by Angie Long
Maurice’s grandparents, the Longs, were born in Oklahoma and his mother’s parents, the Merrits, were from Iowa, but moved to Arkansas and then to Oklahoma. Maurice was born in Mena, Arkansas, in 1916. He later moved with the family to Sterling, Oklahoma. There were four sets of twins in a family of ten boys and three girls.
My grandparents were from North Carolina. James Albert Houpe, my mother’s father, fought in the Civil War and was wounded in the battle of “Seven Pines.” My mother, Jessie, was the youngest of five children. She went to Mitchell College in Statesville, North Carolina. My father, Wade Lippard’s family were farmers. He had a brother and a sister.
My mother and dad married in 1909. I was born October 19, 1919, with two older brothers and two sisters. Since my dad was a farmer, my mother’s two brothers in Oklahoma wanted us to move there as farming was much easier on level land compared to North Carolina. In 1919, we boarded the train for Oklahoma. It took several days to get there. I had three younger brothers, with all of us being about two years apart. We farmed 160 acres, raised cotton and feed corn, had a small orchard, a big garden and horses, cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys. It was always fun to see the baby calves, ponies, piglets and chicks, but it was hard work.
We went through the Depression and dust bowl days but had a happy family life and lots of good neighbors. After high school, I worked at Grahams Variety Store, then went to Southwestern State Teachers College in Weatherford, Oklahoma and took some correspondence courses. In the meantime, Maurice had gone to CCC Camp after high school, then moved to California and worked for Lockheed. We corresponded for several years and I taught school at Brinkman, Oklahoma two years. We were married June 17, 1945, in Mangum, Oklahoma, and left on the train the next day for California. We lived in Van Nuys and attended the Rose Parade several times and were in Hollywood when the war ended. What a celebration!!
Maurice and I had been happily married for four and a half years and he worked for Lockheed Aircraft. He came home one day and said, “How would you like to move to Juneau, Alaska?” Laughingly I said, “Just give me time to get packed.” He wasn’t kidding!
He had met Boyd Field earlier, from Pepperdine College, and wrote to him about work in Alaska. Boyd said, “You’ll never get rich but can’t think of a place you could help out more.” So in May of 1949, we went back to Oklahoma and Texas to visit family and friends, then took the train to Centralia, Washington, to visit his twin sister and on to Seattle for my first plane ride. We boarded Pan American, stopping for a short time on Annette Island and on to Juneau. It was raining with water running down the mountainsides, everything pretty and green. We took a cab to the Juneau Hotel and called Boyd. They insisted on us coming to their home-at the time they rented the house by the Russian Orthodox Church. They were leaving shortly for a month’s vacation so we could take care of their place while they were away.
Things were a little different from California-cooking on an oil stove and drying clothes on wooden racks when it rained. When we went to buy groceries, they said, “Is this cash or charge?” They also delivered groceries at no charge. People were so friendly. We thought we would stay a year, but after that we were true Alaskans.
Maurice went to work for sawmills, one in Lemon Creek, one past South Franklin and then on to Montana Creek. He had never seen a sawmill before and it was quite different from being an experimental mechanic at Lockheed but he loved being outdoors, working, hunting and fishing with his friend, Stan Hamlin.
Harold Foss owned the Fosbee Apartments; when Cliff and Gladys Robards left we were hired as managers and stayed there nine years. Our sons Craig and Brent, were born there.
Apartments were really scarce and the Fosbee had 32 units; the efficiencies had pull-down Murphy beds. We bought our first television from Madsens. TV then was only on late in the afternoons with lots of kid’s programs and lots of kids from the neighborhood and apartments came to watch. We have slide pictures of them. It was a fun time.
In February 1959, we bought the house on Twelfth Street. What a nice neighborhood!
Maurice helped his brother build several houses, then started to work for A.J. After a few years AEL&P bought the company and he worked for them for nine years. He had a variety of jobs, night shifts and long hours sometimes, but it was a great company to work for. We even spent two weeks at Annex Creek and a few days at Snettisham.
We are fortunate to have Craig and his family here. He works for the school system in maintenance and his wife works in the office at Floyd Dryden. Our other son, Brent, lives in Seattle.
After 40 years in our house and at our age, we decided it was time to downgrade. We moved to Fireweed Place and are as busy as ever it seems, and enjoy living there.
We have been active with the Church of Christ since it was located where the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool is now, and also now at its location on Trinity Drive. We belong to the Pioneers and have both done volunteer work with the schools, Boy Scouts and Visitor’s Association.
Brent, Maurice, Angie, Olivia, Chris, Christi and Craig