Alaska- Abbott Loop (10)

“Hey, that was where I used to work!” The YMCA day care where I was briefly a teacher, then was a cook for more than a year was housed right by the university at the First Congregational Church.

“Where?” Chris said.

“You missed it. I need to get my camera out.”

“Where to now?”

“Um….Let’s go up to Abbott Loop.”

“Where is it?”

I looked at the map. Abbott Loop road, right there on the map. But where on Abbott Loop road? “Let’s go over there and find it.”

We found the way on barely remembered streets across places that were the same and different. It took a few tries until I found it.

There is was:


A big monstrosity. I never saw it that way when I went there. This was the place where the super-polished Anchorage kids went to school.

THAT school had a cheerleading squad.

THAT school had kids that shopped at the big Anchorage mall and wore clothes from Banana Republic and Jay Jacobs and Lamonts.

THAT school had a whole crop of boys that had romantic possibilities.

And I had no romantic possibilities with my clothes from the hand-me-down closet at my church in Wasilla.

But it was the ugliest church I’d ever seen.


But it was also where I spent my senior year in high school. “Bible School” it was called, and since I had very few credits left to complete to graduate


since my mother wouldn’t let me graduate ealier (17 was the limit)


since I was dying to get out of the house and be around people for once

I spent my mornings there learning in what I have since come to call my non-denominational seminary Lite. It was fun. At least the mornings were fun. The rest of the day I had to spend bumming around town (with no money) waiting to go home at the end of the day when my dad ended his workday at Elmendorf. The Loussac library was a popular spot, but really, it made for a long 4 and a  half hours.

Here is where the Bible School was held:


This sort of church curb-appeal was from an early phase in this mega-church’s history, back when they were still attempting for traditional ‘churchiness’. The add-ons and making room for the nets groaning with the catch for these fishers of men caused them to completely abandon their (perhaps faint) desires for external beauty.

_I_ always thought of the church as it’s interior, which to me epitomized glamour. THey had a grand piano! And pews! HUNDREDS of them.

Really, what more could anyone want?

I had some ideas of what the ideal church might look like. And now Abbott Loop revealed it’s lack of glamour.

“Where to now?”