re -- TRINKET GALLIEN: You remodeled it. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- remodeled it. Or -- or updated, yeah, the building fixed and stuff like that, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Did you grow up with Russian Orthodox traditions? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, in the church in Seldovia. When we -- we did -- we didn’t have a regular priest. Just when the traveling priests would come, yeah.

And I always went to church and participated in it, yes. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: What are some of the things you remember from the services? Like what was an average or a typical service like? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know. I can’t remember. TRINKET GALLIEN: Hours. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, hours. Yeah. (Laughter.) JAN YAEGER: Long? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Yeah. Oh boy, I don’t know. It just was regular church, you know. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Was it in English or in Russian or -- ? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh no, it was in English, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, for us kids ‘cause we wouldn’t -- they -- us kids never got to learn Russian or anything like that.

There would -- people would come and talk about it and stuff, but we never had any classes in it, you know. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And you had to stand the whole time, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah. You did, uh-huh. Yeah. Except for when you were kneeling. Then you got to rest. (Laughter.) Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Would you kneel for the prayers or what? What would be the parts where you would kneel? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, you'd kneel for cer -- certain services. And then they'd have different services on different subjects and -- and certain subjects you would do kneeling on. Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. It was -- it was -- it was really interesting, uh-huh.

And I really enjoyed workin' on the restoration of it. And met so many nice -- nice people, and interested people to help you who -- in the way that they could, you know. That’s what I really appreciated, 'cause met so many people.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Bishop Gregory came and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, Bishop Gregory. Oh yes. Had a really good friendship with him, yeah. Uh-huh. Really enjoyed his -- his -- interpretations that he gave us and stuff like that, so that you could understand what was happening and going on. And why. Yeah, uh-huh. Really.

Yeah, he was a good friend, really good friend. Became a really good friend of mine, uh-huh. Yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Well, that must have been just a huge project. Do you remember much about what condition the church was in before and what things were done? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, it was -- it was in critical condition when we started on it. Because it was really -- the -- the building was really getting shaky and -- and needed attention, you know.

Had to work underneath to get the -- get the pilings -- new pilings put in and stuff like that, you know, ‘cause it was --

Well, it finally got condemned to where we couldn’t have services anymore in it. So we were really lucky. At the time, there was money that we could apply for -- to -- to -- to get it back to -- and had lots of help from so many people that knew how to do what needed to be done.

And I were a -- where I would’ve never able to do it on my own. I wouldn’t even try to claim doing it on my own, ‘cause it was the other people that helped so much. Yeah. Uh-huh. And they were all so willing to help us, yeah. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Was -- so was it mostly people from Seldovia, or did people come from other places? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, the people from Seldovia helped and then -- then whatever they need done they brought people in. The group that was working with us, you know, and stuff, would bring what we needed to have done. They’d bring people to see that it was done, and done correctly. Yeah.

Oh, yeah. ‘Cause I didn’t have no knowledge to be able to -- lots of things surprise me. That -- that -- that we did that I didn’t know we could do, you know. It was great. JAN YAEGER: Yeah, ‘cause the church was --

HELEN JOSEFSEN: It was a nice project. It was -- it was really, really fulfilling for you to work on it, yeah. ‘Cause everybody that worked on it was anxious and wanted to help, and wanted to do it, you know, so you didn’t have to go and beg somebody, you know, ‘cause there was all -- seemed like no matter what we were gonna do, the right people showed up like magic, you know. It was really great. Uh-huh, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So do you remember besides the -- so new pilings for the foundation. Do you remember what other projects -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, we did inside. We were -- di -- did a lot of work inside.

They did -- the paint -- the paint had to be scraped and then the repainting and -- and then parts of it that were falling apart had to be rebuilt and stuff like that.

And we never did ever have any trouble finding somebody to come and help us do that, you know. Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: What did you actually do to the a -- to restore the icons that were hanging on the -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, yeah, the han -- the icons -- and we did restoration on them. Cleaning 'em and -- and -- and -- and then retouching them up.

We didn’t -- we didn’t repaint them or anything, but we touched them up where they needed to be touched up on.

And the framework and stuff needed work on it and stuff like that. It was -- it was a lot of work, really, when you think of it.

But it was fun because it was always a new project. You weren’t redoing something all the time. It was a new project whenever you started something.

TRINKET GALLIEN: I remember you and dad working on the chandelier. Because there was no power, so there was a chandelier that came out of the altar that hung down. That they had to light. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: But you guys gold-leafed the whole thing. Do you remember laying the gold leaf on the -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, we gold leafed it, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: That was really pretty. JAN YAEGER: Oh, wow.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, it ended up -- it’s still real beautiful. And I don’t know if anybody’s -- I’ve never talked to anybody, lately. I don’t know if they’ve re -- keeping -- keeping up on what they need to do.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Oh, not this year, but 2016, last year they had a group of volunteers that repainted the outside.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, uh-huh. So -- so we've been really lucky getting people wanting to help keep it up, you know. And everybody in town was proud of it ‘cause it’s part of town, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So you did the -- the icon restoration and cleaning and so on. You did that yourselves? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Well, I worked on it -- or -- or -- no, we had people come and offer to hel -- that came and helped us and showed us what we need to do. All --

All I had to do was to ask for somebody to -- that was interested in doing it and they would come from -- from -- surprising where they would come from, you know. It really was.

Was really interesting. And really great people. And really worked on it. They weren’t just there to stand aside to -- to be saying that they had been there when we'd done it, you know. They worked on it and it was so great, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Do you remember who any of the local people that were in -- involved? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, yeah, almost everybody in town helped on it. Donating money or -- or helped doing -- if they knew how to wor -- how to do like foundation work, or how to do whatever it was they came and worked on.

Some we had to pay for, though. But I don’t know who. I can't -- Been a while, I don’t remember.

JAN YAEGER: And you said there was some money available. Was that through the Ru -- the Russian church diocese? Or -- ? HELEN JOSEFSEN: The -- the -- What?

JAN YAEGER: I was wondering -- it sounds like you applied for a grant to do some of the funding and I was -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, from the State, yeah, and restoration grant. Yeah, uh-huh. And we got it from the State, yeah, uh-huh. And then -- then from churches, they would -- not offer but -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Send their offerings, yeah.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Participate in, pay it -- helped 'em to pay for it, yeah. Yeah, it was really surprising. It just came when you needed it. It just came from somewhere, you know.

And -- and there was so many generous, generous people that had helped us, you know. That were not -- well, they had their own churches, but they did help -- help restore it and work on the church, you know.

So it was great. It was a community -- it was not only a community, it was the country -- the -- the -- the -- the country did it, you know. ‘Cause -- ‘cause some people even came from Outside to help and stuff like that, you know.

So -- so we really had -- I -- I don’t know how they found out we were doing -- they knew we were doing it and they came and helped us. Participate in it, you know, so -- It was really great.

JAN YAEGER: And so the -- the consecration service was the big kind of culmination of all that, then? HELEN JOSEFSEN: The what? JAN YAEGER: When you had the service to reconsecrate the church. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, the -- oh yes. The bishop came and they had people from Outside that were in the church, you know, and stuff like -- I can’t -- there was so much going on I can’t really keep track of what all was going on, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: That must have been a pretty exciting day, though. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, oh, it was, it was an exciting time. Seemed like that whole month that the -- the -- the -- we did that and it -- there was always something going on, you know, and people coming. JAN YAEGER: In a month? You did this in a month? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Or the reconsecration happened in October, at the time, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, that was in October, yeah, uh-huh. But the preparation for that to happen was -- was before, yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: So I imagine the whole project must have taken several months or maybe a couple of years? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, it took us a whole year, or I think it was -- 'cause we’ve -- wo -- I worked on 'em for a year. I don’t know. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: It seemed like I was always working. I can’t remember. But this is --

TRINKET GALLIEN: It seemed longer than a year to me, too, but -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Oh yeah, to do it. But it seemed like when one project was completed, there always was -- that always created two, three more, you know. So -- so it worked out really nice.

It worked out really good and people were so willing to help us, so it was so great about it, you know. ‘Cause they really -- even the people in town that belong to the other churches, they helped on it so much, you know. And it just was a whole community thing.

It wasn’t just that -- just one church doing it, you know, it was the churches and the whole community came together on it, you know.

And then they would bring people in that they knew about that had craft or had knowledge in doing certain things. They -- they would bring people in, too, so it wasn’t just the Russian Church people doing everything. It was all the churches that helped.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Did they replace the bells at that time or the bells were placed during that time? HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, they never replaced the bells. They just had 'em tuned. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah,. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. And I can’t remember. I didn’t really work on the bells. The guys worked on the bells so I can’t remember what they had to --

TRINKET GALLIEN: I just remember 'em re-doing the bell house, you know. HELEN JOSEFSEN: The tower. TRINKET GALLIEN: You know, the tower, and the -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, and rebuilding it, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: And the ladder and that's -- yeah -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Uh-huh. Bracing it up and building it, yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: My understanding is that -- that church was kinda built at three different times. Is that right? They built a section and then they added on, and then I know the front was built in the early 1900s. HELEN JOSEFSEN: When they we -- when it was first, yeah, worked on, yeah.

I know, it just ended up got -- getting so big that I had hard time keeping track of who was doing what and all that stuff. I don’t know how to do that kind of stuff (laughter.)

JAN YAEGER: So you were maybe -- you were in charge of kinda -- or keeping it organized and making sure that everyone was -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, seeing that the new people come in and got -- were -- were taken care of when they came, you know. And so --

But everybody helped so much, it was just great. It was like -- it just went like it was supposed to, yeah.

‘Cause there was nothin' that we applied or concentrated on working on that we couldn’t get help on so -- So it all, when we needed certain things, some way or another the people heard about it and they would come and -- and take care of it, you know.

It was just great. It was like a -- like a story, honestly. Yeah, yeah. A good story, yeah, very good story. Yeah. ‘Cause I don’t remember having any problems getting anything done.

TRINKET GALLIEN: I only remember bits and pieces. I was like -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- six or -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I know. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- seven HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yes, you were just a little kid. (Laughter.)

She just remember when I make her come up and wait for me at the church.

JAN YAEGER: You probably always knew where to find her. TRINKET GALLIEN: Mm-hm. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: If she’s not home, she’s probably at the church. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Also during that time, I remember you making the icing cake the most. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, the big cake, yeah, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: And working on the chandelier and the icons and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, it’s just like -- yeah, yeah. But your dad did -- he -- he was an artist and he did -- he did a awful lot of work for free on it, I know.

And he was really good. Really did beautiful work, yeah. So I was really proud of it. They always say I di -- did it all, but he did a lot of the restoring on the icons and the -- and the things that needed to be -- the -- What do they call those? Mm. Can’t even remember what you call them.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, some -- it's some kind of a pillar, but I can’t -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- think of what they are.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I can’t remember. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: That was -- that was phew, I’m glad it’s done. And I'm not -- not doing any more.

JAN YAEGER: Was that kind of the first big restoration that had been done on the church since it was completed? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Boy, I don’t know. There was no history -- JAN YAEGER: Really? HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- at -- in -- in the records of -- of them doing restoration.

Well, I’m sure they took care of the building -- JAN YAEGER: Right. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- because the building was -- was good and s -- was stur -- sturdy and stuff like -- There was a -- they had -- well, we had to do some restoration on the bell tower and -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Foundation.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: I can’t remember, yeah. It was so many things going on at the wa -- at the same time, you know, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: But in terms of what the church looks like, it probably looks about the same as it did in the early 1900s. Is that right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, ‘cause -- ‘cause the restoration that we did do on it was just what needed to be fixed, yeah. We di -- we didn’t build anything new in it. I mean, we didn’t put anything in there that wasn’t there before, you know.

Just because a priest came and said, “Well, you need a such-and-such, and a so-and-so,” we didn’t do a such-and-such and so-and-so, ‘cause we never had one before. So we just tried to keep it as cool -- as original as it was. Yeah, uh-huh.

And then there probably is stuff we overlooked. I don’t -- I don’t know. But every priest that came was really happy with what was done, and really appreciated the people participating and stuff like that. So, we had real good feelings about it, yeah.

Didn’t have any -- I don’t remember any problems. You know, of -- somebody promising to do something and not doing it, you know. ‘Cause he might just -- all we had to do was ask for it and it just seemed to come from somewhere.

A lot of it I have no idea because -- ‘cause it was done amongst the priests and stuff like that, yeah.

So -- I don’t know. Father -- I can’t remember. Thought I’d never forget his name, the priest that helped me so much. Oh, that was a long time ago.

JAN YAEGER: You had services just when there were visiting priests? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Priests, yeah. We didn’t have a given priest, yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: So about how often would a priest come? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Well, we usually had to -- we were lucky enough to get one at Christmas time, and we always had one at Easter. But in -- and other times it was just --

TRINKET GALLIEN: Funerals, weddings. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, weddings, funerals. TRINKET GALLIEN: Funerals, weddings, Easter, Christmas. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, and -- and -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Sometimes. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- and then whenever.

Well, the bishop would appoint priests that would -- that were to come, but some -- they -- they could only come when they could come, you know. They -- we weren’t on a regular list and --

But we always seemed to have somebody. Had -- had real good relationship with the bishop. He was a great guy. Oh. I could’ve fallen in love with him. (Laughing.) He was cool.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Maybe you did, and you just didn’t know it? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, probably did. (Laughter.)

JAN YAEGER: That was Bishop Gregory? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Just was so much help and did so good it's -- so good. He was so good with what he -- what he performed, yeah. I was really proud of him. Yeah.

So we did have -- but I don’t know, it seemed like when we needed something done, someone would come out of -- that you never even knew before would come and take over and do s -- do what needed to be done, you know. Uh-huh.

It was really interesting. Sometimes it was so surprising to me. I said, “Boy, I really knew there was someone upstairs helping us.” ‘Cause it just fall -- fell into place so beautifully. Uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: And then in the years after that you did have a couple of priests that lived in Seldovia, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, that came. That did come and live in, yeah. Father? Oh gosh.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Father Paul. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, Father Paul. TRINKET GALLIEN: Lived there for a while. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, lived -- lived in Seldovia for -- but most of them -- we didn’t have a large enough -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Congregation. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Congregation, yeah, there to keep -- to be able to afford a priest, really, you know. ‘Cause we just -- if we ever had any money ahead, and we -- it all went to mostly to the priests, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: How long was Father Paul there? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know how -- long, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: I don’t remember. HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t either.

But he would come and go. He wasn’t there -- Did he live there for a while? Yeah, he lived there for a while. TRINKET GALLIEN: He lived there for a while. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

But then there was not enough congregation to really support a priest. He lived there 'til we ran out of money. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. I think mostly that’s what it was. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: There were a lot of us there but -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- the money wasn’t available.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: But then we just couldn't -- TRINKET GALLIEN: He went to Kodiak. HELEN JOSEFSEN: It was hard to keep a priest, yeah.

‘Cause the priests have families, too, you know, just like everybody else, so it’s harder when -- and then when the -- the priest that's there that had kids, well, that -- if their -- if that years school wasn’t taught, the year that -- that the kids were in school, the age of the kids in school, you know, so we just -- ‘cause we’d only have -- I think we only have -- I can’t remember. That was all so busy, I can’t rem -- yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Well, then you had, was it Father Active? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, and she wasn’t living in s -- Seldovia when Father Active was there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, I wasn’t living there in Seldovia, yeah. Yeah, that’s right.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, ‘cause your second husband, Simon, you guys traveled and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- she lived in Anchorage for a while and they -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Here and there. TRINKET GALLIEN: He was an electrician so they weren’t in Seldovia then. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Wa -- was he from Seldovia? TRINKET GALLIEN: Mm-mm. JAN YAEGER: Okay. TRINKET GALLIEN: I don’t know where he was from.

JAN YAEGER: But he lived there with her, right? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yes, yep, yeah. JAN YAEGER: I’ve seen pictures of him. That’s why I was -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, yeah. He did live there.

JAN YAEGER: And we -- or, no -- it wasn't pictures of him -- that we just had another community reunion and I know there were some pictures of him, and I know people identified the house, or one of the houses as being his house. That's why I was -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Oh, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Mm-hm. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: But I hadn’t heard the Josefsen name other than him, so that’s why I was kinda curious -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. JAN YAEGER: -- if he was from there or not. TRINKET GALLIEN: Oh. HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, he grew up -- no, his mom -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Yes.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: His mom lived in Seldovia, yeah, uh-huh. Sisters. I don’t re -- I can’t remember if he -- Did Simon have a brother? I don’t even remember that. TRINKET GALLIEN: I don’t think so. HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t think he -- I think he was -- TRINKET GALLIEN: I think he was the only -- yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- ‘cause he was spoiled rotten, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: He was rotten.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: (Laughter.) Had all sisters -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Sister, yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- to take care of him, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: I was thinking of houses in Seldovia, I know that you all lived in a Quonset hut on the slough. For a while. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, we lived in a Quonset. JAN YAEGER: What was that like? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Grew up in it, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Oh, you grew up in it? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, that was home. Yeah. My dad had a machine shop downstairs on the -- it was out on the dock. And then -- then we lived upstairs from the shop on downstairs. Yeah, and it was all out on the dock. We didn’t have any yard.

Had to go to the -- kids had to go down, down on the boardwalk to play. Or up at the school. If they were having any kind of games or anything, you had to go to the school to play, yeah. Most everything, though, was done on the beach, though, really. Yeah, uh-huh. When the tide was out. (Laughter.)

JAN YAEGER: So you grew up in that home as a child and then you lived there as an adult as well? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I li -- my brother and I and then I had a little sister, Diane, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: You lived in MacDonald's Spit when my siblings were kids, though. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, when her -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- lived out at the spit, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Down -- down on the spit itself? HELEN JOSEFSEN: No -- JAN YAEGER: Or – or up above it? HELEN JOSEFSEN: We had five acres up -- just above -- I had five acres with a natural spring. And I had the really best piece that there -- five acres in the whole on MacDonald Spit. In -- in MacDonald Spit area, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: It's just the base now, so it's sub -- they’ve subdivided it now so it’s five separate lots, but it’s right at the base of MacDonald Spit. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, uh-huh.

TRINKET GALLIEN: It still -- It doesn’t have a beach access. It's not right on the beach, but it’s prior to that.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm-hm. Yeah, and there was no road there. When -- when we lived out there we had to go into town on skiff or -- or walk.

JAN YAEGER: I was just gonna say, I don’t think that road went in until what the '70s or something, sometime, right?. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So how long would it take you to skiff to town? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know. 'Til we got there. I don’t know. TRINKET GALLIEN: Don't look at me. I wasn’t around.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: I -- I never -- never even thought of time. But we always start out in the morning and -- well, we start out on the tides -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Tides, yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- is the way we worked it, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: ‘Cause you wanted it to be high tide so you didn’t have to haul everything up the beach. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah.

And then -- there was the -- the mine was active, too, so lot -- if there -- if you had heavy equipment or something you wanted to bring up, the mine would have that barge come -- come, you know, and they’d take it to their dock and then you’d go and pick up whatever you had coming and take it in a skiff to -- to your location, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Were there many other people living out there or was it pretty quiet? HELEN JOSEFSEN: There were t -- not really a bunch of -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Ekrens? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah, there’s Ekrens, and then --

Then a lot of people that would come in the summer. They had summer cabins and stuff. And I didn’t know all of them. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: And Ekren, he had a cannery down there, didn’t he? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Who? TRINKET GALLIEN: Ekren’s cannery.

JAN YAEGER: Didn't they have a cannery down there? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh man, yeah. He had that, but that was -- TRINKET GALLIEN: It wasn’t operating? HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, uh-uh. No, it never operated.

And long as I was there, it never ever operated. So I think he just had it as business thing to get -- I don’t know -- to get money or something. I don’t know what he did.

The old man, I don’t know. And Ekren -- he didn’t do anything. Hard to say. He was drunk all the time. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: I imagine you probably got stuck in town once in a while. If you take the skiff in and the weather would come up or did you ever -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, well mom and the family. Where my mom lived -- my mom and dad and them lived in town, yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay. HELEN JOSEFSEN: So we'd go and stay with them, yeah.

Then like -- well, when it came school time, then -- then we had to move to town. Wasn’t it? I can’t even -- TRINKET GALLIEN: You moved to Anchorage. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh yeah, then we moved to Anchorage, yeah. Kids went to school up in Anchorage for a while. But did we ever move back down? Yeah -- I -- boy, that. Seem like we were always moving.

TRINKET GALLIEN: You were in Anchorage for the earthquake. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: You weren’t in Seldovia for the earthquake. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, we -- we weren't in -- TRINKET GALLIEN: 'Cause you were working in the beauty shop.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I was in Anchorage then, yeah. Yeah, we were in Anchorage then, yeah. ‘Cause I went to beauty school and then worked at a shop in Anchorage, yeah. Uh-huh. Out on Spenard -- Spenard Road). Out the road, yeah.

Some way or another I always was in the woods. I can’t figure that out. TRINKET GALLIEN: Me neither. And that’s why you’re here. You like the woods here. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I know, I’m in the woods again. I love it, I love it, I love it. Yeah, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: What was it like during the earthquake? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I was so scared and so busy I don’t really -- there’s parts of it I don’t even remember, or I don’t want to.

JAN YAEGER: Were you at work? It was -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I was at work, yeah. The kids -- the kids were like -- you guys were over at -- TRINKET GALLIEN: I wasn’t born yet. But -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Yeah, the kids -- there were some of them were over at -- they stayed next door with -- what the heck is their names? TRINKET GALLIEN: But during the earthquake they were in the grocery store with dad. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh that’s -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Remember?

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, luckily they were with their dad that day, yeah. Yeah, that’s right. They were in the grocery store. Boy, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: During Easter. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: And one of them had stuffed animals falling on 'em and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Falling all over them, yeah. Phew!

Yeah, I -- yeah, ‘cause I was -- I was in the beauty shop then. Luckily, I di -- I don’t -- I don’t think I had a lady -- I would had -- I was waitin' for people to come in. I didn’t have anybody I was workin' on when the earthquake came, I don’t think. I don’t even remember that.

JAN YAEGER: Well, it was Good Friday, so I suppose you were probably pretty busy ‘cause everyone was wanting their hair done for Easter, right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. That’s what we were doing. Fancy hairdos, yeah. I don’t even re -- I don’t even remember that and I really don’t even wanna remember. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Well, what brought you back to Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, I always wanted to come home, yeah. Yeah. Just got -- 'cause it's -- So, well, I had the shop in Anchorage and then out on Sand Lake (Boulevard), so -- but then I sold the shop and sold that and went back to Seldovia. Went back home, yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: And started your own down there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm-hm. Yeah. Started one down in Seldovia, which worked out fine ‘cause you didn’t have to do very much very often. It’s just like I did before I was a hairdresser, yeah. And I think even the same patrons.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Hm-mm. Then when you closed the shop, they just came to the house. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah. Hm-mm.

JAN YAEGER: How 'bout your husband? I know he was a painter. How did he come to Seldovia? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know. He came one year, and worked in the cannery and worked -- worked around town when he first came there.

JAN YAEGER: Where was he from? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Ohio, yeah. I don’t know where he -- when he got to Seldovia. I don’t even know whatever brought him to Seldovia. He never talked about it very much at all. TRINKET GALLIEN: Nope. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Only portions I know about it is from Auntie Mae. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm-hm. Yeah, 'cause -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Mae Annette Sharp, she had wrote a book and said that he had stayed with them. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, Sharps? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, for a while. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. TRINKET GALLIEN: And then would skiff all you -- all the ladies over to Homer to go to the dance hall. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, probably. TRINKET GALLIEN: Right? And that’s -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Because really he didn’t talk about it much.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: But he was an artist. He was the -- he di -- well, have you ever been to the Hofbrau in Anchorage? JAN YAEGER: I haven’t, no.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. He -- he painted that. All the murals that're in there, he painted those. And then what other -- I know in Anchorage he did some other big thing.

But he did backdrops and stuff for pl -- plays and st -- things that they put on in Anchorage. Yeah, uh-huh. He was a good artist, I think. I liked his work, yeah.

And I don’t even know if I ha -- I don’t think I have one of his pictures. TRINKET GALLIEN: Oh, we do. We do. You just don’t have one here. We just -- we all have 'em.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah, the kids have my pictures, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, we actually have some of his -- his paintings hanging in the museum right now. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Is there? JAN YAEGER: Mm-hm. HELEN JOSEFSEN: In which museum? JAN YAEGER: In the Seldovia Museum. TRINKET GALLIEN: In the museum that you started in Seldovia. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, oh, okay. Oh yeah, ‘cause pictures in there.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, we have -- right now we’re featuring you and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Me? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. You -- I have your headdresses there that you made for the girls. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, you do? Oh good. Oh, cool.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, we have those all on display. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. Oh. JAN YAEGER: And then we have your husband -- three of your husband’s paintings, as well. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm-hm, yeah. Huh.

JAN YAEGER: Can you talk a little bit about how -- how the museum got started? HELEN JOSEFSEN: How -- the museum in Seldovia? TRINKET GALLIEN: We pulled up some --

Darlene found some pictures of you and Clara on -- at a typewriter, typing the cards that -- for the stuff that you folks collected to display. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, really? Oh. Oh, Darlene -- Darlene had them? TRINKET GALLIEN: Hm-mm. ‘Cause remember it was in SNA’s old building, so it was -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- she had them from the office. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, far away.

TRINKET GALLIEN: But, what made you guys decide to -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: To open a museum? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, to create a museum. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, because we -- well, there was quite a few artists living there and I -- and then -- and they wanted to hang their stuff, you know, and stuff like that. Oh, at first it was like that. Oh man, I don’t e -- remember that. My memory is shot. It’s gone to the museum. TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s okay. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, wow, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So originally it was gonna be more of an art museum? Or a gallery maybe? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Yeah, well, just museum of the town. Well, ‘cause we had -- not only the paintings and stuff like that. We had -- different old-timers brought in their old fishing gear and -- and o -- o -- old pictures and stuff and we just hung all of that and the people of -- from town, yeah, and --

JAN YAEGER: Okay. So a lot of the objects that are in the museum were things that you said, “Hey we’re starting a museum.” HELEN JOSEFSEN: Hm-mm. Yeah, yeah. JAN YAEGER: And people donated them because of that? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, uh-huh, yeah. For the museum, yeah, uh-huh.

JAN YAEGER: Okay. I've always wondered how that first collection kinda came to be. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: All those boots. The -- narrow toed boots and there’s an old phone and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, all the old things, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, I think that you guys collected that -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- iron.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. I can’t -- yeah, I can’t even -- TRINKET GALLIEN: The stovetop iron that was -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, but a lot of people just donate -- not donated it, but just brought stuff in and we showed it for 'em. You know, they put it on display and stuff like that, yeah.

'Cause I didn’t know how to run a museum. I just took it in and wrote down that it was from them and stuff like that and gave them a receipt that their stuff was there, you know. And so they -- and they could pick it up any -- any time they wanted it, you know. Yeah.

Oh, yeah, ‘cause we kept track of whose stuff was there and stuff. I don’t know where all that -- it’s somewhere in a box. In a box somewhere, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Hm-mm. Yeah.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, yeah. Or maybe it’s dow -- well, they have a museum down there now, huh? TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s what Jan -- Jan’s in charge of that now. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, oh. In charge of it? Oh, cool.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, actually this -- this project -- this interview that we’re doing today is -- is a museum project, so -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. Oh no, that’s what -- You've got me telling stories of myself. TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, that's okay. HELEN JOSEFSEN: It’s no fair! TRINKET GALLIEN: Why? That’s fun.

JAN YAEGER: That's what we want to collect is some of the memories of -- of, you know, Seldovia, and of the church, and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Of working on it. Uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: And just how things came to be, and who was there and what it was like.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: It really wasn’t that hard because everybody helped. So everybody had such great help. And people came and learn -- to learn, too, how to do and what to do and we didn’t know what to teach them. They just learned with us, you know, so it worked out really --

And we’ve always had great -- anytime we've ever asked for help we’ve always gotten the help, so that was what was so great. You met so many great people.

JAN YAEGER: So you mentioned you took a class on how to keep track -- do some of the records and so on? Is that right? HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know. Did I? JAN YAEGER: Someone was telling me that -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Maybe. JAN YAEGER: -- maybe -- I thought it was you and maybe Darlene. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, probably, yeah. JAN YAEGER:Who got -- who got kinda trained. HELEN JOSEFSEN: ‘Cause Darlene was a lot of help, yeah. For -- for helping to set up books and stuff like that, you know. Yeah, she’d -- she was a lot of help.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, I guess a bookkeeper would be a pretty good person to have there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Anytime I didn’t know what to do I always went to Darlene, yeah. So she’s -- and she -- well, she worked in the -- in the office and could do research for that, you know, real easy. And she knew how to do it. I didn't know how do it.

Just somebody brought it in, I gave 'em a receipt, and the ti -- the date they brought it, and then it was always there. We always left it open because if they wanted to take it back, you know, or needed it for something else, it was theirs. It was always their property, you know, not -- We were just keeping it for 'em, I guess, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So where was the museum at that time? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Huh? JAN YAEGER: Where was the museum at that time? HELEN JOSEFSEN: It was in the Native Association building. They had part -- one section of the building there where the museum -- when it first -- when we first started collecting things, yeah. So it was under the Na -- SNA (Seldovia Native Association), yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Was -- And you’re gonna -- because I’m still so new to Seldovia, I’m not exactly sure what building that is. TRINKET GALLIEN: So it’s where our big building is now. JAN YAEGER: Okay. TRINKET GALLIEN: So it was the blue -- they called it the blue building back in the --

JAN YAEGER: Okay. Okay. Hm-mm. So it was a cannery and then it became the SNA office? TRINKET GALLIEN: No. Where we are -- where the tribe’s administrative -- JAN YAEGER: Oh, the main building? TRINKET GALLIEN: -- building is. JAN YAEGER: Okay. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So there was a -- so you’re talking about a previous building that was on that site? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yup, there was a -- there was a blue trailer there. JAN YAEGER: Okay. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Okay. TRINKET GALLIEN: It was a double wide. That was SNA’s offices for -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, uh-huh. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- quite some time.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: For quite a while, really. Yeah. Yeah, ‘cause we just -- people’s -- old people would die and they’d just -- the family would give us stuff, you know, and so we just started collecting.

Not a -- and then pretty soon we got serious and said, “Well, we better start listing it and setting up some kinda -- and then displaying it, you know.” ‘Cause most of the time we just dis -- displayed it in the Native building. Yeah. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: So did you get some cases then or -- ? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Some what? TRINKET GALLIEN: Display case. JAN YAEGER: What -- how did you display the objects? Were they in a case or just on a table or -- ? HELEN JOSEFSEN: On the shelf -- on the shelf over there and in the other room there, and just where we had room to put it. ‘Cause, well --

TRINKET GALLIEN: Eventually you got cases. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, eventually, we got -- TRINKET GALLIEN: From the news stand. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, eventually we started doing it like you’re supposed to really do it. We just -- but first we just had pe -- this stuff sitting around, yeah, hm-mm.

Yeah, it’s really something how it fell into place and became what it is now, you know. I never -- I never dreamed of that when we started. ‘Cause I thought, oh well, we’ll just show a few things. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Well, we still have a lot of those same things, and people are still coming in and -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Well, at first a lot of it was Fredrick’s. I think he had no place to put it so he brought it down to the building's and put it -- keep it there. JAN YAEGER: Fred Elvsaas? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah.

‘Cause he did -- he did a lot of work on that for us, yeah. He worked real good for us on that. And gettin' money and -- and -- and -- but everybody did, though. I can’t say one person did it ‘cause it was the community. It was a community thing ‘cause they were pe -- people that weren’t even Native would bring in stuff for us. Yeah, uh-huh. So -- so it’s really nice, yeah.

It was a community thing, definitely. Far as I know. Mm-hm, yeah.

So I don’t know. I haven’t even been down there since I got old and retired. TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, you haven’t been there for quite some time. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I know. TRINKET GALLIEN: 'Bout five years, I think. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I guess so, yeah. Phew.

Yeah, doesn't seem like it’s been that long, though, but it has been five years, hasn't it. Huftie!

Yeah. So -- but it was interesting. It was really lot of fun and lot of people had brought stuff in temporarily, and there was some really interesting stuff there that we -- we would get some really old stuff and -- and stuff that you didn’t even realize that the people had, that -- that was part of the community, you know, so it was really interesting working with it. Then not knowing what you’re doin'. It was exciting ‘cause everything you did was something new. JAN YAEGER: Right. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Well, I know I’ve learned an awful lot since I started working there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. It’s really surprising. And the least thing you expect comes in and ends up being a really interesting, important piece, you know. Cripe, yeah!

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, one of my favorite things that we got just a couple of years ago was just a -- it’s a little tape measure. It’s about that big (showing with hands). HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: But it’s from the H. S. Young store. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. JAN YAEGER: Which -- it hasn’t been a H. S. Young store in a very, very long time. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Long time, yeah. For crying out loud.

JAN YAEGER: Laura Ursin Resoff sent that to us. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, oh, oh. Great. Oh, yeah. ‘Cause she had -- JAN YAEGER: From Kodiak, so she's hung onto it. HELEN JOSEFSEN: She had really neat things. I bet Eleanor and them got neat things ‘cause Laura had --She liked to collect those kinds of things, yeah.

And I don’t know -- what the heck was her brother’s name? R -- R--- R-- O -- U? He probably -- ‘cause he was like a collector, too. JAN YAEGER: Was that Rayder? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Huh? JAN YAEGER: Rayder? HELEN JOSEFSEN: No, the younger brother. JAN YAEGER: I can’t think of the younger brother's name.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, I can’t think of his name. Geez, and I even went out with him quite a few times. I can’t remember.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, that was good. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s why it didn’t last. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, it didn’t last. TRINKET GALLIEN: Erase that name right out of there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, really. You don’t want that on our list.

JAN YAEGER: We still get people that bring things in or sometimes we just get a package in the mail, and here's for the museum. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, that’s the way it used to be, yeah, uh-huh. JAN YAEGER: So, yeah, it's still -- still happening. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Or someone would come in and say, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah.” And they'd go home and they'd talk to their mom or somebody and then they'd write me a letter and say that mom had this or that and -- and wanted to -- and then they'd mail it to me. It was just really -- it was really something how it came together because I didn’t have to go out and bug -- you know, and plead for -- for stuff that just came in the mail. Yeah, that was really neat.

Or it was some family thing that they wanted to -- to make sure that it had a place for it -- for -- for -- for it to stay in case something happened to them. The older people, you know.

And it was really, like -- like putting it in -- in. They wouldn’t send it right away but when something -- when something did happen to them, or when they wanted to, then they would send it.

But I always had a list of things that people were gonna -- I don’t know whatever happened to it. Or if they do -- even do that anymore like they used to do it. JAN YAEGER: Sometimes. HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don’t know at all.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, we actually just got a pair of mukluks in -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh. JAN YAEGER: -- that -- I think, didn't -- she sewed, right? TRINKET GALLIEN: Not you, but they were from Jan’s -- they were Esther’s that grandma made. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, oh, Esther’s. Oh, that grandma made. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, that my mom -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: My made. TRINKET GALLIEN: -- that my grandma -- Yeah, her mom made. HELEN JOSEFSEN: My mom made. Oh, cool. Oh --

JAN YAEGER: Oh, and I was so excited to learn that, too, because I -- I first looked at 'em and I thought, well, you know, are these connected to Seldovia or not because the style is, you know -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Different, yeah. JAN YAEGER: -- it's a little different. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: And then to find out that your mother was the one who had made them. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Had made them, yeah. JAN YAEGER: You know, and Tuggle had asked her to make them specifically for Esther. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Boy, they've become a pretty important item then. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Ooh. Yeah. JAN YAEGER: So -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, cool.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, I think that actually might be the most recent thing we have. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, is it really? Oh. Neat. JAN YAEGER: Yeah, so -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, I haven’t been down -- I haven’t been in there for quite a while.

TRINKET GALLIEN: Jan and her daughter came to Seldovia this summer and were cleaning the house out. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, did Jan come? TRINKET GALLIEN: So they -- You know, they were looking for the -- someplace to keep -- just like you’re saying. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, cool. TRINKET GALLIEN: To keep some of those things.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, oh, that was nice. So Esther and -- was nice to remember us. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. That’s great.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, so right now they’re just -- they’re being kinda protected for now and then we’ll try and -- this winter I’m hoping I can do some cleaning on them. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Jan, too, she was always interested in it anyway, yeah, uh-huh. I just keep thinking of her as a little kid. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yep. HELEN JOSEFSEN: But bigger than you, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, I’m the little kid. HELEN JOSEFSEN: You’re the little kid, yeah. Oh, man.

Yeah, I know when -- I wish we had had something going after the earthquake because there was a lot of stuff that went to other towns and stuff that should've stayed here, that should've stayed in Seldovia.

That they didn’t know what to do with it so they just send it to -- JAN YAEGER: You mean because of the -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: It’s just -- the -- JAN YAEGER: -- the rebuilding, they had no place to put things, and so that’s why things went away, or -- ? HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, well, we didn’t have a museum or anything then. Hm.

Yeah, all we had was people that belonged to the Native Association, the old people, would bring stuff in, you know, and leave in the s -- in the office, you know, but then we never were honestly collecting things from old Seldovia, you know. Yeah.

Probably was quite a few nice things we could’ve had in there if we’d had a -- had some place to put them. And some place to put 'em and we never -- ‘cause I always just put 'em in a box and stored 'em in the Native building. That’s what they did. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. That’s the -- that's the problem. HELEN JOSEFSEN: That's the -- Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: The storage. Display space. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Storage space for -- yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: We already deal with that already. JAN YAEGER: Mm-hm. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, that hasn’t changed. HELEN JOSEFSEN: It hasn’t changed, no, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: No, no. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. Oh boy.

JAN YAEGER: We're still -- still working on that one. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Like I think almost every museum out there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: I think so, yeah.

I know because one generation is really interested in one section and then the next generation wants to store that and put out what’s on their -- on their list. Yeah.

I'd still like to -- I don’t know. I can’t remember the last time I was in there. Should -- next time I go home I guess I should go down there and check it out, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, I’d take ya.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: ‘Cause that one time -- I think the last time I was there, I wasn’t there long enough to do anything like that, was I? I don’t remember. If I went, I don’t remember even that.

But that’s a good idea to -- something to put on my list. Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Okay. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: We can do that. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm-hm, yeah. Take a trip down there, I'd appreciate that. TRINKET GALLIEN: Next spring when the fast ferry is running, we’ll go. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. That’s a good idea, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Well, I’ve kept you talking for about an hour now and I don't want to wear you out. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, my goodness. Oh, yes. JAN YAEGER: Are there any other -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: -- topics that you can think of that we should bring up, or -- TRINKET GALLIEN: Well, she could go on for hours, so. HELEN JOSEFSEN: I don't know. Yeah. Holy moly, yeah.

You mean -- it’s surprising, as a community, we really did do a lot of -- a lot of things. And the one thing that I really enjoyed was when you started a community project, the whole community participated, you know, and that was so great.

I was so grateful to all those pe -- people that I never thought even had anything of interest would bring stuff in, you know, and it was really neat to -- to get a history of it and then -- and then to have it, you know.

First, didn’t know what the heck to do with it. Start piling up in the corner. Didn’t know what to do with the stuff. ‘Til we decided we better put it on display and stuff like that. And then we did it just in the Native building there. We didn’t -- finally got a location for it, yeah.

But it was nice and a lot of people were happy to -- the old people that were getting old and stuff like that, “Oh," 'cause they'd say, "I don’t know what I would do with this,” you know. Some -- ‘cause a lot of 'em were just -- didn’t have children and stuff like that, but they had -- were collectors, you know, so.

Those were the ones that had the interesting things, you know, ‘cause usually the kids would claim 'em. Well, that’s the natural way in the family, you know. Kept it in the family.

But then we did have a display where -- where they could -- it was still theirs but they could display in there, too. They would display in there, too, so that -- I’m glad we did that because --

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, and we still have some of those things. HELEN JOSEFSEN: There're still those, yeah? JAN YAEGER: They belong to someone else but they've allowed us to keep them on display. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Which is nice, too.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: It was interesting how -- I never expected it to grow when I first stuck that few stuff out and then we had a -- a display -- glass display front thing, you know. Old, big -- big old -- TRINKET GALLIEN: We just got rid of ‘em. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Did you just get rid of them? TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Yeah.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: There's a history. TRINKET GALLIEN: I know. But they're heavy. JAN YAEGER: But the items are still there. HELEN JOSEFSEN: No place to put them. TRINKET GALLIEN: The items are still there, but the case was -- yeah. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah, the cases, yeah.

JAN YAEGER: They have -- they have -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: No place to put 'em. JAN YAEGER: We got some new cases that can seal so that the insects and the dust can’t get in. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, cool. Yeah. JAN YAEGER: They're a little bit safer.

TRINKET GALLIEN: It looks like a real museum. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Mm. I have to come home and -- TRINKET GALLIEN: I know. HELEN JOSEFSEN: -- see it, yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah, I’ll bring you to see -- check it out. HELEN JOSEFSEN. Yeah.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, we’re just getting started on creating some new storage space. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Oh, are you? Oh, good. JAN YAEGER: So then we can -- HELEN JOSEFSEN: Store some more, huh? JAN YAEGER: -- maybe we can actually start collecting a little bit more. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. JAN YAEGER: Once we have a better place to keep things. HELEN JOSEFSEN: Yeah. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah.

HELEN JOSEFSEN: Did Fredrick put a lot of stuff in there? Or did he? ‘Cause he had a lot of stuff. Oof!

I always wanted to go -- well, he'd take me down -- I’m gonna get -- give something to us, and he'd take me down to his shop and, man, that thing was full of good stuff that you could -- we could’ve had in there.

But he was saving it, I guess, for his kids or something. I don’t know. Never did really say. Well, some of it, he said, you know.

But -- but he had gotten stuff, like, from up in Kenai and up where -- his location was and stuff. You know, around the Inlet (Cook Inlet), so he had a really neat collection. So. Well, that was good. TRINKET GALLIEN: Hm-mm.

JAN YAEGER: Yeah, thank you so much. TRINKET GALLIEN: Yeah. Thanks. HELEN JOSEFSEN: That’s all I can think of. TRINKET GALLIEN: That’s -- you thought a lot. That’s good. HELEN JOSEFSEN: There the -- I don’t know. I can’t tell you for sure if it was all true or not. JAN YAEGER: Alright. Well, thank you so much.