Gail and Denvy
Almost 50 Years and Counting
Year Nineteen - 1988



A Clinic

     On a trip to Wasilla for routine supplies, Gail and Denvy met the borough mayor in the grocery store. She asked if Gail was planning to attend the meeting that afternoon about the state wanting to improve health care in the valley. After a quick change of plans Gail attended the meeting.
     It had been ten years that Gail had been serving on the ambulance and observed the need for medical care in the Trapper Creek area. Her kitchen served as an exam room. That same winter she decided to record the time she spend on medical issues. During that January she tallied about one hundred hours. This was a documented need and the state acknowledged the need. They identified a possible grant and Gail gathered data, developed support, and wrote a grant which was accepted. Bids for a building were solicited and a practitioner was sought. A year later a clinic was in operation in the RV first and then a new building. A retiring doctor and father of a local lady donated all his supplies to the clinic including the x-ray machine.
     Sunshine Medical Health Center was born. After the building was in full operation, it included a dental exam room for an itinerate dentist, a metal health office and bays for an ambulance and fire truck. In the process of securing a mental health clinician, Gail found herself being hired for that position.

Extreme Weather

     The most consistent feature of extreme weather in Trapper Creek was the length of winter. First killing frost suggested that the garden should be harvested by late August. It was the cool moist long days that allowed gardens to grow from seeds in early June to a lush harvest by late August. This typically was with cool weather vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, potatoes and the like.
     Snow depths and temperatures varied from year to year but there was the year where it seemed like it snowed two feet every day and snow plowing was constant. At one point the snow on the level was up to the basketball hoop which stood at the standard ten feet. With that much snow the only view on the roads were straight forward and back with an occasional break in the walls of snow which was an entrance to driveway. One counted driveways to find your way home.
     One year, during a high school basketball tournament in Tok, interior Alaska, Saxowskys saw temperatures drop to 65 below Fahrenheit. After making some mistakes, they learned not to close the doors on the car or leave it in gear. The battery slept in the motel with the people and the motor was covered with sleeping bags and plugged in for heat. Three vehicles from their high school went to the tournament, only theirs returned intact.

Time for Fun

     There was always time for fun whether it was a Halloween party at the neighbors, a talent show at the school (Denvy doing "I wish I were a rich man"), or hosting a party for the kids.