It all began ... fall of 1978 ... here ...
Yep ... Mr. DillyDally and I are Cobbers! We are alumni of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
As the year progressed, Mr. DillyDally joined my circle of friends ... we all had a ton of fun together ... he and I became very close friends. Only friends ... neither of us wanted anything else. As seniors, we soon realized that our idealistic life at Concordia was coming to a close ... that meant it was time to get serious about "real life".
Karen, one of my close friends and I decided that instead of looking for teaching positions in Minnesota, we would look even further north and pursue jobs in Alaska! Before long, six of our friends decided to join us, one of them being Mr. DillyDally!
On July 4, 1979 we arrived in Alaska! Eight of us seeking adventure, three of us seeking work. Mr. DillyDally had an interview and was immediately hired to work in Kodiak, Alaska.
I was able to secure a teaching position in Haines, Alaska.
Two kids ... from the midwest ... landed in coastal communities ... 4,000 miles from home ... 700 air miles from one another ... beginning their careers ... talk about adventure! We set up weekly phone calls and our friendship helped us both cope with the many changes and challenges we were experiencing.
During that winter we were invited to participate in an arctic expedition that following summer. Accepting the invitation meant we would have to quit our jobs in order to train ... I was under contract and couldn't break it ... Mr. DillyDally was not and left his job to prepare ... he became a member of the first American team to ski across the Greenland Icecap! I was able to go and participate as a member of the base camp support team. I found this map on Google Images and it marks the approximate route.
So ... this is where we spent the summer of 1980. Mr. DillyDally began his trek on the east coast of Greenland near Ammassalik ... this is what entering the cap looks like...
...this is what it is like as you approach the west coast...
... obviously the risks were very high ... remember, this is 1980 ... they didn't have the technology that is available today...
... this is what the end of the ice cap looks like on the west coast ... look closely to see where the ice field meets the sky. They were actually on the ice just over 30 days.
During the first part of the trek, the base camp remained in the village of Ammassalik. After our tasks each day we would mingle with the Danish and Greenlandic people as well as hike and explore the area. During the second half of the summer we were located on the west coast ... we stayed at an American/Danish Military Airforce Base located on Sondre Stromfjord ... remember this was during the cold war ... we were not allowed to take photos. This base was an important part of our early warning defense system ... spending time there was an education in and of itself ... I have always appreciated our military ... but that summer gave it entirely new meaning.
Anyway ... back to the love story. Mr. DillyDally came off the ice a different person ... I could feel it immediately. We had been prepared to deal with the psychological changes that can occur in people who go through isolation and life threatening situations ... so I just let things be and tried to understand the changes in him.
It was during the long layover in Iceland that we bought the sweaters and yarn mentioned in the earlier post. There was a lot of media attention when we returned to the states ... I returned to Alaska to begin the new school year ... he remained in the lower 48. He called occasionally ... one day in the fall he called to tell me he was coming to Haines. After a couple of weeks, I finally asked him how long he was staying ... he said he would stay as long as it took. "As long as what takes?", I asked. His response, "I just think we should get to know one another better." Well ... the rest is history.
Yep ... love blossomed and grew! Right before Christmas I received a letter from his mother welcoming me to the family ... that was a shock! Sooo... the family joke is that Nana is the one that proposed to me! She forgot to wait and find out if he had popped the question yet! We still laugh about it!
Thirty years ago today, Mr. DillyDally made it official ... he got down on his knees and proposed! This was our engagement photo ... taken by a friend ... in Haines ... wearing our Icelandic sweaters.
Our odd Scandinavian sense of humor is what we often credit our mostly harmonious marriage to ... when we find ourselves in a rough patch, I always threaten to drop him off in the middle of the Greenland Icecap! ;-) Hey ... it worked once!