While professional model and author Lisa Augustine was growing up on the Kenai Peninsula, she was Arlene Rhineganz, daughter of Joyce Rhineganz, Kenai's Postmaster from 1948 to 1961.
Lisa's father was a gold miner in Hope, and while that might sound like a romantic childhood with images of wilderness and gold nuggets to play with Augustine's book tells another story, "We honestly almost starved to death there for awhile and would have if my dad hadn't of been such a good hunter. He got our moose every year, sometimes in season, but not always," confessed Augustine.
Both of her parents have passed on now and that's why she wrote the book, says Lisa, "Mom nagged me even as a child to please write these stories down before we forgot them. So while she was still living we compiled our life stories and I have included them in the book. It was primarily for my children and grandchildren, but people who read the manuscript said, Oh you need to make a book of it, so with the help of my friend Jackie Pells who also grew up here in Kenai we put the book together and we are very proud of it," said Augustine, who recently toured the Peninsula and Alaska promoting her book.
There are almost 100 photos of local people and places in the book that depicts life as it was a half century ago on the Kenai Peninsula. A dragline was a large piece of machinery used by gold miners to scoop the gravel up and dump it into a slues box where the gold hopefully would be separated from the gravel. Augustine's father almost lost his life in an accident with a dragline and it was during his rehabilitation that Lisa was conceived, "It was very serious. My parents hadn't had any children for many years, so it was a bit of a miracle that I was conceived while my father was recuperating. Then when my parents brought me home from the hospital in Seward and introduced me to his miner friends as Arlene Maxine Rhineganz, the miners said, "Oh no! She's the dragline kid!" So, that's where the title of my book comes from," said Augustine. "The Dragline Kid," is available at local bookstores.
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