From New Jersey to Alaska

Wendy Demers tells this story about moving from New Jersey to teach in the remote village of Wales, Alaska.


I remember it vividly. It was August 2nd, 2000, and I was on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on in my life…

So we buzzed over the village. He said, “Well, we’re just gonna let everybody know we’re arriving because the airport in Wales, Alaska, is just an airstrip.” That’s it. There’s no buildings, just an airstrip.

And so we buzzed the village, and we came in for a landing, and I noticed as we were coming in that there was a broken plane on the right side of the runway – and there was a broken plane on the left side of the runway…

So I had been in town for about an hour, I had met a handful of locals… and I had a freezer that was half filled with halibut, musk ox, walrus meat and I had the hind end of Rudolph in my sink.

Due to COVID-related issues, access to American Voices is currently free for teachers and students! I do ask that you register, though, and send feedback – your thoughts will help me decide how to move forward with this project.

Student Access Pass


Teaching Access Pass