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prologue and postscript:

 bits and pieces from our lives and experiences

Between 1968 and 2003, Dottie and I lived and worked in either Southern Arizona (Pima County) or Alaska: fifteen years in Alaska.  We moved between Arizona and Alaska four times: the first at the courtesy of the USAF.  Among other places, we have lived on the edge of the Bering Sea (9 years in Nelson Lagoon/Aleutians East), the edge of Arctic Ocean (Barrow) and just a few feet above the Yukon River (Nulato).   Map our 15 plus years  in Alaska.    We also were in Cold Bay 2 years and False Pass 2 years: they are about 80 miles and 95 miles west of Nelson Lagoon respectively.  Normally you can only reach these Alaskan villages by plane or boat; access to Nulato is not diminished when the Yukon is frozen: you just use a snow-machine or maybe a dog team. 

Both before (1976-1980) and after (1999-2002) teaching in Alaska, we taught in the  Indian Oasis-Baboquivari School District, Tohono O’odham Nation  (the second largest Native American reservation), Sells, Arizona.  We live in Sells exclusively in 1977-1980 and had a work-week apartment there 1999-2002. 

Among other locations and jobs were have had, our stay in Burma (officially Myanmar) was unique.  Dottie had a temporary (1998 fall semester only), full-time, 4th grade teaching position at the

 International School Yangon.   It is an American school associated with the American Embassy.  Her 13 students were from eight different countries.  They were also on the upper end of the academic continuum.  It was a very positive experience.  The school did not pay for my trip to Yangon to accompany her, but it did put us up in a hotel for our entire stay.  For more about our experience (be prepared for a geography lesson, after all we are teachers), read our letter to friends and family in December 1998.

Dottie and I find Alaska’s seaside wilderness vistas spiritually uplifting.  We did hope to sell our home in Wilmington, and, for at least awhile, months or years, live in Alaska again before buying a home in or near North Carolina along the I-95 north-south corridor or the US Hwy 64 east-west corridor (even closer to Lew's brother's homes and second homes.)

I was born 90 days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor: the first 6 years of my life were in Pactolus, a rural community in Pitt County east of Greenville, NC.  I lived in Cary, NC while attending both high school and NC State College.  Dottie, my hometown (Cary) sweetheart and spouse since 1963, and I are retired educators; we taught in both Arizona and Alaska.   President Kennedy was assassinated during my student teaching in Lillington while attending N. C. State, and the events of 9-11-2001 mark my last full year of teaching.  Also between those events I was on active duty in the USAF: serving before, throughout, and after the Viet Nam War.  I never had duty outside the United States.

When Dottie's family (parents, Dottie, and sister Helen) and my family (parents, Lew, Don, and Jan) moved to Cary, North Carolina in the mid-1950s, the Town of Cary had a population of less than 2,500.  Now Cary's population is more than 130,000.  Dottie was one year behind me at Cary High School, but we never dated while attending CHS.  We both attended the same church; she played the piano in my (high school age) Sunday school class.  Our first date was to a then N.C. State College basketball game at Reynolds Coliseum.

With all the moving around I did as a child, at one point, I had lived in Nelson Lagoon, Alaska longer than any other community: nine years.  The building we lived in there had been the school until our arrival; it is still the building that I have lived in the longest.

My parents were educators.  My father was first a science teacher and then a school principal: mostly in northeastern NC communities.  He was the Assistant Superintendent, Wake County Schools before retiring.  My mother taught various elementary grades as she moved around with Dad.  After more schooling at NC State U, she became a school librarian.  She was the first librarian and principal planner for several elementary school libraries as new schools were built in Cary.

Both my fraternal and maternal grandparents lived and worked on their respective family farms in Martin County, NC. They raised their children and tobacco there.  Both homes have been raised.  None of the buildings, I knew them well, remain on my maternal grandparents’ farm.  (My native Pitt County adjoins Martin County.  NC has 100 counties.)  My heritage and interest led to my creating the following websites:

Descendants of my fraternal great-grandfather were active members of the Spring Green Primitive Baptist Church.  Now his descendants, including me, are active among the other preservationist seeking to restore the now vacant Spring Green Primitive Baptist Church. the  Spring Green Preservation Fund, Inc.,

preserving (vacant) historic Spring Green Primitive Baptist Church

which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


My fraternal grandfather was William Grimes II.  His descendants have a reunion in Martin County on the 4th Sunday of June at the Ruritan club building in Everetts, NC.  the Grimes (family) tree connection hosting the Annual Grimes Family Reunion & directory of the living descendants of William Grimes II (1813-1902), family news, online family tree/genealogy and update project (Jamestown colony, 1635 forward), and more



December 09, 2009


  posted by

T. L. Grimes