The Red Van Adventure
Because Denvy worked for the Federal government
(USGS-WRD) in Alaska and was hired in the Lower 48, literally moments
before he crossed the border into Canada, he was granted a paid trip to
the Lower 48 every two years. In '75 Gail and Denvy bought a Ford van
previously owned by a couple of college students who had carpeted the inside
and made some built-in beds. They packed the three kids, aged 15 months,
21 months and 4 years, and some toys and headed south through the Klondike
and down the inside passage on the Alaska ferry.
One evening Gail and Denvy shared a nice
dinner with even a glass of wine. The wine seemed a bit strong as walking
became a challenge. Ah ha, they discovered the one small glass was only
coindental to passing through the one place where the ferry is exposed
to the open ocean.
The drive took them along the coast through
Washington and Oregon into northern California where they explored the
huge trees. When they got tired they turned east and stopped in the Denver,
toured the Black Hills and ended up with their parents in North Dakota.
Denvy's work seem to lean more toward production
and less toward administration and so he suggested to his supervisor that
they hire an assistant for keypunching data and reduce his work load.
This allowed him to work part time and become a part time stay home dad
as Gail moved into a part time mother and nurse.
One day in December Denvy was home with
the kids and went to a meeting that evening after Gail got home. Taanya
was playing with less energy and when Denvy returned home Gail said that
Taanya had a fever and we should have her sleep in our bed to monitor
In the morning, she still had a fever and
so Denvy took her in the shower with him to help her feel fresh after
an all night fever. She never seemed to even wake up, so they rushed her
to the hospital. Denvy went to work just to say that he wasn't coming
in that day. By the time he returned to the hospital Taanya had stopped
breathing and Gail had to resuscitate her. After a day at her side they
went home for some needed rest.
At five the next morning, the hospital called
asking them to come in. The explanation was that the lab tests verified
that they had assumed the correct medication. Also they explained the
possible damage that may have happened to her brain and the prognosis
of her future. Moments later her heart stopped and the decision was to
resuscitate or not.
Taanya went to be with her creator the morning of December 19, 1975. She
was dressed in the dress Gail had made for her celebration of the 200th
anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On Christmas
morning, Denvy unwrapped a gift from Taanya that had been placed there
Today Taanya would be 40 years old, but who's counting.
In Memory of Taanya Rhea Saxowsky
Taanya was born a Tsimshian-Haida Indian
in Ketchikan, Alaska, on August 25, 1973. She came to live with Gail and
Denvy on September 21 of that year. Five months later she relinquished
the status of youngest in the family to a brother born to Gail. They were
much like twins.
As infants they attended church with
their parents including a structured child care lead by Gail and Denvy.
About the time she was two years old, her personality blossomed, as she
would come up from the classroom and greet members of the congregation
exclaiming and explaining her newly created artwork. She had a exuberance
for life and her brothers enjoyed her.
The brothers were four and almost two years
old when their sister died. Despite the lack of language, they dearly
and fully grieved her departure. Today she remains the sister who doesn't
come home for Christmas.
In the summer of 2012, her brothers and parents, and even her nephews and some friends, placed her ashes in three streams in the Yellowstone Park that would lead to the northern Pacific Ocean, the southern Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Mexico. She is free to travel the world.