Who sets the tone?
To the Editor:
My husband Edgar and Jim's parents, Jim and Shirley Agner – want to thank all of you for welcoming “our kids” (Officers Jim and Heidi Franz Agner) into your community and into your lives – and thus giving all of us an experience beyond any luxurious world cruise anywhere.
It all began in 1984 when Chief Dale Stone “initiated” us as only Chief Stone could do. “Doc” Lopez gave my husband Edgar professional shooting lessons – and a lot of fun. John Hamilton took all of us (toddler Jesse and older brother Bart) on a scenic cruise of the Narrows in his elegant boat – and everyone we met was smiling and friendly. Sunday attendance at church was the same warm welcome. In 1994 Jim landed in Petersburg, a very attractive Alaskan city. Far from the land of igloos and Eskimos of school book lore, it looked like my best Midwest city. (I hope I'm not offending anyone) with its up to date hospital and medical facilities – excellent public schools, well-stocked but small public library, large post office and other government buildings. The business district was quite varied in its merchandising and supported a well-funded history museum of its own. I soon learned all of these Petersburg “specials” were possible because of the presence of the loyal fish-canning industries. And Petersburg was founded by Norwegians, thus the coming in of the hard working Sons of Norway lodge.
An incident that happened to my husband Edgar and me at one of your spectacular Fourth of July celebrations several years ago, still leaves me breathless in the telling of it. Our kids had given us the treat of staying at the Scandia House during the Fourth days' activities, so that when the crowds got too thick, we could go up to our room and have an unobstructed, ring side view of all the entertainment going on below. Edgar and I have lived so long we've been able to celebrate “The Fourth” from one end of this great country to the other – but only in Petersburg did we see The Herring Toss, The Tot's Race, the Log-rolling competition, Slo-Bicycle Race and others. We soon wanted to join the swarms of people below – and visit the attractive shops with their alluring merchandise. We edged our way into Diamantes and peeked at all the lovely glitter as best we could. We made a decision about our purchase then exited through the mob to take our precious jewelry to the safety of our Scandia room.
The next day out of the many faces all around us, one very friendly smiling woman kept edging toward Edgar and me and finally, very close, said, “I owe you some money.” Flabbergasted I answered, “You've got to be mistaken! I've never seen you before in my life!”
“Did you make a purchase in the Diamante shop yesterday?”
“Well, yes, but I received the proper change, I'm sure.”
“Well, in going through the day's receipts last night I came across your Travelers' Check – from Great Britain. I had assumed it was an American Travelers Check and treated your change as such. The rate of exchange for travelers' checks between the two countries is quite different. Here's the correct change. I'm very sorry about the mistake.”
I could only sputter and try to come out of my shock. Such honesty – such acute observations – and to pick me out of the hordes of humanity on all sides. To this day I can't figure out how that dear lady remembered my face, and found it in the sea of faces she had viewed every day the whole week.
Whenever I come across an exceptionally appealing community, I always wonder: Who set the tone, the atmosphere, for such a high standard of living and who continues to hold the banner high?
Mrs. Diamante is one and you can all name some others I'm sure. Thank you Petersburg. It was a real treat to be a friend of yours.
And to the Petersburg Pilot: what fun, what pleasure to receive you in our mail almost from the very beginning (Heidi's and Jim's parents both have lived in Jacksonville – and have also enjoyed being a part of your life “up there”). The Pilot is an exceptionally professional publication and has grown in size and content through the years. We love the pictures and the flawless printing. (You, dear Loesch's, must be proof readers or have employed some.) No misspellings, no printing “gaffes” - you deserve the Best Weekly award – and we thank you for adding pleasure to our lives all these years. And thank you to all of Petersburg, Alaska for some of the best vacations we could have had anywhere.
Thank you also for appreciating the talents and dedication of your two excellent (I'm biased) police officers, Jim and Heidi Agner. What an honor to have served in such a top notch law enforcement agency in such a beautiful city.
God bless all of you always.
(Mrs. Edgar A.) Mary M. Franz
To the Editor:
It has happened again in our wonderful community. A Random Act of Art piece was given to the Chamber of Commerce from Polly Lee and Debi McMahon. Polly designed and Debi executed a beautiful stained glass window above the door to the Chamber office at First and Fram. Thank you for the colorful addition to our entrance. Also thanks to Dan McMahon for the installation of the artwork.
Sally and the Board
Petersburg Chamber of Commerce