Pioneer Potluck: The big move to Alaska

Pioneer Potluck: The big move to Alaska

Mexican chicken stew, Italian chicken, Spoon puddin’ with apples

  • By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg
  • Tuesday, February 5, 2019 9:01pm
  • LifeFood

Getting ready for the Big Move to Alaska and the things I sold that I miss today! I was going to write about all the snow we have and the hassle of us getting in and out of our yard. But I know everyone else is in the same position and does not want to hear anymore snow stories. I know I do not!! I would rather think about other things, so here is a story about long ago!

July 9, 1967 Fort Collins Colorado — 52 years ago.

I told my Dad and Mom I was moving to Alaska and that I was selling everything that I could not take with me — something no one else in my immediate family had never done. They were upset but did not try and talk me out of my decision.

I sorted out clothing that was warm; I sorted out the things I could not take — which was a big decision on my part — as it took a long time for me to accumulate certain items that I cherished.

I had a round oak table with the lion claw feet and four chairs with the original leather seats that I saved and saved and finally bought. And then I bought the buffet with the beveled mirror to go with it. I polished it every week end and kept it in perfect condition. It was so hard to part with it!!

I had set of dishes that had the wheat pattern on them with a gold rim that I got out of either the Duz soup box or the oatmeal box. I had the whole set as my relatives and friends gave me what they had. I gave that to my sister in law Joyce. She also wanted my Hope Chest. I was glad it went to a good home. I had received it for a graduation present from Mom and Dad.

The old green couch and chair that Mom gave us and served us well, I offered it back to Mom. She thought I was nuts! She told me to sell that OLD thing. I sold it with the covers I had ordered from Penny’s. They were the orange and red big flowers with green and white background, ones that I thought were so pretty! No one shared my adoration!! The white draperies went with them.

The bunk beds and the rest of the bedroom furniture I had no trouble selling. I kept all the heavy blankets and one set of sheets for each bed. My car, I cannot remember but I think it was four-door green Dodge, I sold for $100 — just what I bought it for. Slowly, I was accumulating enough money to buy plane tickets to Alaska. I worked at the hospital until three days before we left.

Mom helped me find three trunks to ship to Kenai with our clothing and bedding and some old school books I could not part with. I did not pack any cooking utensils — a big big mistake. Then after getting them locked and properly addressed to General Delivery, Kenai, Alaska, Mom and I and the kids went to Pierce, Colorado, where my Uncle Les was the Post Master. He weighed them, told me not to worry; he would see that they would be shipped. I paid him the postage. I also had made arrangements to store in his and Aunt Marion’s attic the little rocking chair that Mom had given me — I think that Mom had as a child. I also had the rocking chair that Grandma and Grandpa gave m, to store. Also, all of Jack’s fly-tying equipment and his fishing pole.

We said our goodbyes and headed to Mom and Dad’s house to stay the night, as the next day we were headed to Alaska. It would be my very first trip on an airplane and also my first trip out of the state of Colorado — besides visits to Wyoming to Jacks folks in Rawlins, Wyoming, and a visit when I was 13 to Kansas to stay with my Aunt Laura and Uncle Fenton and their eight boys. Now THAT was a trip I will never forget!! (Another story!)

That evening I went over to clean up the little pink log house and leave it like I had rented it — spic and span! My sister-in-law Joyce helped me. She was a great cleaner. I said goodbye to the best landlords and my neighbors, whom I had grown fond of.

I had packed three suit cases. One with the kids’ clothes. One with winter clothes, boots, hats and gloves that Mom had bought. One was my clothes and a few odd things. On top of each suitcase before we closed them was a blanket and a pillow for each of us. I also tucked into my purse a $100 — all I had when I paid all the bills and bought the airplane ticket.

Mom fixed fried chicken and smashed potatoes with her good gravy for supper. Chocolate cake for dessert. Kids had the baths, clothes laid out for the big trip — Mom had bought a wool suit for David and warm coats for them all so we would be warm getting off the airplane in Alaska!

The sisters and brother came the next morning and gave the kids big sacks of candy for the long trip. I told them all goodbye and please come and see me!! Then told Mom goodbye and that is when Dad gave me his speech.

With tears welling up in his eyes and spilling out over his big cheeks, he said, “I do not know why you are going to Alaska — it’s the land of iceberg, Eskimos and igloos — I probably will never see you and kids ever again!”

Not knowing what to say, I gave him a big hug. The kids hugged him and grandma one more time and we climbed into brother Jim’s brand-new Pontiac GTO for my first trip to the Denver airport and my first time on an airplane.



In a mixing bowl:

1 cup each sugar, flour

1/4 cup butter

1 beaten egg

2 1/2 cups chopped tart apples

Stir together and put in buttered or oiled cast iron skillet. Put lid on, and place on wood stove top and put a larger pan over top — I use a lasagna pan. Bake 2 hours. Spoon into bowls and pour milk over and sprinkle with sugar and a shake of cinnamon. This is good with other fruits — especially Alaskan blueberries… enjoy!

P.S. Bake in oven for one hour with lid on if you do not have your woodstove going!


In a 6-quart glass pot or a stainless pot:

Brown in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Stir in:

1 teaspoon each cinnamon, chili powder, cumin


1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 can chicken broth

1 cup celery

1 cup zucchini, optional

1 cup frozen corn

1 tablespoon jalapenos chopped

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Place four chicken breasts cut in fours into the broth mixture. Place lid on pot and put on woodstove for 3 or 4 hours. (Or in the oven for 1 hour). Serve in individual bowls with shredded cheese and minced onion for garnish.


In a skillet:

Place 1 pound of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

Cover with:

1 jar or can of meatless spaghetti sauce of your choice

1 can sliced mushrooms

1 onion cut in chunks

1 cup of water, more or less

Let simmer on woodstove for 3 to 4 hours or in the oven covered for 1 hour. Serve with hot Rotelle pasta or spaghetti noodles.

• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg, Pioneer Potluck

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