"From Row your Boat to Honk Your Horn to Boot your PC" , these gals continue to have productive ideas!
When we were young, back further than some of you will remember [and just the other day to some!] we did not have a lot of opportunities to earn money. We lived on a homestead - only accessible by boat or small plane.
Linda and I, at 7 and 10, started the entrepreneurial push with.........vegetables!
As a family, we all participated in the raising of vegetables to stock the family root cellar and pantry. As I was able, the salad garden [lettuce, radishes etc] became my project with the help of my younger sister. Local gillnetters [salmon fisherman] would come by to visit and bring a salmon now and then to exchange for the fresh vegetables that were so rare.
Now I had my own little rowboat, the P-Nut. Getting permission to go for a row was rather like a child now getting permission to drive the car; you needed a good excuse! Soon we were selecting and preparing bunches of radishes, green onions, crisp lettuce, washing it in our ice cold glacier fed creek and heading out in the P-Nut to sell our wares. We would row out to a nearby fishing boat and make our sales. It has been a long time ago, but I think we charged an entire nickel for a bunch! One of our best customers was Frenchy on the Red Robin.
[Denise practicing rowing with Linda on the seat beside her...it was MANY years later when the girls began the boat to boat sales.]
When I began high school, we moved from the homestead on Glacier Point to another home nearer the town of Haines.
It wasn't like the area [SE Alaska] was over run with baby sitting jobs, newspaper delivery etc. Most people did their own, other siblings or relatives supplied the necessary labor.
However, we had two things going for us; we were raised on a homestead and knew the value of recycling, making do, substitution AND we were pack rats. Our parents taught us to think and develop our own ideas. [Oh yes, great parents were another 'two things' we had on our side.]
So there we were, 4 sisters spread over 9 years, with the eldest in high school.
What could we do? What kind of business could we run? There was a growing collection of rock samples, a lot of interesting pieces of driftwood, some old fish net and the ancient Tlingit dugout we had retrieved while beach combing.
With our parent's help and encouragement, we built a square structure from recycled reclaimed boards and driftwood, right on the edge of the road passing our cabin. We grandly named this the "Driftwood Shack", but a young friend dubbed it the "Honk your Horn" because that was what one sign told folks to do so we would run across the road and wait on customers.
The local tour bus which met the cruise ships, stopped one day and asked if we would be a regular visit on their run. Passengers had expressed an interest in our unique structure! As the seniors poured over our collection, we realized we needed more. Small items in particular were a success because they would fit in a suitcase. Another thought was the folks who did not get off the cruise ships for the tours.
We chose particularly attractive small pieces of driftwood, matched sets of animal teeth for earring and pendant sets, and designed our own postcards. Sister Linda, dark hair in braids, put on her fur look parka and met the cruise ships with our tray of enticing Alaskan gifts. She was soon a favorite with the ship's crews as well.
About this same time, we moved further out the peninsula, and the Driftwood Shack had to move as well. Rather than attempt to move some of the heavier timbers, our Dad helped us construct a new shop - A frames were quite the thing in those days and the winter snow would slide off.
Although difficult to see in this picture, there was a front counter beneath the overhang, and a hinged shutter. On the back side, a real door! One reason for the improvements was the distance from our log cabin in the woods. We could close up our stock at night or take shelter in inclement weather. This structure was also on the main road next to a handy pullout. The tour bus continued to stop on a weekly basis and other folks would come by to see the latest in our collection.
Continued beach combing trips were a must to find that special piece or replenish stock. If a potential buyer said a piece of wood looked like a sea lion, bear, whatever, we always agreed! A prized item were the glass fishing floats - our Dad had a knack for finding them in certain coves.
This was our summer job for four years,
keeping us occupied for days on end. It will live in our memories forever, and is part of who we are today.
We are now much older with many life experiences along the way. Between the four of us, we have learned a multitude of skills, run several businesses, worked in several others, raised children, enjoy grandchildren, have full time jobs in addition to our business together - and continue to have hare-brained ideas! Now and then we say "boy if we had had computers when we were young." Of course we did not even have electricity for many years! Some of our best ideas come when we are brainstorming with at least one other sister...and now we can do that online, via email or in our own chat room. We can share ideas quickly, take pictures and pass them around, help each other out....the list is endless.
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