Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Sunday, March 27, 2005

North Pole

Invariably, when people hear the town name "North Pole, Alaska" they think you're joking. Nope. There actually is a North Pole. Here is the post office there. I doubt that this zip code will be the scene of a Fox TV show - too many parkas up here. Anyhow, North Pole, Alaska is not really at the North Pole, and is still about 170 miles south of the Arctic Circle. That didn't stop the town founders in 1953 from coming to the conclusion that if they named a town "North Pole" that toy manufacturing companies would flock to Alaska so that the toys could be stamped "Made at the North Pole." If there had been actual elves to exploit with wages of like a dollar a day, this might have worked. As it is, there are no real elves here that I've seen.

North Pole is, however, a touristy sort of place. There is a Santa Claus House, and a local restaurant called The Elf's Den. Many of the streetlights are painted like candy canes, and they keep the Christmas lights up 365 days a year. This is like a bug zapper for tourists, I mean, how can they resist?

The Boy loves roads, and road names. When he and I were driving down the main drag in North Pole, he asked what the name of the road was - and he loved the answer: Santa Claus Lane. We did the big triangle yesterday: North Pole, Fairbanks, Home. Our usual visits to the Home Despot (got the wrong size fridge lightbulb, not that it mattered, the right size didn't work either - no matter how many lightbulbs you change, it won't fix the fridge) and Safeway (somehow we got out of there without the bag that contained the meat for the week - they were very nice about it and we got our meat).

The Safeway is the anchor of the Bentley Mall. The Bentley Mall is about the same size as the Safeway, but you can go to Waldenbooks or that Empty Store That Used To Have Eddie Bauer. As you can see, it is the "FARTHEST NORTH MALL IN AMERICA." I imagine it was built in the 1950's to counter the dangerous far north mall gap that had sprung up with the Soviets.


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