A friend of mine, Anne Helen Petersen, shared “Interview with My Mom, the Scientist” on the Hairpin today. In addition to being a thoughtful conversation between two generations of super smart women, there is an interesting bit of the interview where Annie’s mom talks about how she acquainted herself with Lewiston, ID on her first visit when she and her husband were contemplating moving there with their two small children, and what she wishes she would have done instead.
“When we visited, it was customary to take the “wife” on a tour. I asked to see the public library. This was a first for them. They were clearly uncomfortable, as they should have been, since the library was in an old hardware store and the collection was extremely limited. If I was doing it again, I would ask to see the library and an art gallery and to eat at an Indian restaurant. I would ask for the school board minutes and take an unescorted drive around the junior highs and high school. The quality of these things tells you a lot about a place.”
I’ve always heard that the health of public libraries is a good measurement of a community’s investment in itself, but I love the in-depth investigation! So, for Anchorage, how do you think we would rank?
My thoughts are:
Library: Average – despite being underfunded, our librarians doing an amazing job of making sure our libraries are rich with opportunities for involvement and information!
Art gallery: I think we have some great art galleries… but wouldn’t say no to more! And our museum is fantastic. I’m also seeing more and more interesting collaborations, like the upcoming Light Brigade performance.
Indian restaurant: I haven’t found one here that I like… the best Indian food I’ve ever had came from a childhood friend’s kitchen. Potato pancakes, yummm.
School board minutes: Hmmmm…. embarrassed to say I don’t know!
Drive around junior highs and high schools: We have some pretty nice schools, and some others that need work. I like United Way’s 90% by 2020 campaign.
What do you think? How would Anchorage measure up? What would the “quality of these things” say about our city?
If you’re interested in reading more of Annie’s work (she is a “Doctor of Celebrity Gossip”) she also writes a blog, Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style and her Scandals of Classic Hollywood are loved by many. So many, in fact, that she has a Scandals book coming out soon!