In the Homer library is a book, self published by Elizabeth
Richardson Childs entitled TEACHERS IN THE ALASKAN WILDERNESS,
Margaret and Marion Richardson 1924-1954. Published in
Corvallis, Oregon 1976. The following are excerpts from that
"At last the Homer Heights school was finished, and Margaret
wrote on January 6, 1940, "Well, here I be, at last, up in the
frozen interior, which is to be known as 'Homer Heights.' All
about me are gently rolling hills, studded with patches of
forest, and the whole wrapped in powdered sugar. There is a snow
storm on right this minute, to give the school more of an
Alaskan stage setting than ever, and there are about twenty
people from the hill community and the beach holding a ski meet
up here today. The new school makes a warm general meeting place
for such things."
Then Margaret sketched some of the details of her new life at
Homer Heights. "Today," she wrote, "one of the skiers brought me
a fine moose tenderloin, and another skier had given me the
heart from his moose."
"We have had a week of school by now. There are ten little
pupils, one so tiny that I can't believe she is more than three
years old. All come on skis down these precipitous slopes,
across miles of wild country. No bear are out now, and the moose
have done their mating, so Nature's dangers are at low ebb,
aside from the terrific weather. It is quite a site [sic] to see
the children arrive. Skiing is as graceful as skating. The front
yard of the school is stuck full of skis and ski poles, like a
garden of huge needles."
Margaret was faced with reality. "I'm having to learn to ski,
myself, willy-nilly, or I can't even get out to the snow-covered
pile of coal which was left about 280 feet from my door.
In 1942 she had this to write.
"Outside snow is falling softly, but oh so steadily," she wrote
on March 24, 1942. "It is 8:15, and I am waiting for my duck
eggs to simmer, so I can eat and be off to school. I've just
brought my skis in to give them an extra coat of grease, as
new-fallen snow has a tendency to pack under the ski. The snow
is four feet deep by the house here. i am skiing over the tops
of willows, alders, small canons.[sic] I don't mind a soft
windless fall of snow, like today's, even if all of the
landscape is hidden in the grayness. The homesteads with phones
have called this morning to see if 'teacher is going to make it
to school.' I am, so the children must be on their ways by now.
I leave at 8:30."
Brant Edens, one of the boys in the picture says the following
about skiing at the school.
"Recess often lasted for more than 30 minutes, since there were
no fences and hard to define boundaries. Many a lecture occurred
over our trifle extension of the rules. The gullies and ridges
made excellent ski trails. Quick for getting away from school,
but pleasingly slow coming back."
"Dad made our first skis out of spruce lumber. He steamed the
tips and held them in a clamp over night. We used belting for
binders. Those skis were our transportation for the next 4