What I Wish You Knew

Dear Visitor,

Welcome to Whittier!  I hope you have a lovely visit here in our little town.  Yes, I do live here.  Yes, year round.  Sure you can ask me a few questions!

What do you do here?
I don't mean to sound snarky, but we do the same kinds of things you do in your town!  We do life!  We go to work, make dinner, do the dishes, bathe the kids, do the laundry and watch TV.  We have our friends over for dinner, play board games, ice skate, sled, take our kids to the park, and ride bikes.  We think we're extra-lucky because we also get to have fresh seafood for dinner regularly, we can go to the beach every day, eagles and bears are our neighbors and we look forward to watching the salmon return each fall.  Oh yeah.  And the glaciers are pretty awesome, too!

Do you like it here?
Yes!  We love it here!  Yes, it has its ups and downs (I bet your town does too!) but at the end of the day we truly love this place.  Its breathtaking beauty, its extreme weather, its people...we love it all.  We choose to be here.  This is pretty personal, but we took a pay cut to come here.  We've gained so many things that cannot be measured monetarily!  We have an amazing family life.  We get to see each other every morning, and most noons and nights.  Our weekends are our adventure times, our quiet times, our comfortable times, and we cherish them. 

You know, some pretty amazing people live here.  I know you don't hear much about them in the news, but we do.  Some of the biggest hearts I have ever met live right here in 99693.  Whittier residents have their faults like anyone else, but when you need help they are right there to help you.  Every time.

Is it hard to live here?
I know you're trying to ask about all those crazy things you hear about Whittier.  Yes.  Living here is hard sometimes.  When the small town politics heat up and people are trying to pit you against your neighbors, living here is hard.  In the wintertime when 200 people all have cabin fever at the same time in the same building living here is very hard.  

But living here is really easy, too.  It's so easy to take my kids to school across the street, easy to hop in the elevator to get my mail, easy to swing by city hall on my way outside, and so very easy to pop over to a friend's house to borrow something, share something, have dinner, or just say hello.  While you are shoveling your roof and your driveway next winter you can think of me.  The only snow removal I am responsible for is the snow on and behind my car.  I am grateful for that every time it dumps, my friend!

Do you have a school here?
Yes!  And it's a pretty amazing school, too!  I'm a teacher (though I don't teach right now) and I can tell you I love our school system with my whole heart.  The teachers in my school and school district have the biggest hearts of anyone I know.  Teaching is never a job that ends at the end of the school day, but in a tiny community like ours it is even less so.  Our teachers open the doors of their homes to kids any time, day or night.  They are a living breathing homework help line, and for many of the kids here, our teachers are like family.  We see our teachers living their daily lives as parents and community members.  There's something very powerful about that!

I hope that answered some of your questions, and thank you for asking!  Each day when we step out of our apartment we try to represent Whittier well.  We like to think of ourselves as ambassadors of the community we know and love...which probably isn't the Whittier you have heard about.  We know our community isn't perfect, but we hope that when you go home you'll remember those nice folks you met in Whittier, Alaska.  We hope you have a great rest of your trip!

The Korbe Family


  1. Dear Korbes,
    I left Whittier in 1960 when I was 13 years old.Whittier never left me for all the reasons you wrote about. One only needs to climb Portage Pass on a clear sunny day and when you crest over the top and view "the cathedral" made of ice-water-rock and foilage-you'll carry that for a lifetime.

    Enjoy your blog very much--thanks for taking the time to write--

    Dick Conley

  2. Indeed you will! Thank you, Dick!


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