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Laura Sanford
Laura Sanford

Laura Sanford was interviewed on October 25, 2008 by Stacey Carkhuff Baldridge and Polly Hyslop at Laura's home in Tok, Alaska. In this interview, Laura talks about growing up living a seasonally based subsistence lifestyle and how things changed with the construction of the Alaska Highway. She discusses interacting with the African-American soldiers, the effect the highway had on village life and transportation, and the presence of non-Natives in the region.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2009-07-13

Project: Alaska Highway
Date of Interview: Oct 25, 2008
Narrator(s): Laura Sanford
Interviewer(s): Stacey Carkhuff Baldridge, Polly Hyslop
Transcriber: Stacey Carkhuff Baldridge
Location of Interview:
Alternate Transcripts
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Laura is from Mansfield

Living a nomadic life

Living off the land

Hard times in the family

Uncle Ed helps Laura's family through the winter

Laura's daughter attends Victory High School

People trap and fish in Mansfield

Chief Walter Isaac was Laura's brother

The landing strip in Tok

Laura wasn't surprised by vehicles

Laura's first experience with African American men

Laura's friends decide to talk to the soldiers

Before the highway, people did not drink alcohol

Having to learn new rule

White store keepers in the Interior

Nurses and radio stations come to the Native communities

The road was very dusty

Strict Indian law

Hitch hiking used to be safe

Laura's first experience with a hotel lobby

Not knowing where to go

An accident on the river

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This is not a word-for-word transcript, so some pieces of the spoken conversation do not appear in the following transcript.

STACEY CARKHUFF: This is Stacey Carkhuff and Polly Hyslop interviewing Laura Sanford at her home in Tok Alaska on October 25, 2008. Alright, well to get started, I just wanted to ask you a little bit about where you were born, where you're from. LAURA SANFORD: Well, I was born in Mansfield, Mansfield is located by Tanacross, from Tanacross seven miles up we have a little village. And 1928. I'm originally from Tanacross, Mansfield and Tanacross. And in 19, oh, 1950, in '50s we moved to Tok here. And in 1960 we build this house here and my kids grew up here in Tok, and graduated from high school here in Tok. STACEY CARKHUFF: So you say in the 1950s you moved to Tok? You and who else? LAURA SANFORD: In 1950s yeah. STACEY CARKHUFF: You and who else moved here? LAURA SANFORD: Oh, me and Ellen used to work in 40 Mile here. And now can't hardly remember who moved in. There's hardly anybody move into Tok then. Later on then they move into Tok from different places like Tetlin and Tanacross, (Proberson), Nellie (Proberson) her family and her sister and her family. So were the first ones to move into Tok, and from there it...and now everybody is moving to Tok.

STACEY CARKHUFF: When you moved here, how did you move? How did you get here? LAURA SANFORD: We, my husband, late husband work on the Taylor Highway. He was the equipment operator and he work up there like every summer. So during the spring time, then we move up Taylor Highway, and we live in tent and we have lots of little kids that were just like little (skips). Lots of little kids. And then we have two tent, we have one for like bedroom and one for kitchen like for our little kids. And we have our own van-like, and we used to take little kids around in that, we'd go berry picking and those kinds of things. And then every fall we come back to Tanacross because of schooling. They have a school there. And then, like every spring we move out again. I don't know how many, 6 or 7 times going up to that Taylor Highway. Here in and there, we have camp. And in the fall my sister Isabel, Isabel John, she move up there with us so we can have her for babysitter, and we, she'd have three kids, and we she's babysitting for us while we got out hunting and those kid of things.

LAURA SANFORD: So, and then we, ever like when the berries are ripe, then we pick blueberries and then in the fall we have cranberry right- we pick those, those are keeps, you know. I still have that old kind of like wooden barrel, I still have one with cranberries, I carry it today. Ever since my kids were little kids. STACEY CARKHUFF: Well, it must work pretty well then. LAURA SANFORD: Yeah, yeah. So, and then we, at that time we don't have no freezer or anything so, up there. So all I do is just dry our meat, you know, and then have all these blueberries. What I do is I make jam in the jar and that kind of thing. The only way you can keep them. It's kind of a little warm, so we used to sleep in (Y, two or less) two times I think, or more we we were there. And then we take this little pump like, and then we'd have to dig dirt out of there and put cardboard in there. And then dry meat that, we'd just have a meat rack and just put it on there, and then later my boys have to go back to school, so the little ones, we'd bring my sister and the little ones we'd bring them back to Tanacross first, and then after that we'd take our stuff down back, down to Tanacross and then we have the last one, just little things that we can just load up fast. And I took my boys back up there for hunting and blueberry-cranberry picking and that kind of thing, so.

LAURA SANFORD: And then we move back and then in, in '60s we live in apartment here, right across from state camp down here, and then from there we live in the apartment for I forgot how many...Oh, and then too I have, before we move up here, to stay, then I have to, I mean I happened to get sick and then I have to go to the hospital and leave my little 8 children with their father. And then, after that I was in hospital in Anchorage for eight months and BIA get babysitter for my husband, and then he move in apartment, that's what happened. He moved into an apartment and after that in '60s then he built this house here, and we live in this house for ever since. And 1970, then my husband died with plane crash. And that was his own plane. STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, that's so sad. LAURA SANFORD: And then I end up with the kids, they were teenagers then, so only my youngest one, I called her "My little teacher" because she's a teacher. And I think she's about 7 or 8 when her dad died with plane crash. So just like take over the family, so that's what I did, in this little house, take care of my children, myself and then we have kind of like, hard times, up and down. Like we have to get used to after my husband died. I chose family, so its kind of really hard for us to go through all that, his death, so. Little by little then, we get used to it. And then my boys start to move, and then we start, all start to move and like how we used to do things when he was alive. My boys go out hunting, and I start picking the berries and cranberries and some, since, gather some.

LAURA SANFORD: I remember one winter, my boys they can't even go out, they kind of upset and that kind of thing, so one winter I told them "Gee whiz," I said, "This is long winter, we going to have no meat or anything, you guys got to do something." And then so my boys went out and hunting rabbit, and we lived with rabbit this one winter, besides that all the groceries, but that all the meat we have. STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh my gosh. LAURA SANFORD: And then, then my uncle, Indian related, Houston Sanford, he's living in Mentasta. So uncle Houston Sanford he used to stop in, and he'd always ask if we have something. And I said, "No, my boys don't get moose, we just have rabbit." And like that, his arm went. He said, "Oh, Ok." And then he went back, and somewhere he kill a moose and that was in the fall. Excuse me. And then one evening I was here and then do some sewing, and somebody knock at the door, so I get up. This wasn't here then, this room here. Just about this big, this kitchen here, and the porch was here. And then someone knocked at the door, so I get up and I opened it and it was Houston. And I said, "Oh, hi uncle, what you doing?" "Oh," he said, "I have hind quarter out there for you." "Oh," I said, "Good" I said, "Ok Just put it in the porch back there." So I tell my son, I said, "Eddie" I said, "Help uncle back there, open door for him." And then he went to look and opened the door and there was a big piece of meat out there, and then he said "Oh." He tell Ed to help him and went up there. The whole moose he bring for us! Is that nice? STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, gosh wow that's a lot of meat. LAURA SANFORD: Yes, and then he said "hindquarter" so I went back there. Oh, I hear a noise in there, I hear a noise and I thought, "Hindquarters, can't just be back there." So I went back there and I opened door, and then here just a pile of meat there, and i thought Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. So that was just, oh, tears run down, and I just don't know what to do, and I just grab my uncle and I said, "uncle" I said, "What a lesson- I never thought that I would have a meat pile back here like when my husband was alive." So he said, "Oh, that's OK," he said "I just want you to ...I want to help you because you have lots of kids and I know you need it." I Said, "Oh, sure we need it." I said, "We have just only rabbits." So, we have lots of meat, and then we live good that winter. And then after that, my boys were started doing some things, and....Boy it take us long time to get back on our feet though. Man. Its really hard, it's hard to start. When my husband died, it just shocked us, it was like somebody un-careful dropped a bottle and shattered, that's the way with my family. It's really a shock to us, never expect anything like that. POLLY HYSLOP: You're kids were young, too, huh? LAURA SANFORD: Yes. POLLY HYSLOP: She has 8 kids, I think.

LAURA SANFORD: And then my little Peggy, my youngest one, she's 7 or 8 when her dad died, so. And then I keep up with my kids, and all that, and then Peggy, my little youngest daughter, my kids graduate from down here, and then my youngest one is the last one that graduated from school. And then she, when she go through her teens, and teenager, and I remember that my little daughter, so pleasant, my little daughter don't even give me no problem. No problem at all, my little girl. And then she play basketball in high school, and I have her pictures and everything, and then she keep herself busy, and like that. One time I hear, she come in and just dash back to her room and she just, she never used to do that. And I thought, "Wow, what's going on with my baby," so I opened the door and she was laying like this on the bed, and I said, "oh, my baby girl," I says, "What is it?" I said. And she'd been crying. I said, "Baby," I said, "What make you cry?" I said I want to know. And she just cried, and cried and I said, "Baby I don't want you to cry." I said, "I don't want you to cry. So I want you to tell me truth, so I can know." So she cleaned her eyes, and she sat with me and I talked to her, and she said, "Mom" she said, "My friends in high school, my friends the want me to smoke with them." And she said. I said, you know. "And they told me they not going to be our friends, we not going to be love you, we not going to be your friend anymore." So she, that make, hurts her, and she was crying for that. I said "Oh Peggy," I said, "You don't have to cry for that." I said, "Young kids are always talk like that, and they're teenagers, so they shouldn't talk that way but still, I said." But I said, "They going to be friend with you again, you see." I said, "You watch and see, they going to be friend with you, so don't be feeling bad about it." I said, "Its nothing." Sure enough, they're just friends. So after she, was that after before she graduate from school, I forgot what grade she's in. She want go to Victory High by Anchorage? POLLY HYSLOP: It's by Palmer. Between Palmer and Glennallen. LAURA SANFORD: Yeah, that's where she want to go. And then I thought "Oh my gosh what's she gonna do?" So anyway I said, "Ok, if you feel like to go there," I said, "We take you there." So that's where we take her to, so half year she been there and well, we go down there and visit her and that kind of thing. Peggy learned Christian life from there in Victory High School there. What I mean is, she's not Christian, but for a young lady, try to understand about this bible and what the preacher whoever there have tasks for them and those kind of thing. So Peggy try to understand that, all that time she was there in school.

POLLY HYSLOP: Did you want to know more about where she, how she was when the highway ...STACEY CARKHUFF: Yeah, I'm going to ask that. POLLY HYSLOP: Um, Laura, she want to know how old you are when highway, when you first, that 1942 when the highway came through, you were living in Mansfield? In 1942? LAURA SANFORD: '42, back and forth to Mansfield. POLLY HYSLOP: Could you tell her your first time you see highway, or first time you see them building it, what you, what you saw, or what people talk about? First time? LAURA SANFORD: See, we me and my dad and mom already used to live in the Mansfield lots, and nowadays, people said they used to leave their lots, but since old people die off, there's not very many live up there. But they, where we used to trap in the trapping and then fishing and then hunting and that kind of thing from Mansfield all over. Camped lake, no cabin, and then, let's see. All over that area toward Ketchemstuck area, all those people used to hunt up that way.

LAURA SANFORD: And up, Joseph, what do you call that, Joseph Village, that's where my chief- uncle-grandpa: Chief Isaac came from down Joseph Village, that area. POLLY HYSLOP: Was he the chief when the, was that before the war, or before 1942? LAURA SANFORD: Way before that. POLLY HYSLOP: Oh yea, I read that. LAURA SANFORD: Some time ago. LAURA SANFORD: Who was the chief in 1942 when the road was coming through? LAURA SANFORD: My brother. POLLY HYSLOP: And that's... LAURA SANFORD: My, my uncle, my uncle Chief Walter Isaac. POLLY HYSLOP: Walter Isaac in 1942? Now he was living in Tanacross, or was he... LAURA SANFORD: Yes. POLLY HYSLOP: Did the army people, did they come and talk to them before the brought the road through, or... LAURA SANFORD: I don't think so. I don't think so. We used to go back and forth, that was me and family, and we used to go back and forth from Mansfield to Tanacross and then in 19 --

LAURA SANFORD: Like I said, this picture has been built by hand, this little airfield. Native people, planes going to go back and forth from Fairbanks for mail carrier. That's when this picture been taken. Native people been working there with ax, then by hand they built that little field. And then after that, the army, that big field right now, Army took, make airfield there. POLLY HYSLOP: Oh, OK, so this little field was built before the big one. LAURA SANFORD: Mhmm. That's way before that, when they built that. POLLY HYSLOP: That just, Ok. LAURA SANFORD: That's for, like I said, that's for mail plane. They have to build place where the little plane can land. In the winter time they can land in that river there. So that's what this here is a pictures. I always show them pictures of, I have it, because they know what I talk about. And then 19 --

POLLY HYSLOP: How old were you when that, in 1942? LAURA SANFORD: In 1942 we were teenagers then. And then we heard that they going to built road, but we don't know what is road. We don't know what is road. It's true, nobody know what is road. POLLY HYSLOP: Did you ever see car before or truck or anything like that? LAURA SANFORD: No, let's see. They, we don't see that, but we never even surprised to see the truck, I remember, because the village after road been built and everything, in the village some guys buying truck and things. Let's see; when 1942, '44, '45, that's when they start to ...Before that they come built road from Copper on up this way, and then they have all over from up there, and down that way, you know from Tanacross its scattered, that was Army and all those people were building. Civilian, they have their own camp, Army have their own camp.

LAURA SANFORD: Color people have their own camp, we don't know colored people then. That's the only thing we don't know. We don't know them. STACEY CARKHUFF: What did you think when you saw colored people? POLLY HYSLOP: Hehe, Oh, I'm sorry. LAURA SANFORD: We scared. We heard about it, this guy he's from (Mensa Needee) his name was Gene Henry. Not too long ago, just last year he die. The man, and he's from (Mensa Needee) and his sister, her name was Kitty, Kitty Henry, and then she was teenager then, she stay with us at Mentasta, with Katie John. And colored people are coming that way, all Army too. And then she tell a story for I don't know what she think, but she kinda tell us one story that she said, "Oh, they're just scary, they're just scary people" she said. And she said they just can run after you and all the story she tell us. And she said, "If you run from then, they going, they can shoot you too" and all that, and we just got scared. We just scared, and then we don't see them before, and then after she come back she tell us all this story and oh we get all shook up. And then we go down there, boat come over, so went down there to see the boat come over, and then the all those black people was, a load of those black people come over with boat, and we run to my house. We have, all the villages have log house and then we just have dirt basement. So we all run back in there, and we open the basement door, we went down there and we shut it. And we stay there. And way down, about Second Avenue those people are going around there and here, way up there, they're not going to us. We were down basement. And we were down there and we just scared. And then this one girl, her name was Alice Robert, and she, and her big tall girl and then this one little lady, her name was Rita Henry, I mean yeah, used to be Rita Henry but her married name is Paul. She's down there and she's a short little girl-lady, and she was down there and she always laugh, for little things. And then as she was laughing, and then I guess she breathe with dirt, and "ughhuhguh" and then Alice says, "Quiet, quiet quiet!" Oh Alice, quiet quiet! So we just all laugh in there, and oh, that was so funny. And then I said, "Let me through," and I come up and I look, I peek down, down there by Elsie (Tiga's) place and here that woman was stand to them, and talk to them. I said, "Come here, come here" and we all come out and they was mad (at themselves) those girls. (Jen) we going to hide in here, you coughing, coughing, and then she said, "(my brain was starting to ?) she said, "You were just like camp robber, you opened your mouth!" So we were so...Oh gee it was just laughing. And then I check and we all peek, we just shocked, we all just "Look, look, she's talking to them look she's talking to them.

LAURA SANFORD: And then after that, and then they all went back, so we come out and went to her this little woman, she's waving to her and said, "Elsie, those black people talking to you?" She said, "Oh, they're talking to me, they're just like us, they're just black." I said, gee, and then I look at us like oh, you're really. Oh geepers, that was funny. Then after that we, after that they come over, and they working, and then my uncle Joseph get job over there, so he live over there, and Moses and they work over there. You know where they come out from Tanacross, that main road? On other side, there's been BLM camp there. Big camp there, used to be that black men, soldiers was there camped. And then that's when, that's where from they have all over road, working for road. And down here they call this "River Road" that's where there used to be old road. Not up that way, It used to be toward that way. And "River Road" if you ever hear that, that's one is first road going down and go on the hillside and then move up to Northway.

POLLY HYSLOP: When those Army people are here, did they, did they come to Indian people to buy food from them, or you know ...LAURA SANFORD: Mmm. They don't. They don't. They don't buy food or anything, you know. POLLY HYSLOP: They have their own food, huh? LAURA SANFORD: Yea, so they have big camp, and they have their own, where you call mess hall that is big place where they have feeding people and that kind of thing. And they used to have all this waste sitting there, food that like, left overs, they bring over there and then we bring our dog bucket over there, and then with little (?) they put in our dog bucket and we bring them over, and that is our dog food. POLLY HYSLOP: The hunters and stuff, did they hunt, did people in Mansfield and Tanacross, did they, did they say it's OK for Army to make the road that way, or they don't say nothing? LAURA SANFORD: I don't think they ask, no. I don't think so. I don't think one thing is they ask people where, which way they should build road or anything. I think that is just the government, that, he send those soldiers up here to have all that road, have all over to build and so they don't...Only thing is, village is they protect their own people. That's the only thing I know that, because Council are really tough, and they were strict, and we're all teenagers, so they were really strict with those soldiers what they're doing in the village, that's one thing; they no drink or anything. We don't know drink anyway. Village we don't know drink, nobody don't' know. POLLY HYSLOP: Is that in 1942 that nobody drink yet in the village? LAURA SANFORD: Mhmm. POLLY HYSLOP: Ohhh, OK. LAURA SANFORD: No, you don't see no one stagger around nobody, nothing. That's why I say people...Like nowadays down there, if you said, "Council why don't you do something?" And then they would say, "No, we can't do that, if by law. This by law is non-Native bring all this (slow) business." That's why, that's why we have it, even our own village, why is they have tell us, "By law you've got to do this." We don't live like that over our village, all over this Tetlin or all over Alaska. Indian people. We never have "By law" nobody say that to us. And this is all new. Drinking, we don't know drinking.

POLLY HYSLOP: You think that, everything happened; drinking and all those new laws, they come with the highway, when the highway, after the highway things start changing? LAURA SANFORD: After, after highway, start. This is no-no, this is no to kill, this is no, you can't take that one, you can't take this one, and that kind of thing. POLLY HYSLOP: What did Indian people say when they, White people start bringing in the laws and saying, "You can't do this, you can't do that." Did they Indian people, your chief and...Did they say anything? LAURA SANFORD: They say that, but these people don't come in that much. This only the teacher and teacher-preacher and those people, like even they stop everything right in the village. Even, that preacher is a preacher, the husband, the wife is teacher. And every Indian out there, they said, "No, that is no-no.” Like medicine people. Medicine people from way back, our ancestors, through all way through my grandpa, through my dad, when I was small I see medicine man and that kind of thing myself. That far everything stop. And ah, so anyway, they said, “No, you can’t chew, that’s no good for you, no, you can’t do this it’s no good for you,” and then they kept saying that, and then I guess just like right now, whatever this new generation comes up right now, whatever they see, they going to do it. Whatever they see, they going to do it- but over there. With this, we don’t do that. We just don’t copy. We not like copy-cat. So, and then when meanwhile my dad talk to us, thinks that they don’t think its right they tell us not to do that.

LAURA SANFORD: But after that everything, they have Council, and all that is start from that preacher. That’s only one that’s been in village, and used to be store keeper that... POLLY HYSLOP: Hajdukovich? LAURA SANFORD: John Hajdukovich and Milo, and Kessler, Herman Kessler and oh -- Ted Lowell, yea . POLLY HYSLOP: Yea, the probably could call him that, by his name "Lowell" I think. STACEY CARKHUFF: I'll look it up. POLLY HYSLOP: Before they road, they were there already before the road came through? And then after the road ...LAURA SANFORD: Mhm, they were trap- traveling from Fairbanks, to Delta, all the way through to Healy Lake, all the way through Mansfield, down to Tanacross, to Tetlin and Northway. With dog team, too, because they bring all that grocery, and that kind of thing. That's why. Before road, that's what they do, travel around. POLLY HYSLOP: And how about your preacher- he move in, he move into Tanacross before the road too, huh? LAURA SANFORD: Mhm, this way. POLLY HYSLOP: Ok, alright.

LAURA SANFORD: So we used to have a nurse there in the old village, (Miss Sandstrom) I think her name was, (Miss Sandstrom) I know her last name, but...She traveled with dog team too. They take her with boat, they take her with plane, and she go with dog team, travel to Northway and all those places. POLLY HYSLOP: I wonder if she kept a journal? LAURA SANFORD: And then, excuse me after that, after the plane from Fairbanks, mail plane, and then they build a station over across the river too, they have station there, with the radio, I guess whatever. And what their name now...Oh, Olaf Eriksson used to live there in Tanacross, across river too. This side, Danny and them's house on this side and then, see, what's that station people's name? Mr. and Mrs. O' Curly, I think that's it. POLLY HYSLOP: Wow, you remember their name from a long time ago, huh.

POLLY HYSLOP: Do you remember your first time you ride in car? Or truck? LAURA SANFORD: Gee, I don't... Oh, I know what- all of us like. POLLY HYSLOP: Oh, for the first time you ride in car, or truck or that. LAURA SANFORD: We let's see- oh we used to catch ride to Northway, we're just teenagers and we used to catch ride to Northway, and we behind the pickup- we all stand there, and then all the way to Northway, then you know they, they don't have no nothing on the road, just a dirt road. Time we get up there we were all dusty and our hair, and then that time all of us girls, we don't know how to wear pants, we don't know how to wear jeans, we all wear dresses, and have to curtsy. So, we were out to catch a ride out there, and we have a little packs, and we're just clean up, and go down to the creek and throw water on each other's hair and we wash our hair and, like that. So, that's when we start to ride truck. And then after later, our preacher, there's another preacher come in, young preacher.

LAURA SANFORD: He used to preach, John Belkam his name. He used to preach down Fort Yukon and then after that he move after Mr. (Mongtosh) left so he move up here and then he used to have a little pickup, and then he used to have guitar and (?) Paul used to play fiddlers so we all have, they have lumber building big lumber building, lumber floor community hall right in village. So and then boys, every Saturday boys used to haul the wood and then they build fire in big barrel stove and they warm up and we all having a good time. No one stagger around, or drink or silly or nothing. And we all just go together, just like all the boys go together. You know, the girls and boys mix, but nobody even try to hold hand, or whatever. We just all just like friends. We never think of anything, and this is all new nowadays. You never see in village, Indian villages you never see no young girl without father carrying baby. Indian law are really tough for that. No way that you going to have kid without marriage. It was our law.

POLLY HYSLOP: When you took that ride that first time from Northway, you know from Tanacross to Northway, do you remember how long it take you to get there? LAURA SANFORD: Oh my gosh, that's one thing I don't know. POLLY HYSLOP: Like 5 hours, half day, full day ...LAURA SANFORD: Oh, maybe full day, I guess I'll say. POLLY HYSLOP: That was a rough road. LAURA SANFORD: Our eyelashes was even probably covered in dust, who knows? STACEY CARKHUFF: The road was that bad? POLLY HYSLOP: Yeah, so if you go to Fairbanks, it would probably take you more than one day then, huh? LAURA SANFORD: Gee, I don't know, that's one thing we...Oh I remember me and after later me and (Samboy) are teachers. A teacher's husband, (Samboy) his name. He pick me and Carl Charles he take us to Fairbanks for our class, and then we catch ride from main road there, they drop us off there and we catch ride from there to Johnson River, and then we stay over night there. You know, like I said, we just never thing of nothing like nowadays we just even right here- I always lock that door because of the hitchhikers. But we never scared like that, we never think of nothing. So I, we catch ride down there, and then I don't see ladies around there, that time I don't remember. (Samboy) sleep someplace, that teacher, and address the teenagers, and then they, that was Army camp there too, like civilian, they'd mix at the Johnson River down there on the, this side going down. And they put me in little room attached to kitchen and I'll never think of anything, isn't that scary right now? So I just, they have bed in there, they fix my bed in there, so that's where I sleep over night. And Carl and some boys, I don't know where they sleep. Oh, Carl catch ride that evening, so he took off to Fairbanks and me and (Samboy) next day, I went down to road after I ate breakfast and I went down to road and sat on the bank down there, and this guy come down, so I flag him down and then he stop, and he was like, "Ok, get in get in." But I said, "Oh, excuse me, I have somebody with me." "Oh," he said, "You do have somebody with you?" I said, "Yes," I said, "I have somebody. "Ok" he said, so I just sort of run back and I tell (Samboy) there's a ride down there, so we went there and we catch ride with him in the pickup, inside and went to Fairbanks. So that's when I been in Fairbanks first time.

POLLY HYSLOP: What did it seem like to you, your first time? LAURA SANFORD: Scary. I don't know what to do, because I don't know where to go. They have, BIA have place for patient, then, so they just let us stay there so, which was good. Because if hotel, then we don't know what to do. This one girl I met, she said, "Come here, come here." She take me over to old, across the river at that old hotel, and we don't even know hotel. And then she went in there, and up she goes, upstairs, and I come in, I stand on the side by doorway, I just stand there I even scared to sit, I don't know if I should sit or what. So, in lobby, I just stand there, and this two men, these two old people sit there, not Native, they just sit there they look at me like, mean. And then I thought oh, I just don't know what to do- they look at me and say, "If you won't sit down here, why are you just standing there?" I got scared, and I just took off. STACEY CARKHUFF: That's no fun. LAURA SANFORD: I just took off and I go under the bridge and run back and then I don't know where to go.

So I went across, and then this little store there, and then I thought, Oh my gosh, I don't know what to do to go in or what? Go in, and just "Can I help you?" I said, "No." I just scared, it's like where am I going to? So and later, lucky thing Sam were looking for me. I Went out and then I go up the street slow because I'm scared, I don't know where to go. And then here he comes, "I told you not to (go up to that place?)" And I said, Oh my gosh. And he said, "What you doing?" And I told him that girl from that place we're staying want me to go with her. I told him that's what happened. He said, "Don't you go that no more, " he said, "you don't know town." So it was just like I don't know what to do, it was scary for me. I'm just scared to death.

POLLY HYSLOP: Gee, I think we're almost out of time. Is there any thing else you want to add, we're almost out of time with our recording. LAURA SANFORD: Oh. About that road, is they, well I think really is like a few civilians and those Army the ones who build all those roads. I remember from there. And then my young cousin's brother like my first cousin, he's just a teenager, young boy this Oscar Isaac's brother. He work over across the river and then he's the first one drown in that river down there. And he canoe over to work and then one evening he's supposed to come back, and his mom worried about, his mom and dad are old, and then they look for him, and then they said, they went across, and asked, and they said, "Oh, he left around what, 5?" And then he's not back yet. So they said he's gone. And then Tom Danny, that's, Danny's family here, Tom Danny soon he hear that he jump in the boat and went down with that boat, and that canoe was floating down on its side by the bank and then he, he just go down, float down. And then he check and there's cigarette butts in there, that's not even wet, and they think if it tip and should be water go in, too. That's what's supposed to be. But nothing. Its like they just push it out. STACEY CARKHUFF: Hmm, that's weird. LAURA SANFORD: So they think there's something goes on there. And this one old man was not too long ago, the next day I think the old man was cleaning like his pickup, washing his pickup and that kind of thing. And they have suspect for them, but no way that they can prove. So they knew that canoe is not going to be...if it tip, bound to be water in there. And cigarette butts in there, just so. That's what's happened there too. So and then later we invite them come over, and they dance with us, and we have dance, and with pickup we go up to Northway and they have band there, and this preacher in (gether, gether) play fiddlers and preacher play guitar so we go back and forth, and they come down, and we have good time. We come here, and go back, when they come down, each one from Northway girl, Tanacross girl we all just go together. Nobody even gossip, or nag, or ...Everybody happy- everybody happy.