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Anne Fuller
Anne Fuller
Anne Fuller talks about growing up in Oregon and some of the memories she had there. She talks about how Juneau reminds her of the coast of Oregon and how it has become her home.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2010-06

Project: Juneau Communities of Memory
Date of Interview: Nov 17, 1995
Narrator(s): Anne Fuller
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Humanities Forum
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Growing up in Gold Beach, Oregon

The community pulling together when stranded by mudslides

What she enjoys about Juneau

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ANNIE FULLER: I took that title of why I am here and found myself reminiscing quite a bit because... I grew up in Curry County, which is coastal Oregon, in the 50s.

And I find that Juneau is -- like going home. The geography and the community, and the wonderful things you can do outdoors -- to start with the geography.

Gold Beach is at the mouth of the Rogue River. So it's got steep hills, acres and acres of forest behind it, it's Douglas Fir and an ocean crashing in front of it. There's one main street in town, it's called North Ellensburg Highway.

Most of you know it as US 101. When they started making highways, the federal highways, they numbered them alternately North-South highways are odd numbers and US1 is over on the east coast and then they come across.

The 99 goes through the agriculture country in California, right up the Central Valley, and it's flat. 101 was a real challenge because they build it out on the coast.

They didn't complete it until after the 30s when the WPA came in and built those gorgeous concrete bridges over the rivers. So you know -- it's got hills and trees and water.

One of the places that I remember best was getting to school. When I was in elementary school I could leave home, walk across -- walk yeah -- across the hill down the lane to Eighth Street, walk down Eighth Street.

It was just a gravel street, down to the highway and catch the bus. But if I had time and if it hadn't rained too much, I could keep going across Eight Street, through the backyard and over the hill and drop down into the next creek, which is where the elementary school was. Now it was always one of my favorite things to do.

And Gold Beach was a small town. And it had some of that friendly nature that we were talking about here in Juneau, too. When I was little, I must admit, this is not a story that I tell because I saw it happen, my mother told me this one.

'55, the rains came heavy and the mud slid. It slid south of town, cut off Highway 101, and then it slid north of town over the bridge but just past Wedderburn. So there the town was, stranded.

Took the Highway Department nearly a week to get it cleared. So folks slowed down a little bit. I don't know how much slower you can get in a small coastal town fishing in the rain but they did slow down a little more.

There was a Trailways bus that had been in town when the rains hit. It didn't go on. One of it's passengers was a young sailor. A man who was supposed to have reported for duty and met his ship in Alameda.

But no he didn't make it there on time. And a telegram came in, asking if the sheriff had seen whereabouts of the AWOL sailor --

So they drew up a proclamation to explain that due to the act of nature he was stuck in town and they'd send him on his way just as soon as they could.

They figured that if they made it fancy enough he could give it to the commanding officer and get off scott free. So they drew it up with fine lettering, a few flourishes and cartoons on it -- to explain exactly where they were, drew the sea stacks in, river and things.

And then it got signed by the justice of the peace, and the sheriff and the police chief and the mayor and the county clerk of the court. In order to sign that all they had to do was pass it around the poker table in the front room.

I have some of that same feeling about Juneau. I know -- know the names of people. If I want to talk to somebody in the school district, we've talked before.

I'm really enjoying having my daughter at the high school now, because all of us parents are in it together instead of being separated out at the different schools.

In fact this morning, I spent at one of my community institutions here, which is K2 FM. And ah -- I answered the phone, my husband was running the background music for the sound system and my daughter was writing down the bids on the board. And we looked around and there were good friends there, all working together.

And I suppose you find that sort of thing, if that's what you want whenever you're with people. But you do have to build it and keep it going. And for having things to do, you have to be in a place where you can still reach it.

I say I did my time in Southern California. I spent four years, couldn't believe how long it took to drive across blocks and miles, all the same stuff -- here in Juneau I don't know a neighborhood where you can't walk out, cross a few streets and go up a hill.

Get a pretty good view. I treasure that. I think it's real important. When I was growing up in Gold Beach we had salmon fishing at the mouth of the Rogue. My dad had a little boat.

He named it for his daughters, it was called the Abbey Anne. And I can remember learning to negotiate the riffels. It only had a 2 1/2 horse motor on it, so it was pretty safe even for a kid to steer.

These days I don't use a power boat, but I've got a kayak and I know my way along the shoreline and along lots of the beaches here. I think Juneau's a pretty special place still. To be able to have those recreational opportunities for all of us and all our different ways.

I'm here because I want to be, because of what I've found here. It's nice that it reminds me of home, but it's even better.