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Duane and Sanna LeVan, Part 1

Duane and Sanna LeVan were interviewed on April 9, 2010 by Don Callaway, Rachel Mason, and Karen Brewster at their home in Seward, Alaska. In this interview, the LeVans talk about life in Seward and how it has changed, and the 1964 Earthquake. They talk about skiing, hiking, camping, boating, hunting, and snowmachining in the Exit Glacier area, construction of Herman Leirer Road to the glacier, community use of the area, and their thoughts on the establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2010-05-01_PT.1

Project: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Date of Interview: Apr 9, 2010
Narrator(s): Duane LeVan, Sanna LeVan
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Don Callaway, Rachel Mason
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Sanna's personal background and chidlhood

Duane's personal background and childhood

Duane and Sanna meeting and getting married

Duane's work on the waterfront

The 1964 Earthquake

Evacuating after the earthquake

Life after the earthquake

Sanna's work at family bakery and as housewife

Changes in Seward after the earthquake

Hunting activities

Hiking experiences

Early experiences at Exit Glacier

Construction of Exit Glacier Road

Early use of the road and crossing Resurrection River by boat

Use of snowmachines

Hiking up Exit Glacier

Changes to Exit Glacier

Driving from Seward to Anchorage

Ice skating

The Levan's children

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DON CALLAWAY: Let's start off. And what I'd like to do, since there are two of you here, is to ask you about your childhood and where you grew up;

and if one of you one of you could tell me, then the other one follow on, and then we'll kind of gradually move through your life.

DUANE LEVAN:: You better start with her because she's the oldest...of living in Seward.

SANNA LEVAN: Okay. It's easy. My name is Sanna Gustava LeVan, and I was born in Seward, Alaska. And I'm still here.

And people come and people go, but I'm still here. And I love it.

Let's see. I have to tell you something about my family because they all moved from Valdez and came to Seward in 1926.

And my dad was with the old WAMCATS Telegraph Service with the Army. And he met my mom when he was stationed there in Valdez.

So my grandmother, my grandpa, and my mom and dad and my brother and sister moved here.

And in 1930. And before that, my brother, my other brother was born. And I was born in '30, that tells my age.

And up until I -- I can remember -- I can't remember much, but up until I can remember, we lived on -- down on Third Avenue in a big, tall house.

It seemed very big to me, but when I grew up and visited people, it was very small. Everything was big. And it isn't there anymore.

But I had a real good childhood. My dad bought the Seward Bakery and my grandma and grampa took care of us at home.

And we had a lot of fun in Seward. We children could run around and climb the mountain and go down to the beach, and had a lot of freedom, but there were people around watching us.

If we did anything wrong, our folks heard about it, and it was very much taken care of.

Then when I got into school, I went to the Seward Public School, just two or three blocks -- it's AVTEC on this avenue now.

And we had to walk to school over the bridge where the flume used to come down where they had elec -- water electricity, came down to the bay.

And so walking to school was like two step -- one step forward and two steps backwards. Either the wind was blowing or the streets were icy.

And so then high school, the grade school was in the bottom of the building, the high school was in top, and I moved up to high school and I graduated from high school.

And when I was 16, before I graduated, I met my husband.

He came back from the war. 1946? DUANE LEVAN: '46.

SANNA LEVAN: Now your -- your childhood.

DUANE LEVAN: Well, I was born in Valley City, North Dakota. Moved various places, mostly up on the Canadian Border, Northern Minnesota in my younger years.

Then we eventually moved out West to Oregon, the southern part of Oregon.

Then moved back to Minnesota again, and that was when the war started.

And my dad had had a heart problem, but he was able to get back on the railroad, so he worked at the railroad going down into Duluth hauling iron ore at that time.

And he'd always wanted to come back to Alaska -- come to Alaska; and in fact, when we were living in the woods up in Northern Minnesota, well, he applied for to come up to Matanuska.

But he didn't qualify because he wasn't much of a farmer. So they wanted real farmers at that time up here.

So anyway, then I went in the Navy and my folks come to Seward. And they moved here and stayed in Seward until, oh, 1950, and then they got a homestead.

My dad was a World War I veteran, he had a homestead down at Moose River, what is now Sterling.

And he had a homestead down there and he lived down there. Prior to that, though, he worked here on the Alaska Railroad.

And then I was in the Navy in the meantime, and I spent, oh, a couple, three years in the Navy.

I was down in the South Pacific and come back to Seward because my folks was living here, and that's why I migrated to Seward.

And then I've been here ever since, like Sanna, we've -- except for vacations for a week or two at a time, we've never went anywhere.


DON CALLAWAY: So you met, Sanna was 16? DUANE LEVAN: Uh hum.

DON CALLAWAY: And you were out of the Navy, you'd mustered out of the Navy? DUANE LEVAN: Out of the Navy. Yes, I got out of the Navy.

SANNA LEVAN: A very handsome man, in a Navy uniform.

DON CALLAWAY: Still handsome.

DUANE LEVAN: Everybody come out, you know, was getting out, except for regular. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. My dad was in the Navy, too. DUANE LEVAN: Mostly they wanted people out. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: And something a little interesting the other day, our son called, and how you can look up something on Internet and things? DON CALLAWAY: Sure.

DUANE LEVAN: He got to looking at the Internet and he found -- and of all the crazy things, because these aren't important ships -- well, they were in a way, but they weren't.

I was on a -- what they called a land -- LST or landing craft, they're 300 and some feet long.

Anyway, he come up on the Internet with the ship I was on. Yeah. In the Philippines and down in New Guinea. Yeah. Kind of interesting.

SANNA LEVAN: He's sending you pictures. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Thought he would have them today but he didn't.

DUANE LEVAN: And then, of course, I worked on the waterfront here until the earthquake hit.

And then I went to work for the Highway Department, I worked as a highway maintenance man, because I was operated -- well, I operated equipment on the dock, and I got on in the State, so I was very fortunate, I got to stay in Seward.

Most of the guys at that time had to leave here because there was no work force.

We had a couple hundred guys working at that time on the waterfront because there was all hand work.

And that would go into your railroad sometime. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. A different conversation.

SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. So of a interest, we had a place here in Seward, it was Sylvia's Fountain, and it was where everybody went after school for treats and stuff.

And that's where I met Duane. And the lady that worked there introduced us. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. It took off from there.

DON CALLAWAY: When -- when did you get married? SANNA LEVAN: Jeepers. We got married -- DUANE LEVAN: 1948.

SANNA LEVAN: -- in 1948. Yep. And -- and I could only get married, my dad said, if I would finish high school, and I only had a couple of -- couple of courses to take.

And then everybody -- everybody knew about it but we eloped. But the teachers didn't know.

DUANE LEVAN: In those days there was only two ways out of Seward. SANNA LEVAN: You had to fly. DUANE LEVAN: You either went by train to Anchorage or you flew.

And there was a guy, Chris Christiansen, he was an old time pilot, used to have a bi wing, a two wing Waco, a radial engine. Yeah. That's going way back.

DON CALLAWAY: The old Wenkel engine. DUANE LEVAN: Huh? DON CALLAWAY: Wenkel engine? DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Flew to Anchorage. But that was the only way to get there except the train, of course.

SANNA LEVAN: And then it was interesting also, when we got to Anchorage, we ended up late for the wedding because my sister got the wrong time. She lived in Anchorage.

And then when we were at the Westward Hotel having dinner, why, there were all my teachers across the room and they were just, "Ah!" Like that. It all worked out anyway.

RACHEL MASON: Where did you get married? DUANE LEVAN: In Anchorage. SANNA LEVAN: We did it in the magistrate's office in Anchorage. DUANE LEVAN: The commissioner. SANNA LEVAN: We -- oh.

DUANE LEVAN: A Commissioner she was. SANNA LEVAN: Oh, it was a commissioner? DUANE LEVAN: Rose. SANNA LEVAN: Rose somebody.

DON CALLAWAY: Did you go anywhere on a honeymoon or just -- DUANE LEVAN: No. Stayed here.

SANNA LEVAN: Moved into that little old house that was three -- it was long and narrow down on Third Avenue. It isn't even there anymore.

DUANE LEVAN: The one where -- SANNA LEVAN: Yeah, we told you about that. RACHEL MASON: That's another story. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. (Indiscernible.) SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Don, I want to just stop it and check it and make sure it's... (Pause in interview.)

DON CALLAWAY: Okay. So where we stopped was you just had your wedding in -- in Anchorage, and you'd come back here.

And you were still working down -- down at the -- the wharf; you hadn't started working for the State until after the '64 quake, right?

DUANE LEVAN: At that period of time, see, this is 1946. At that time, on the Alaska -- on the railroad, the railroad had the dock here DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: -- down at the waterfront, which they own over there now, but at that time, everything down there with the exception of the gang that went to work on the ship worked for the railroad. DON CALLAWAY: Oh.

DUANE LEVAN: So I was a railroad employee up until they contracted out to a stevedoring company all the longshore work. DON CALLAWAY: Oh.

DUANE LEVAN: Then I went to work for the company on the water -- I stayed on the dock working for Northern Stevedoring Company, come in here at that period of time.

And I worked for Northern Stevedoring, and, ol' Rothschild Stevedoring come in here for a while and worked another dock that was straight down the beach here where you call -- was the Army dock, put in during World War II.

And we worked back and forth all those docks. And for the -- you know, the various stevedoring companies.

And then -- well, that was then Northern Stevedoring took over, as I say, like in '47.

And from then on until '46, the earth -- or '64, rather, the earthquake hit and we were all -- that day, well, there was just a few of us had worked the day before,

and then that day they was nobody in the waterfront with the exception of a guy from the railroad that was checking the canter cranes.

They layed us all off to fix the warehouse up on -- on one of the two warehouses, for a big party, for Alaska or Seward, was going to be an All American City.

DON CALLAWAY: Oh, that's right.

DUANE LEVAN: Otherwise, we would have been on the waterfront that day when the earthquake hit because it still would have been work time.

It hit about, what, 5:34, something like that. Otherwise, we would have been on the waterfront, but the way it was, there was nobody on the waterfront.

Otherwise, yeah, it would have been a lot of people died.

And then, of course, then from then on, well, immediately after the earthquake, of course, we didn't have anything left. The whole waterfront's gone.

There's absolutely nothing on the waterfront. Nothing at all.

SANNA LEVAN: The whole town was a shamble. DUANE LEVAN: The sewer lines were broke, majority of them in town, water lines were broke in town.

The volunteer labor and stuff here in town for the first, say, two weeks or so, before they got organized, the Army was pretty well organized, the National Guard, rather,

and they flew in some generators, a water tanker or two, once it got the airstrip cleaned off where they could land, and for purifying water and things like that.

And getting some food and they set places up.

Basically, the -- the buildings, with the exception of the waterfront buildings, there was no damage to speak of in Seward, that -- I mean, there was -- real bad damage that I know of, no.

DON CALLAWAY: And your house was okay?

DUANE LEVAN: Our house was fine. We left here that night, we were sitting, just going to have dinner, and everything's falling on the floor, of course, off the shelves in the kitchen, and TV went over, everything else.

But look out the window and the tankers were -- tanks were burning down on the corner. And being in the Navy, in the war....

SANNA LEVAN: Anyway, they explode. And he thought it was going to come into the town. And he said, get your coats, your hats, just don't take anything else, we're getting out of here.

And we just took out the road, went on the lagoon. And I remember looking in the bay, and it was just going like this.

So I think we just missed the first tidal wave that was formed by the land sliding.

And we got out to Mile 3, you could not get any further. The big -- the big -- DUANE LEVAN: Well, the road -- SANNA LEVAN: They fell down.

DUANE LEVAN: The road had -- It was kind of interesting in a way, after I got on the road to figure, knowing what happened, but the roads, the fill on all the high fill in the roads sunk.

But the bridges didn't. The bridges stayed at the same level, the piling in the water.

So that consequently, the bridges were up about 3 feet high, which was left of them, and some of them, you know, they were like this, slabs, you know.

We was able to walk across the bridges. And then the tankers, getting back to them, or the oil tanks, on the slope of the land here, all the oil run to the bay.

Which we didn't know. DON CALLAWAY: Oh. SANNA LEVAN: It all went this way.

DUANE LEVAN: Oh, every bit of the oil went that way. No houses got destroyed or didn't bother it at all. Everything was black from the wind because that night the whole bay was on fire.

SANNA LEVAN: Some of the houses got it down the other way. DUANE LEVAN: But the black soot and blew all around, you know.

DON CALLAWAY: From the oil burning on the water?

DUANE LEVAN: From the oil, yeah. Gasoline and oil, a lot of the oil at that time in the tankers, the government buildings, schools, railroad -- well, railroad was government --

burned what they call bunker grade crude oil for their furnaces, and it's a real heavy oil, so that's why it floated so good.

And it's the ships had the same thing used to it, that bunker grade crude, and it would float on top of the surface and just lay there and burn for however thickness it was, you know.


SANNA LEVAN: And that night was really strange.

DUANE LEVAN: Anyway, we didn't know until the next morning. I walked into town. We stayed at a doctor's place out -- out of town that night.

And they -- we switched cars, out the road, him and his wife, and his wife is a nurse, and they are trying to get to the hospital.

And they had his kids with him. So we took their kids and ours and then went to their place, walked out to their place out the Exit Glacier Road where it is now,

up in the valley there, and then they come into town with our pickup. So they -- they got to the hospital.

SANNA LEVAN: And that really scared my mom. Because she was down at the Solly's Liquor Store down there, and -- and old Herman Leirer came and says, "Come on, Hilma, we're getting out of here."

And got her up the street and got her to the hospital. And then when she looked around, she saw our pickup and we weren't anywhere.

That really was a -- a shock.

DUANE LEVAN: A lot of people were staying at the hospital in that area, you know, and the school, and higher up the hill then.

SANNA LEVAN: So then out there we all -- we did have radio, and it said, Seward's burning, and the last we knew mom was down there.

Kodiak's washing out to sea, and my brothers were there. And my dad was in Anchorage with the city manager getting ready for the All America City thing.

And if he is someplace and didn't have his glasses, he couldn't see a thing. That was really an upset.

But we were -- as a local family, we were together because Sue wasn't feeling good, and she had been practicing on that Good Friday for the -- for a program at the church, and came home because she was not feeling really well.

And Duane just about took Mel, our son, and his friend out to the head of the bay to pick pussy willows, but they were having so much fun, we stayed home. So -- DUANE LEVAN: Good thing we did.

SANNA LEVAN: So we were all here and ready to go. DUANE LEVAN: Because that tidal wave went right over the flats. Went as far as the north end of the airport is where the tidal wave.

DON CALLAWAY: So how many children did you have at this point? DUANE LEVAN: Two. A boy and a girl

SANNA LEVAN: Two. That's all we had. And Mel was sitting next to me out there. DUANE LEVAN: He was the youngest.

SANNA LEVAN: And he was very quiet, and he looks up and he says, "I'm upset."

RACHEL MASON: How old were your kids then? SANNA LEVAN: Well, Sue was -- DUANE LEVAN: 9. SANNA LEVAN: -- let's see. 9 or 10. No, Mel was 4. DUANE LEVAN: Mel was 4.


DON CALLAWAY: So -- so after you left the doctors, you went up by Exit Glacier because it was higher ground? DUANE LEVAN: Well, no, the doctor -- SANNA LEVAN: He lived up there.

DUANE LEVAN: It was a little higher, but the doctor had a place up there. In fact, the local doctor that we have now, I just told him here a few days ago if he realized that the house he had, that that doctor had a dog team, too.

But it's just past that lodge that's out there on Exit Glacier. SANNA LEVAN: So it was still flat.

DUANE LEVAN: It's a house on the right, just oh, a hundred yards or so in on the road. Where the road is now.

The road was all different those days, though. The road went way back around through the woods; it wasn't out where it is now.

DON CALLAWAY: And what kind of recreational outdoor activities did you do before the quake and did it change after the quake, or did things get back to normal?

DUANE LEVAN: We still backpack, hike, hunt. SANNA LEVAN: Duck hunters at that time.

DUANE LEVAN: Well, then -- we hunted moose, because we ate moose. I mean, that's SANNA LEVAN: We were subsistence and didn't know it. DUANE LEVAN: Fish.

SANNA LEVAN: Well, this is the best part of it. We had this huge freezer. DUANE LEVAN: In the deep -- deep.

SANNA LEVAN: And it was totally full. We had our -- I guess I must have got that from my mom because she always had a pantry living in Valdez that -- with stuff in case the boat don't come, doesn't come in.

And so we had shelves down there, we had a cool room with vegetables in it.

And we were, when we got back to our house, we had a wood stove in the basement I could cook on.

And we had everything we needed right here. We didn't have to go stay and get our meals at the community help or anything.

For two weeks. And everything kept in the deep freeze, too. DON CALLAWAY: Hmm.

SANNA LEVAN: So it was nice that way.

DON CALLAWAY: How long until you came back to your house?

DUANE LEVAN: The next morning. I walked into town the next morning. I didn't know what it was going to be, so I left them out there and I walked into town, and then I walked back out again later in the day, found out everything was fine at the house.

I had the -- one of the local firemen I knew of, in fact, our neighbor, I got a hold of him, and he come over and went in the attic with me and checked the chimney out, I didn't know about the chimney, you know, he checked my chimney to made sure that was okay.

And got them back in here and went and moved in the basement. Slept up here and, you know, cooked everything down there. No problem.

Had a kerosene lantern, her kerosene lamp, like the one sitting there, we've had since -- we had the light company here that used to go out of power in the wintertime because we was on hydraulic out of the canyon and run low on water, you know, or freeze up. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: We did without electricity a lot of times. So anyway.

DON CALLAWAY: So tell us about your life after the earthquake. DUANE LEVAN: Well -- SANNA LEVAN: It changed. DUANE LEVAN: With me -- SANNA LEVAN: A bit.

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, it was quite a change. I -- like I say, I'm very fortunate, things -- well, within a few days they got me and I went to work for the state, with them,

with the state crew, area maintenance out of Seward and whatever we needed. And I stayed with them until -- oh, let's see. SANNA LEVAN: Pipeline.

DUANE LEVAN: '82. About '80, I quit the state temporarily, and longshoring was getting a lot of pipe through here for the pipeline,

so I went back longshoring because they -- with the union, longshore union, we were able to -- again, we was out of work and it wasn't our fault,

they let us apply extra hours to pick of years, for back years if we come back to work.

So I went back to work and spent two years on the dock during the pipeline to pick up hours so I could get a retirement out of there.

Then I got back on again right away on the state again, I went back and worked for them for a couple more years and then retired from the state.

And had a good life after that, just skiing and whatever. SANNA LEVAN: Fun.

DUANE LEVAN: Backpacking. Utilized cabins. When we got smart, we wanted to quit being in a tent all the time. Cabins are pretty nice.

SANNA LEVAN: It was really funny. When he was longshoring, he was his only -- he was his boss, himself.

And if he wanted to work, he went down there and he put his -- what, his plug in to work. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: So he would work on the nasty days, and when it looked like it was going to be nice, he'd pull his plug and we'd head for my dad's cabin down on Kenai Lake.

DUANE LEVAN: Cooper Landing. DON CALLAWAY: Oh, yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: Just have a -- and, of course, you don't save any money that way. It was like paycheck to paycheck.

But when he went to work for the state, all of a sudden I tried to budget, and boy, I was under budget all the time, but --

but the best thing about that, I got into the habit of keeping track of everything, so throughout the years, our income tax is the easiest thing in the world to do.

Because I have it all in a loose leaf notebook for the year. That was handy. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Yeah.

DON CALLAWAY: And during these periods, did you work at -- in wage labor at all? DUANE LEVAN: Sanna? DON CALLAWAY: Yeah, Sanna.

SANNA LEVAN: Oh, just before we got married -- DUANE LEVAN: -- that's all. SANNA LEVAN: -- I worked a lot in the bakery. I mean, that was --

DUANE LEVAN: Before we were married. SANNA LEVAN: -- a sweat shop. All of us worked. And we learned work habits.

DON CALLAWAY: That was a family bakery, right?

SANNA LEVAN: You do. And -- but when I was in high school, then, and dad had sold the bakery, I worked, like, after school two or three jobs, just for a short time, probably a couple years, maybe.

I'm not sure. I baked cakes for the B & B Soda Fountain, I worked there. I worked at the theater, an usher.

I worked at Osbo's Electrical Supply, learned how to put little things together. That was fun. But I have been a housewife.

DUANE LEVAN: She worked without pay.

SANNA LEVAN: All these years. I am one of the blessed people. I am. I had it pretty nice, with Duane taking care of us.

And then -- and then raising children, with -- with him as the father was so wonderful because what I said was the boss when he came home, and they were going to try to get something out of him, he'd say no.

And that really, really saved a lot of aggravation. Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: I think the difference here after you was talking about the earthquake and that, I think one of the biggest things before and after, this community was just a working town.

SANNA LEVAN: That's it.

DUANE LEVAN: I mean, railroad, a lot of just jobs, you know, real jobs.

And then after the earthquake, we just got away from ships coming in and it turned into, well, what we say, T shirt shops downtown.

SANNA LEVAN: A tourist town. DUANE LEVAN: It's a tourist town.

Basically, tourists, they do, they'll -- I'll take it back, because some tourists, there are a group that really spend the money. But I think way by far the majority of them buy a T shirt -- DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. DUANE LEVAN: -- to send home, or a postcard.

Ánd so consequently, wages in a little town, this little town lacks for a real wage base.

AVTEC is big. Park Service hires a lot of people here.

In fact, Park Service, I think, from what I've heard, wage wise, that they probably pay better than most any other job around town, right today.

SANNA LEVAN: And the Forest Service, too. DUANE LEVAN: And the job with the Forest Service, you know, government jobs -- SANNA LEVAN: Yes. DUANE LEVAN: -- in other words, yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Schools.

DUANE LEVAN: The state has a few here, this -- the prison over there hires quite a few people. Most of them don't live here from what I understand.

Most of them live in Anchorage, or prefer to, because they work a schedule that's, what, a couple weeks on, a couple weeks off or something. So they go back and forth.

DON CALLAWAY: So there's not a lot of local hire over at the prison there?

DUANE LEVAN: The only hire that I'm aware of over there was local, basically, was some of the maintenance guy -- people. I think that's just about mostly it. I think so.

DON CALLAWAY: What year did you retire, again, in? DUANE LEVAN: '82 from the state.

DON CALLAWAY: '82. So could you talk a little bit about camping and hunting and what you did?

DUANE LEVAN: Well, way back even in our hunting, we hunted a lot, when the kids were here and that, we -- like I say, we hunted, but -- and I still would, if I did -- if I did anything like that today.

We weren't what you'd call game, big game hunters. We went out with the idea you're going out and you're going to get a moose as soon as you can get him, get him butchered, get him home in the deep freeze. DON CALLAWAY: Right.

SANNA LEVAN: Don't matter what size. DUANE LEVAN: What you could get. SANNA LEVAN: Doesn't have to be a record. DUANE LEVAN: No. No.

DON CALLAWAY: You weren't trophy hunters? DUANE LEVAN: No, no, no, no. We wasn't interested in that. And by far the majority of the people in Seward are that way.

I mean, it was just -- it was the way you lived, that's all there was to it.

We shot ptarmigan, lots of ptarmigan. Canned ptarmigan and grouse. Yeah. Oh, yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Rabbits. DUANE LEVAN: Rabbits.

DON CALLAWAY: What kind of ducks would you get? DUANE LEVAN: Pardon me? DON CALLAWAY: What kind of ducks would you get? SANNA LEVAN: Oh, good ducks. DUANE LEVAN: Ducks? DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. What species?

DUANE LEVAN: Well, mainly -- well, we just shot good ducks, good eating ducks. We shot mallards. SANNA LEVAN: Teal. DUANE LEVAN: And teal. Pintail, widgeon. And basically, that's the ones you eat here.

Most of the sea ducks, go back to food again, they live on the little mussels and things like that, and they are not as good eating.

So no, we -- we looked for stuff as food. That was -- it was we were after -- we got ptarmigan in the fall when they was good and fat eating blueberries, and yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: And sometimes we'd climb Mount Alice to shoot goat. DUANE LEVAN: Got boulder -- she shot goat -- SANNA LEVAN: And I shot -- DUANE LEVAN: -- on Mount Alice. SANNA LEVAN: -- 2 or 3. I don't remember. DON CALLAWAY: That's hard work.

SANNA LEVAN: That's work. And even moose, you're going to hunt moose, you -- you're going to work. DUANE LEVAN: And we got -- we'd get a bear once in awhile in the falltime, is the best time to eat one. Not much good in the spring. SANNA LEVAN: We had one --

DUANE LEVAN: But anyway, you know, like that. And then, of course, we backpacked for pleasure in later years, too, a lot. We've still got our gear downtown -- downstairs, we don't use it.

SANNA LEVAN: Came to the point we just can't do it. DUANE LEVAN: Well, just too much. 50 pound pack, and you've got 10, 12 miles to go where you want to go, well, it gets too much. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: And we tried flying in when we could afford it, but it was so iffy -- DUANE LEVAN: You got disgusted. SANNA LEVAN: -- that you -- you thought you were going to go, and then you don't go, and oh, my goodness.

DUANE LEVAN: Much better when you can hike in.

DON CALLAWAY: And where would you hike in to or where would you like to fly in? DUANE LEVAN: Oh, we hiked in all around this country. We used to, well, for tenting, we'd to go to Lost Lake a lot. SANNA LEVAN: That's my favorite.

DUANE LEVAN: We've spent a lot of -- lots of nights and days at Lost Lake. And we'd go to the lake, instead of right to the lake, we'd go to the far end of the lake and then go over towards SANNA LEVAN: Another little lake, too.

DUANE LEVAN: -- another lake in behind back in there is where we hiked to. And then we was up Exit Glacier a couple times after they put the trail in there.

Stayed in that cabin up there. Oh, Paradise, we've been in that cabin. Juneau Lake, Trout Lake, Swan Lake, Devil's Creek.

What we called the Oracle Mine, that would be Summit Creek. We've been up through that country. SANNA LEVAN: Oh, we love that, too. DUANE LEVAN: Back in behind over the top of the mountains there.

Yeah. Anywhere locally here we've been around quite a bit. On Mount Alice, we've been all over, over in that country. SANNA LEVAN: Out -- like we said --

DUANE LEVAN: Caines Head where we were telling you about the hummingbirds. SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. It was fun camping on the beach. It's different. DUANE LEVAN: It's nice out on the beach there.

DON CALLAWAY: So when did you start going to Exit Glacier, what year was that? DUANE LEVAN: Well, the first year -- well, no, I'll take it back. Gee.

SANNA LEVAN: When your dad hunted there, you went there with him once, before we went. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. I was up there --

SANNA LEVAN: He got a moose. You got a moose. DUANE LEVAN: I shot the moose, yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Yeah, okay.

DUANE LEVAN: My dad was up there moose hunting, right, well, just not where the buildings are but just downstream from that a little bit, and well, it would be upstream and down, there was a little airstrip right there called a Taylorcraft strip. DON CALLAWAY: Right.

DUANE LEVAN: And guys used to go in there and hunt moose. And this friend of ours I worked with on the dock, and put dad in there one night, and dad couldn't backpack because of his heart condition and that,

so we had made arrangement, he'd check on dad every night, and if he had a moose down, well, I'd go up and pack it, you know, take the next day and pack it in.

SANNA LEVAN: Packed a lot of moose for his dad. DUANE LEVAN: So anyway, the guy come down to the dock, got me, and hey, Duane, you got to get your gear and go on up there, he said. He had flown over and dad had waved at him and he thought he had an animal down.

So I jumped in the plane with him, and we take off and get up there; well, no, he didn't have an animal down, but on the way in there down the stream just a little bit, I had seen a bull and a couple of cows down there, so we took off, dad and I, before it got dark and went down and I got the bull.

So anyway, I spent the next day up there packing one out, you know. But that was the first time, gee, that would have been -- SANNA LEVAN: Whew.

DON CALLAWAY: Before '50. DUANE LEVAN: Gosh, before '50s. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. DUANE LEVAN: Probably the late '40 -- well, maybe 1950, '40s. Then Sanna and I -- SANNA LEVAN: When they started that. DUANE LEVAN: -- hiked up there. SANNA LEVAN: Oh, gosh.

DUANE LEVAN: From this side, from the garbage dump side with snowshoes, ptarmigan hunting, and we hunted on the Paradise Creek, comes out of this side.

Well, we went in right on this side and followed this edge up. And then Paradise Creek you can get across, if there's enough snow it freezes over pretty good.

And we was there and we crossed over there, and went in them little hills below where the glacier was at that time, and we hunted ptarmigan up in there. Got some ptarmigan come out of there. That's the first times.

SANNA LEVAN: Then another time we took a boat across Resurrection . DUANE LEVAN: That was later years, that was after -- after I went to work for the state, then

would have been, what, '65, '64 I went to work for the state. Summer of '65, probably.

They -- Herman Leirer and some other guys -- or '64 -- well, '65 they wanted to start it. Wanted to put a road up to Exit Glacier.

In that period of time they tried to come up this side. Because we had the road going to the garbage dump, and there was a rifle range at the end there, you could drive right at the corner where the rocks are shot off now.

So they decided they was going to take the road up through there. And Herman Leirer and another guy -- well, I'll think of his name. SANNA LEVAN: Blondin.

DUANE LEVAN: Blondin, Lloyd Blondin, he was with -- he was in the -- SANNA LEVAN: Sometimes I remember names.

DUANE LEVAN: He had some equipment. And they decided they were going to put a road up there. So they went from this side, and they got up this side -- well, you're still on --

well, Ben -- Benson Mountain, Iron Mountain, around the corner just you get around the other side of Benson, there's a big slide comes down, comes clear to the river there. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: And they got it going across that slide and then they found out how much snow was in that thing and changed their mind right there. So that ended the road project on this side.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, when you say "this side," you mean -- you mean this side of the river? DUANE LEVAN: That would be -- that would be the south side of the river.

Yeah, the south side of the river. And be the north side of Benson Mountain where the slide comes down. Right around that corner.

And then after that, I don't know who decided what or anything, but our foreman on the state, I was low man on the totem pole, so we was changing the road at that particular time, going up what's the old road that goes up there,

and the old road that went up there at that time went just north of Clear Creek behind the Pit Bar, and the road went up that creek, crossed up that creek maybe a mile up the creek, cut over, and then went up to where the corner where Seavey's are.

That was the old road, that's the old road there.

So then the -- the state at that time, the foreman and them wouldn't let the state work on this, but it was state land, part of it in there, and didn't want anything to do with it, but our local foreman,

because of the local people, had me and another guy, and we went in and started where the road, the old road goes now as you get by the Spenard Builders, and the first road to your right goes and meanders through there, well, we started right there, brushing.

And we cut across there and we drove the piling for that little bridge that's there, I run the crane for that.

And we built that road up to where it come in with the old road that come from behind the Pit, straightening that stretch of the old road out, which was okay with the foreman on the other side of the Peninsula, the head foreman.

So we straightened out that section of road there. Then we got to Seavey's, of course, and from there up, they decided, well, we would go ahead and help them some.

So we started from there on up, straight up, basically to where it is now.

And cutting cottonwoods down and going through there with a Cat and knocking some down, just shoving stuff aside, making a -- just a trail. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum. DUANE LEVAN: Up through there. Then they got into this -- Herman Leirer got --

DON CALLAWAY: What year did you knock the cottonwoods down? DUANE LEVAN: This would be '65. DON CALLAWAY: '65. DUANE LEVAN: Probably the summer of '65 we worked through there. DON CALLAWAY: All right.

DUANE LEVAN: And then later, it took several years, but then finally Herman got -- he got to doing a little bit up through there. They -- they got a -- oh, just kind of a trail up through there, a road, but it wasn't much, you know.

And then -- then they got a guy over there from the other side of the Peninsula that had some equipment, he used to be here at that time. Anyway, they -- they hired him, and got some money from somewhere, I don't know who, and got up there.

First thing they got as far as the crossing the river up there. Gee, that took until I don't know when.

I don't know just when it would have been, in the '70s, probably, before they got up into the -- before you crossed the river. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: First time we ever drove up there with Sanna and I, we got up that far with our little boat, and then took our boat across the -- SANNA LEVAN: And wow, that -- DUANE LEVAN: The river there. And then we walked up the glacier from there. SANNA LEVAN: And we touched the glacier and we got ice to bring back home.

RACHEL MASON: Oh, boy. DON CALLAWAY: And that -- DUANE LEVAN: That was the first time I had been up there.

SANNA LEVAN: And then we hunted and then -- is that the time we hunted there, too? DUANE LEVAN: No, no, we hunted there before. We walked up there. We hunted there after that, too, but that was before there was a park, of course.

RACHEL MASON: Did you say you took your little boat up there? How -- how did you DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, we had a little boat that we had in our pickup -- RACHEL MASON: Oh, okay.

DUANE LEVAN: -- hauled in our pickup up to where they were going to put the bridge in. And then we went from there. They put a Cat -- they got a Cat across the road there or where they was going to put the road and they brushed it out with the Cat, you know, up as far as the glacier. RACHEL MASON: Oh.

DUANE LEVAN: But before that the first time I would say we had ever been there was this side, or the south side of the river, and we followed the south side of Resurrection.

And any of the local guys that I knew at that time that hunted up there, everybody that hunted in that country would take an Army four by four or something and go up the -- the south side of Resurrection to get up there because you can cross that one -- the first part there, unless it was flooding.

DON CALLAWAY: With a four by four, Army surplus, or --

DUANE LEVAN: Army surplus. But you -- you could cross that Paradise Creek most of the time, except flood time. And that's where the water comes from, by the way, out of glacier. DON CALLAWAY: Oh, really?

DUANE LEVAN: Oh, yeah, the big water comes out of that Paradise Creek. I mean, over the years I wouldn't have had anything to do with it.

I've walked a Cat up there one time to haul Park Service people out of there from the bridge on down. They got stranded up there. DON CALLAWAY: Oh, no.

DUANE LEVAN: I walked the Cat up from Seavey's on, clear on up there just to give them a ride. Yeah.

DON CALLAWAY: Do you remember when snow machines were introduced into Seward?

DUANE LEVAN: It would have been '60s. SANNA LEVAN: Got Ski Doo. DUANE LEVAN: Somewhere around there. Everybody had a Ski Doo around here SANNA LEVAN: Got Ski Doo. DUANE LEVAN: -- at that time. Yeah.

DON CALLAWAY: Did -- did they come up, use Ski Doos on the south side? Was the trail in the winter packed enough to -- to take your --

SANNA LEVAN: I don't think so. DUANE LEVAN: No, not to -- not to any amount. There was some guys, local guys, there was a few local guys that trapped up there for a number of years. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: In that country up in there. Up above where the glacier is now, up the creek, further up the creek. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: They had a couple little old cabins sit back in there. Not the Placer Cabin but there was a mining cabin, but --

DON CALLAWAY: Would they snowshoe in or dog team? DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, they would walk in there. Yeah. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, a couple of guys I worked with trapped up in there. But snowshoe in. But later years, then, they got some snow machines. The snow machines weren't nothing like they have today. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Absolutely. I mean, they are -- on the flat country you had trouble getting them going. In fact, we got smart one time, we thought we wanted one. We bought a -- SANNA LEVAN: Much easier to walk.

DUANE LEVAN: -- bought a snow machine, and -- well, I don't remember which happened first, but one of the times we were trying to go to Lost Lake with it and our idea was we'd take our skis -- cross-country skies -- up there. SANNA LEVAN: We brought the snow machine along.

DUANE LEVAN: And, boy, this is great, we can ride the snow machine up there, you know. Well, we spent more work putting that snow machine up there than ever we would have doing walking. It's much easier to walk.

SANNA LEVAN: And then we were going to go ptarmigan hunting across the lake. And we got into overflow. Oh, wow. I remember that. DUANE LEVAN: Poor little machine.

SANNA LEVAN: I think we gave up the snow machine then. DUANE LEVAN: That did it right there. SANNA LEVAN: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Snow machine weighed about 250 pounds is all. One of them old Ski Doos.

That thing must have weighed at least 500 pounds with all the ice underneath it, and I'm trying to get it in the back of the pickup.

Summit Lake, never worked harder in all my life. You know, but anyway, now they got them, they climb Marathon. SANNA LEVAN: Oh, yes. No problem.

DUANE LEVAN: It's amazing what they can go up in. But then the local -- what built the trail up to Lexie -- to Lost Lake, the winter trail for getting there in the winter, was the snow machine guys -- SANNA LEVAN: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: -- they wanted to get up there so bad with snow machines. Forest Service wouldn't do it. DON CALLAWAY: When was this?

DUANE LEVAN: Well, that -- that must have -- well, it was in the '60s. DON CALLAWAY: '60s?

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. The local guys just went and built it up through there. SANNA LEVAN: And we liked to snow machine. Because they have a trail for us. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Otherwise you're going to go down to the bottom.

DON CALLAWAY: They pack -- they pack the trail for you? SANNA LEVAN: Oh, yeah, you can walk up there if you wanted to. DUANE LEVAN: We skied enough that we didn't have to be purist skiers. We go to a nice place that's smooth to ski, hey, I like that.

SANNA LEVAN: We cross country but we picked our way. DUANE LEVAN: If there's a trail, I'll take it.

DON CALLAWAY: How about up on the glacier, did you guys ever -- DUANE LEVAN: No. As far as we ever got was just up at the -- up to the glacier, to the ice field, on that side. In fact, we were up there before there was a trail there.

Up this one side. In fact, I sent my son and another guy, well, those two kids, they run Marathon, they climbed all over the mountains around here, and he was in high school and --

DON CALLAWAY: Are you talking about Mel now? DUANE LEVAN: -- about Exit Glacier. DON CALLAWAY: You're talking about Mel? SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. Okay.

DUANE LEVAN: And speaking about or talking about Exit Glacier to him now, gee, I said, you know, you guys, if you go on the right hand side of the glacier -- at that time the glacier was right over against the nice, smooth rocks there.

I said, don't get on the ice, you know. Stay out of that ice, and if you just get on the top edge of them nice, smooth rocks, I said, boy, you guys can sail right on up to the ice field and take a look at it, you know.

So they took the boat and got across the road up there where they'd get over in there, you know, and they had an awful time with -- staying up in there, but they -- they made it. They got up to the ice field. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. Yeah. We made it a couple times up in the ice field. It's a nice hike. SANNA LEVAN: I wish I could find that picture of Mel where you took a picture of him up just his head sticking out in all fog.

DUANE LEVAN: We got up there and the fog rolled in, like it does on the ice. RACHEL MASON: Where was that taken?

SANNA LEVAN: It was way up on the glacier. DUANE LEVAN: We were up -- SANNA LEVAN: But I can't find it. DUANE LEVAN: Well, just about -- SANNA LEVAN: I looked and looked for it.

DUANE LEVAN: Where they go to I think now on the same area, laying on just a ridge up there.

But we just stayed back away from the glacier and just kept in the stair step areas, you know, climbing -- climbing up higher, because we climbed all the time around here anyway.

SANNA LEVAN: And then it got so good, wasn't that the day or another day, we had been up there more than two times, but we -- you thought, jeepers, we could have skied this.

DUANE LEVAN: Oh, well, up on top up there. In them -- SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. DUANE LEVAN: Some of them old things, there was enough snow in the summertime, still in there, a heavy snow year, there was a lot of snow in there where the trail is now.

That glacier, though, I don't know just how far, but it's went back a long ways. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. DUANE LEVAN: I mean, just in our time.

RACHEL MASON: Well, I saw the signs that said where it used to be. DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, that's interesting, those signs. RACHEL MASON: Yeah. DUANE LEVAN: They are very interesting. Yeah.

DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. It's a most indicative of climate change, glaciers all over the world are retreating. SANNA LEVAN: Oh, yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Well, just like when the Forest Service put that nice building up at Portage Lake. SANNA LEVAN: And that stuff is gone. DON CALLAWAY: That was crazy, yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: Well, it was just a year or two and the lake just -- the glacier quit. I mean, it disappeared, it went around the corner of the mountain. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah, you had to get in a boat to go see it.

DUANE LEVAN: Oh, that was too bad because it was a pretty thing, there are nice, big windows, you know, look at the thing. DON CALLAWAY: I was there when it opened. DUANE LEVAN: Is that right? Okay. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: I remember because it was a big deal. We drove in, of course, just to see, you know. And it was, it was really nice.

DON CALLAWAY: You go back several years, I'd bring my mom up there or something, all you'd see is some deep blue ice cubes floating. I'd get my scope out and you could see the face of the glacier right back there.

DUANE LEVAN: But that's how things can change, for sure.

DON CALLAWAY: Yeah. How about when the -- when was the road opened from here to Anchorage? When was that? SANNA LEVAN: '50. DUANE LEVAN: No...'52 and '53. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum.

DUANE LEVAN: '52 you could drive, I think it was sometime during '52 we could drive to Anchorage. DON CALLAWAY: What kind of impact did that have on the community and your life?

SANNA LEVAN: It really changed things a lot, don't you think?

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, quite a bit. Yeah. Mostly, yeah, right. It wasn't too long, it changed things, yeah. Because then they started trucking some stuff out of here, too, besides the railroad hauling, you know.

And of course, you could get out before that, the only way to get a vehicle if you had a vehicle here to say you wanted to take and go and take it out anywhere, there was a local guy at Hope that had a small barge, and he could haul a couple automobiles at a time.

And he'd barge people over to Anchorage. So you could do that, or you could, down at the dock here, we had a loading ramp, you could load an automobile on the flatcars and ship it to Anchorage.

DON CALLAWAY: But you could get to Hope before the '50s? DUANE LEVAN: Oh, yes. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

DUANE LEVAN: No, no, Hope -- Hope Road was -- goes way back. I don't know if there was -- there was one section, well, Sanna would remember, from mile 18 to where?

The -- or what, it would be Ptarmigan Creek, along through there, that there was no road for a number of years. And they put that in in '38 or '39, something like that, I think they said. But before that --

SANNA LEVAN: Called -- was that called the Missing Link or was it the -- DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, Missing Link. SANNA LEVAN: The Missing Link.

DUANE LEVAN: And as far as we could get the other way, of course, was at that time called Hintons, it's right at the Forest Service boundary on the other side of Cooper Landing, well, at Russian River. SANNA LEVAN: Everybody --

DUANE LEVAN: Russian River right there. That was the end of the road that way. Until '47. Yeah, '47, '48, built the road to Kenai.

And that was just a Cat road, too, then. Took the Cat, went through there and just shoved stuff aside and they never -- the old road, they never cleaned up at all, they just made a trench. DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: Some of the things that we did in Seward that I remember growing up, well, being married to Duane, I always liked to ice skate.

And we never had a decent place here to skate, we'd skate on lakes and stuff like that. And he took over, and for I don't know how many years, fixed a skating rink for the kids.

And cleaned off First Lake or Second Lake? DUANE LEVAN: Well, built the rink here in town, too.

SANNA LEVAN: And he built it here. And boy, it was wonderful, because two different places he had it, first by the old school, and that was so neat because he could use their boiler water and he fixed the thing where he could -- DUANE LEVAN: The high school.

SANNA LEVAN: After he cleaned the snow off and then he could just put that water through that hose and drag it across, and you had your state highway equipment?

DUANE LEVAN: Well they, working for the state -- SANNA LEVAN: They let him use it. DUANE LEVAN: The foreman let me -- at nighttime I could take a loader home to work on grooming it, sweep it, you know.

SANNA LEVAN: And yeah, within 20 minutes he'd say, okay, you can skate. Oh, I mean, we had more fun skating when Duane was taking care of that. And then when he retired, he got the city to let you use their equipment.

DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, I went down and talked to the city, they let me use their equipment and I took care of it. SANNA LEVAN: And he made another one down where those ball parks are now. And he kept it open. But --

DUANE LEVAN: Fire department helped me on that one, to bring me water. DON CALLAWAY: Bring you water. DUANE LEVAN: Uh hum.

SANNA LEVAN: But when he retired, there's been nobody -- that, because you've got to work at it. We have -- the temperature here is so better, you're better off with an indoor rink like the -- or indoor/outdoor rink like Kodiak has.

Because it'll rain and then you can't skate unless you want to skate in water. Which we did. DUANE LEVAN: Temperature's too flexible here for -- DON CALLAWAY: Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: But we sure got in a lot of skating. Yeah.

DON CALLAWAY: And did your children and -- Susan and Mel, is that your children? SANNA LEVAN: Sue Ann. DON CALLAWAY: Sue Ann. SANNA LEVAN: Sue. Uh hum. Sue Ann. They graduated and went to UAF in Fairbanks. DON CALLAWAY: Uh hum. DUANE LEVAN: Both of them.

SANNA LEVAN: And both of them got a scholarship to go to further education. Mel graduated from Stanford, and he has a Doctorate in Chemistry. And then he had a double major in -- and that in -- DUANE LEVAN: Mathematics. SANNA LEVAN: Mathematics at U of A. DUANE LEVAN: U of F. KAREN BREWSTER: UAF.

SANNA LEVAN: UAF. And Sue went to Washington State, I think it was. DUANE LEVAN: And got a masters degree. SANNA LEVAN: And she stopped at a masters. And then she taught in Fairbanks for, I don't know, 15 years.

DUANE LEVAN: Something like that, yeah. Taught high school in Fairbanks. SANNA LEVAN: And then she moved to California, and she taught in -- at San Luis Obispo at Cuesta -- DUANE LEVAN: Cal Polytech.

SANNA LEVAN: Oh, California Polytech. Yeah. And then at Cuesta. And so when she retired, she always said she was going to come back to Seward, which she did. So she lives here and she's very active and she's on the Borough Assembly and she's -- DON CALLAWAY: Wow.

SANNA LEVAN: -- she's quite a pianist, so she -- at her church, she plays for the church and then for choirs and stuff. And she's been back here about three years now. DUANE LEVAN: Just going on three.

SANNA LEVAN: And she just loves it. She bought a lot way back with that in mind, while she was still there, she had her house built. Came back and moved in, lock, stock, and barrel.

RACHEL MASON: Well, that's nice for you, too, to -- SANNA LEVAN: Oh, yeah. So we're all in Alaska now. Mel and his family in Kodiak, and Sue and us here. So....

DON CALLAWAY: And the grandkids, where are the grandkids?

SANNA LEVAN: Bixs (Bixler), that's Sue's boy, lives in Anchorage, and his girlfriend, they both work up there, have good jobs. She's an engineer and he has something to do with GPS. I don't understand it.

DUANE LEVAN: It's a degree in -- SANNA LEVAN: Something. DUANE LEVAN: I don't know, geographies and things like that. It's something that I don't understand. It's a different degree. SANNA LEVAN: But they -- they -- they got --

DUANE LEVAN: He just got a masters degree in that, yeah. SANNA LEVAN: -- jobs right away. DUANE LEVAN: He got a job.

SANNA LEVAN: And he went to the University of Hawaii and stopped at a masters, too, I think. Because he wanted to work. And she -- they just put in their applications and they were accepted.

They -- they're in the right field to get jobs. It was the way it was. So they are living in Anchorage and we're living here and Mel and his family live in Kodiak. DUANE LEVAN: Kodiak. Two boys over there.

SANNA LEVAN: And his wife is also a teacher.

DON CALLAWAY: So Mel's got a doctorate and he teaches at the -- at the college over there? DUANE LEVAN: No, the high school. SANNA LEVAN: The high school. He wanted to come back to Alaska.

DUANE LEVAN: He wanted to come back bad enough that he was willing to give up a high tech job, him and his wife both.

They were -- he was an analyst for the Navy, and then he was on the staff of a admiral's staff, and the admiral wanted to go on a sightseeing trip to Hawaii, or you know, wherever.

Well, they had to go. I mean, he traveled all over around the world, but being married, it was not -- not a good life. He was gone all the time. SANNA LEVAN: And she was with --

DUANE LEVAN: So he just quit it and got his teaching degree. SANNA LEVAN: Was she with the Air Force? DUANE LEVAN: Yeah, she was with the -- SANNA LEVAN: Top dog, top something.

DUANE LEVAN: The Navy Top Guns, she flew with them. DON CALLAWAY: Oh, yeah. She did? DUANE LEVAN: Yeah. She rode that plane that they got that AWACS, or the plane with the radar thing.

DON CALLAWAY: Oh, yeah, yeah. Sure. Sure. DUANE LEVAN: That's where she was. In that plane. She was all over the world in that thing.

SANNA LEVAN: And so they went to -- they had to go back to school to get their teaching certificate to teach high school. They could have taught in any university. DON CALLAWAY: Right. Right. Yeah.

SANNA LEVAN: And so they went back to school and they are teaching, whatever they call it, practice was in the inner city of San Diego. DON CALLAWAY: Whoa. DUANE LEVAN: So they really got an education there. SANNA LEVAN: Yeah. So --

DON CALLAWAY: They must love to teach, though. DUANE LEVAN: Just to teach, yeah. SANNA LEVAN: Then they learned to teach. And then they applied for jobs thinking they would get on the -- on the Peninsula, that's where Mel wanted to come, but didn't make it.

And didn't know what they were going to do. Alice went to a --