Final Update on StoryCorps Unalaska!

Our "homemade" sign by the lovely Kristine.
Our "homemade" sign by the lovely Kristine.

Well, the Alaska Initiative of StoryCorps has officially ended.  Our equipment is boxed up, ready for shipment, and we are finishing up the paperwork that needs to accompany the last recordings.  A little snafu with the mailing – apparently for the way we want to mail the boxes, we should have used paper tape instead of reinforced tape.  Well…I am sure Kristine will get to the bottom of this!

We recorded 119 stories in Unalaska and Akutan.  That was 14 more than our official quota of 105.  When Kristine and I were first training, we thought that 105 was a number that we would surpass in a matter of weeks!  How wrong we were.  I have to give credit to my partner – the best – Kristine King – for her tenacity in enticing folks into the recording seats – week after week and month after month. 

The one and only!
The one and only!

We want to give a big thank you to KUCB, our partner in crime, who agreed to accept local recordings for editing and broadcast.  We thank the director and staff of the Unalaska City Library, for agreeing to be a local repository for the recordings, and for allowing us to use the Alaskana Room, on occasion, for recordings.  We are thankful for all of the help from April Pelkey and Darryl Pelkey in setting up our recordings in Akutan.  A huge THANK YOU to the groups who allowed us access and use of the AA room at the Burma Road Chapel.  Without your generousity of the use of the site, our goals would have been much harder to obtain.  We appreciate each and every minute that we spent there.  (Can you believe that on the last night of recording, we ran behind schedule, and actually were still there recording when our time ran out?  And we had such a perfect record!)  The use of the room was also a surprise icebreaker, as folks peeked their heads in the door, expecting an impromtu intervention.  Thanks for the laughs and the thought provoking decor.


We thank our families for allowing us the freedom to take on this important project.  Especially, kids, grandkids, and husbands.  We thank our families, also, for those guilt and pity recordings that helped get us off to a great start!!  We thank Dave Isay and all of the staff at StoryCorps for hiring and working with us…yes we know we were a little unorthodox, but we can blame that on me and my bad influence on Kristine!  We met some incredible people through this project.  A huge shout out and thanks to the Unalaska blogging community for taking on the StoryCorps challenge early on in the project!

Last, and certainly not least, we thank each storyteller and their partner for braving the unknown and facing those obnoxious, intimidating microphones!  Thanks also for allowing Kristine and I the opportunity to get to know you a little better.  The tag line for StoryCorps is that listening is an act of love, and I have to say that our bonds to this community are even stronger (as if they weren’t strong before) for having been given your gifts of stories.

Kristine King, the strongarm, and Sharon Svarny-Livingston, the databaser.

Waiting to exhale…

So…we had the first cruise ship of the season.  Naturally, it had to be a big one.  Having not done a cathedral tour since last September, a couple of days ago I got the chance to do a dry run.  I thought it would be a good idea to get the rust out – you know – remember all those dates and saints and Russian names.  So I agreed to do a little tour for a Headstart field trip.

Good Lord!  I never realized how many icons I don’t know.  The kiddos wanted to know “Who’s that?” for every icon they could see.  Thank God some of them were too far up for them to notice, or I would still be there.  It was wild, sweet mayhem, let me tell you.

We had 3 buses today, with about 50 passengers per bus – give or take a few.  Wait, let’s make that give a few.  There were loads of people.  My volunteers didn’t make it by the first bus, so I was ever so thankful that Cyri Petrova and her mother, Rufina, willingly lent a hand.  By the time the 2nd bus rolled around, my wonderful (at times, yes, I admit it) husband rolled in.  Caleb is a pretty good enforcer.  It is pretty important to us that people do not wander around the church by themselves, so, in the absence of my mother, the absolute enforcer, Caleb was great!

I always forget how exhausted I get doing tours.  I finally realized why I get that way, several years ago.  Let me tell you a secret.  It is damn hard being PERKY for 3 to 4 hours!  Oh, and I had to move all the huge planks that were used during Easter, plus the long back benches before the buses got there. 

All these red planks were piled in the St. Innocent chapel.
All these red planks were piled in the St. Innocent chapel.

So that got me a bit tired.  But it is that PERKINESS that does me in, for sure.

CB showed up with some folks who were doing video work.  I put a real downer on their plans when I had to let them know that since I didn’t have permission from the Bishop to film in the church, alas, no cameras.  They were very gracious.  And we had a good time talking before the 3rd bus showed up.  Great seeing you on this side, CB.

I am awaiting my new couch.  It was supposed to be delivered to Ashley Furniture in Anchorage on Thursday.  They will deliver it to ACE.  It didn’t come in today, and I don’t know yet if there is a plane tomorrow.  How disappointing.  If you knew that I have been without a couch since August, you would be disappointed for me, too! 

StoryCorps has less than a week of recording time left in the Alaska Initiative.  Kristine and I facilitated number 109 this evening with lovely storyteller Jane Bye, and interviewer Anne Hillman. 

Don’t forget to attend the Coffee House this Saturday at 7PM in the Burma Road Chapel.  Should be lots of fun.  I missed the board training provided by the City of Unalaska for non-profits due to my work and volunteer schedule.  Hopefully they will provide a training video.

Have a great weekend everyone!

We’re Home!

Just a quick update. Kristine and I went to the community potluck last night and enjoyed the company and the wide variety of food.  I think we ate a little too much.  It was wonderful.  Vera Pelkey’s fish pie was delicious.  April made some great corn muffins (we got to swipe a few for our breakfast this morning) and a beautiful angel food cake with salmonberry glaze.  Plus, many other dishes.  Our offering was salmon spread with crackers, and tangerines and apples.  Needless to say, our tummies and taste buds were quite satisfied.

We got a call a 8:30 this morning from Demetri Tcheripanoff, Sr. that Penair was planning to have a plane over before 10.  We hauled our luggage down to the boardwalk, Demetri picked it up with the four wheeler.  I must say, Kristine must have a really lop-sided idea about flying in the Goose.  Both the trip over and the trip back were on flawless days.  The water was glassy smooth again!  We landed in Dutch Harbor (yes, the water) and had Kristine home by 10:30 to see Maxman, Joe, and Mamma for Easter.

Great trip.  Wonderful people in Akutan.  Good to be home.  So far my hubbie is happy!