Monday, July 30, 2007
This article was printed in the Juneau (Alaska) Empire, in the Spring of 1966. Now it’s time to tell the REST of the story (as Paul Harvey would say).
I was a junior in high school, and was invited to a slumber party at Connie M.’s house. Her house was located two or three miles out the road* in Juneau. Connie’s mom, who was a widow, was currently dating a police officer. (What was his name? I'll call him Don.) She and Don were going to go to the late movie, and she told us she'd be home around midnight. She set out some pizza, soft drinks, and brownies, then, very firmly, gave us the standard instructions - no one was to leave the house; no one else was to come into the house. Then she was off.
At first we settled in for the evening, listening to the local radio station, KINY, which always took requests and played the latest hits. Juneau was small enough that we all knew anyone who called in to make a request. In fact, that was often the way "going steady" announcements were made. After awhile we became a little bored, and talked about calling in some requests, ourselves. Then someone had a bright idea. “Let’s call the station and report that we see a UFO over the channel!” Sounded like fun.
I think it was Connie who made that first call, reporting the strange light was hovering over Fritz Cove. What a disappointment! The deejay didn’t even mention it on the air! Better call in a second sighting. And so we did - reporting the second sighting to be farther out the road. Still no air time! Undaunted, we took turns, moving the aliens farther and farther out the road, until our fifth and final call, which was made by Claudia, our German exchange student. Maybe it was her heavy accent, or maybe five was just the magic number, but whatever the reason, the deejay finally mentioned the strange sighting on the air, and asked anyone seeing anything unusual to call in. We were giddy with delight, and were busy contemplating what our next move should be when, to our surprise, Connie’s mom arrived home - much earlier than expected. “Oh, there’s some UFO scare going on,” she said, disgustedly, “and they called Don to go on duty and check it out. We didn’t even get to see the end of the movie!”
Connie’s eyes flashed our way with a “DO NOT say anything” warning. Our fun had ended. Or so we thought. The radio was still on, and what happened next was more fun than our own shenanigans! Several other people called in, reporting strange lights. When the article appeared, the next day, in the newspaper, we, the co-conspirators, made a quick pact to keep it among ourselves. We were all fascinated to read that 12 calls had come in to the station, when only five of them had been ours. And we knew, clearly, why the sightings stopped when a trooper (poor Don) was dispatched.
*About the phrase "out the road" as used in Juneau.
From Juneaualaska.com (http://juneaualaska.com/visit/stories/lingo.shtml): “The Road: There are lots of roads, but The Road is the long one that runs north and south. Called Egan Drive between downtown and the valley; north of there it's called either the Veterans Memorial Highway or Glacier Highway. Nobody is sure which, so we call it The Road. Past Auke Bay, people call it Out The Road, as in ‘The sun shines more Out The Road.’ It dead-ends halfway to Skagway about 40 miles north of downtown.”