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“At Home in Nome”

Monty, Kathy, Ed, and Sam picking blueberries

With my boys picking blueberries

When living in Nome, Alaska, in the mid-’90s, I wrote the “At Home in Nome” column for the weekly newspaper, The Nome Nugget.

In May 1994, I had nervously entered the Nugget‘s office on Front Street with three columns I’d written. Editor Nancy McGuire was sitting at her front room desk wearing a large straw hat with a sunflower stuck in the band. She glanced over my essays, looked up at me, and said, “Which one should we run first?” “Shoes” was the first one published.

I had conceived of the “At Home in Nome” as letters to my mother about what ordinary life was like in Nome, kind of like an Erma Bombeck of the Arctic. I later became fascinated with polar exploration and Alaskan history. The Nugget encouraged me to feel free to write about any aspect of Alaskan life that interested me, so I walked to the library every day, read voraciously, and taught myself about our new state. I have not been back to Nome or Alaska since that time, and these essays are my memoir of that time in the north country. I later gathered and revised these columns, adding historical appendices and maps.

You can read my original columns at