Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Davis, Constance Winona

by Constance Davis

Constance was born in 1927, at St. Ann’s Hospital, two blocks from her home. It was a great deal of fun growing up on 6th Street on the hill. In the winter they slid down upper Seward on cardboard or by the seat of their pants. Ice skating was possible in the Evergreen Bowl if the City flooded the tennis courts. Her father told her that he used to skate in the Bowl when it was still a small lake and they’d light bonfires at the edge of the lake. When the inside of the Goldstein Building burned down to the basement, they would skate on the frozen water that accumulated there. On Sundays, many enjoyed skating on Mendenhall and Auke Lakes.

Summers were also very enjoyable for the many children on 6th and 7th Streets. They played team games until the eleven o’clock twilight when parents called them inside. The pool at Evergreen Bowl helped with the rudiments of swimming, although Connie learned more off the beach at Girl Scout Camp.

The piano seat was a busy place by the time Connie came along but she learned her notes and enjoyed a certain level of achievement. She began violin in the seventh grade and joined the school orchestra the following year. The love of singing started at scout camp and with her sisters harmonized at home while doing the dishes. Glee Club and an a cappella group were Connie’s favorite extracurricular activities in high school.

WW II started in her freshman year. During that first winter of war, residents on the hill were assigned a “bomb shelter” in the Evergreen Bowl. It was a cave at the edge of Gold Creek, but did not go far under the ground. Nevertheless, it held a good number of people. They kept a pile of clothes by their beds to jump into, blacked out the windows and men patrolled the streets.

By the time Connie was a junior in high school, she began typing and shorthand classes and held office jobs after school and during the summers. Although her friends were working for the Army and the Signal Corp, she started with Alaska Coastal Airlines and later moved to the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company in the Baranof Hotel. In spite of the fact that everyone was very busy, so were the tennis courts. On nice summer days, sister Shirley and Connie played tennis very early in the morning and at night until they no longer could see the ball!

While in college at the University of Michigan, Connie met a young man from Chile and they were married in Ann Arbor. Their goal was to go to Chile once enough experience was gained to achieve employment with a North American company. That endeavor took 12 years. As they moved around to five different regions of the United States, they had three daughters. Their adventures with North American companies not only included Chile but also Brazil and Argentina. After seven years, Connie left Chile with her daughters and returned to Juneau where she worked for two years with a travel service and then went back to school at the U. of Washington. She received a BA with majors in Sociology and Women’s studies, later earning a Master’s in Adult Education from Alaska Pacific University. They offered an extension service in Juneau with traveling teachers and she worked part time in that field until her retirement.

Connie still resides in “the little house in the big woods” located at Thane, south of Juneau.

Constance Winona Davis