Author Naomi Gaede-Penner shows I.D.E.A. Fair coordinator Debbie Mackie the work book designed for her Prescription for Adventure book.
In the mid 1950’s Dr. Elmer Gaede and his wife Ruby moved their family from Kansas to half of a homestead out Gaswell Rd. on the Kenai Peninsula that became known as the Gaede Eighty. Dr. Gaede was one of the first physicians to bring regular health care to the Peninsula. Their first born daughter Naomi Gaede-Penner has now chronicled the life of the Gaede family in a series of non-fiction books entitled Prescription for Adventure. These intergenerational books told from the perspectives of various family members tell of their experiences and realities of growing up in the Central Peninsula. Naomi returned last week to promote her second in the series of five books at the I.D.E.A. Curriculum Fair. “My dad’s stories of his bush pilot adventures always interested me as a kid, so when I grew up I started writing one or two of them for Alaska Flying magazine and after awhile I had an accumulation of stories so I thought why not put them together into a book. It was a far greater project than I ever anticipated but now we have a local history of our family and a lot of entertaining stories about life here,” said Gaede-Penner in an interview with the Dispatch.
Her first book centered around the life of her father and the second in series that was recently released tells about life from her mother Ruby’s perspective, “The first book is all hunting, flying, and medicine that my dad experienced from his perspective and the new book answers the question what was Ruby Gaede thinking back at the home and what was going on with the kids on the homestead,” said Gaede-Penner. Recently Naomi’s sister Ruth created a student study guide that meets Alaskan history standards that accompany the series. The books and study guides are now being marketed through home school curriculum fairs as well as through the internet. “That’s the way I learned a lot of history by reading a biography and story of an individual such as Clara Barton or Luis Pasture and learning the history around that person. That’s what we hope will happen with Prescription for Adventure, students will read about a real life person and learn the Alaskan history that surrounds that person right here locally where you can still reach out and touch that history with a drive out Gaswell Rd.”
Naomi plans to return to the Gaede Eighty this summer and re-build the cabin built by the legendary Johnny Parks on the homestead, “That cabin was built in 1961 and burned a few years ago and I want to return to the homestead and restore it,” she said. Prescription for Adventure books are available at Safeway stores, River City Books and Fred Meyers in Soldotna or on line at www.prescriptionforadventure.com.
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