Clora Battles White never dreamed she would ever go to Alaska. She spent 41 years living in Alaska and has driven the 5,000 plus mile trip over 30 times, flown it many more times, and loves the area as much today as she did when she first saw it 50 years ago.
She grew up in the Leachville/Monette area. Like most people in those days, she earned her money by working in the cotton fields during the harvest.
At a young age she got a job working as a telephone operator. She worked in the Manila and Leachville area.
"I think I was only 14 or 15 years old but told them I was 16," she said. "I loved working at the telephone office. I made a lot of good friends."
White was the youngest of six daughters of James and Ina Battles. Their brother, James Houston Battles, is the youngest sibling. Her sisters are Lucille Bell (deceased), Neva Sue Reed, Margaret Battles (deceased), Ida Lee "Jeri" Guthrie and Helen McDaniel.
She left Buffalo Island moving to Alaska in 1957.
"Before I got there the first time, I was beginning to wonder if we would ever make it," she said. "The Alcan Highway was 1500 miles of gravel in those days. It was a trip I will never forget."
White said she fell in love with the area from the very first.
"It is beautiful and the people are friendly," she said.
She lived in the Anchorage area. The Whites have seen the area grow through the years to the large city it is today.
She came home to Monette in 1964 for a couple of years but she was ready to go back.
She and her husband, Jim White, married in 1969 soon after she returned to Alaska. Mr. White had lived in Alaska most of his life. His dad was stationed there in the Air Force and the family decided to make Alaska their home.
Mrs. White had a child care center for several years before going to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975 starting out as a mail clerk. She loved her job and received several awards in her 22 years of service. She retired in 1998.
"When I first went to Alaska one of my sisters was sure I would be back within a month but I loved it," Mrs. White said. "I really enjoyed having my family visit. One of my sisters came up nine summers and worked. My dad had the opportunity to come up one summer and he really enjoyed it. At one time the cost of living was really much higher there than here but there is not so much difference today."
The Whites decided to retire to Monette and built a new house they really love. She said it was hard to leave the children and grandchildren but they can be back in 10 hours. Mr. and Mrs. White plan to fly to Anchorage in May for their grandson's high school graduation. Her daughter and son-in-law bought their house in Alaska so when they visit it is really like going home.
She said she did learn to cook caribou meat and different fish after she went to Alaska.
She doesn't cook as much as she once did but is sharing a few of family's favorite recipes
(Makes a large salad for a crowd)
Saute onions, celery and bell peppers in butter.
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (or artificial sweetener)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Bring to a boil and set aside.
1 can small sweet peas
1 can whole onions
2 cans shoepeg corn
1 can green beans
(Any favorite vegetables can be added)
Mix vegetables. Pour cooled mixture over vegetables. Chill overnight. This is better to make the day before serving.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
In big skillet, mix brown sugar and butter. Heat on low until melted. Place pineapples in mixture. Place cherry in each pineapple.
Mix Pineapple Upside Down cake mix using instructions on the box. I use the pineapple juice and water in the cake mixture. Pour over brown sugar mixture. (One box of cake mix will make a large skillet and a small skillet cake.)
Bake at 350 degrees until done.
(I make 36 halves)
Place boiled egg yolks in bowl and mix well until yolks are creamy.
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice: onion and bell pepper and place in egg mixture.
Add 1 tsp. mustard to the mayonnaise and mix well.
Fill the eggs with mixture and sprinkle top with paprika.
1 pkg. medium cheddar cheese
2 pkgs. Cream cheese
Mix together until softened.
Add 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1 tsp. red pepper.
Crush pecans on wax paper. Roll the cheese ball in pecans until covered. Place in platter and serve with favorite crackers.