I'm peering out of our 7th floor window here at the Baranof Hotel, gazing at the majestic Mt. Juneau on this grey, cloudy, rainy, cold summer day. Wispy clouds gently float down the valley between Mts. Juneau and Roberts. Bethany is practicing for tomorrow's Empty Chair Dedication ceremony. She will be performing a violin solo, "Furusato", a Japanese song which talks about one's hometown It's a beautiful, wistful, slightly haunting melody; a perfect selection, offering both a little bit of hope and remembrance.
All thirty-three of us met downstairs in the lobby this morning at 8 to go on a Auntie Alice and Auntie Mary's living history walking tour. We walked up the steep hill to Gastineau Avenue where they showed us the area where an avalanche came down many years ago. We saw the empty shell of a building where the Tanaka children used to play, and the house of a young friend, right up the hill from the Baranof Hotel.
The highlight, in my opinion, was seeing the Tanaka Family's old house, literally built on the side of a mountain. We saw the perfect sledding / skiing driveway, the area where the garden once was, and the steep stairway which led to the house. Rich and I got to take our picture just outside the front door on 334 Carroll Way. The house has basically no foundation - it looks like it's just built on a few 4 x 4's, but it's still standing after all of these years. It must be so healing for Rich - to see the views that his father saw, to walk the same steps that his father must have walked a million times.