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To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

Back in Golovin after a successful fall squirrel
trapping camp, we were back in the routine: me unpacking and shelving
canned goods, accepting sticky coins from kids buying candy and pop,
sweeping sand from the floors, delivering phone messages, fetching flour
and sugar from the old house, pumping gas into jerry jugs and working
on a needlepoint pillow behind the counter. The simple chores that did
not challenge my potential were enough for me at that time. The novelty
of living in my ancestral arctic village also numbed me to the mild
loneliness I felt; a loneliness that would become acute in the dark
winter months to come.

One day, while attending to a small group of kids on their daily
candy, pop and bubble gum run, one of the boys told me in a low muffled
tone while pointing to the girl next to him, “She makes love.” The girl
he was pointing to was a mere 10 years old. “What?” I asked hoping he
meant the innocence of k-i-s-s-i-n-g like the nursery rhyme. He
repeated, “She makes love.” The girl looked at me without expression.
She made no attempt to deny it. “With the older boys,” the boy added as
if to make sure I knew what he was saying. I looked to the girl again
and realized she was, with her silence, admitting to it, not only
admitting it, but seemed to be a willing partner if not the instigator.
10 years old and buying bubble gum with scrounged pocket change she
couldn’t add up. My delusional thoughts that I might be something of a
mentor to the kids in the village–visiting with them, joking with them,
teaching them from behind the counter–suddenly came to an abrupt end. I
was the naive one. As a college graduate with honors, I may not have
been living to my career potential, but I was certainly getting a
continuing education in village life on the arctic tundra.

It’s been 30 years since I sat behind the counter in Golovin. I
wonder what has become of that little girl and the other kids who have
their own kids buying candy from the store.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights reserved

Golovin

Picture taken from "Welcome to Golovin" home page

Falll tundra, picture taken by the author

Fall tundra, picture taken by the author

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