Local Reads: Bucket-list book

Memoir chronicles adventures of late Asotin woman

A bucket-list item has been crossed off, posthumously, for longtime educator Pat Martin.

“Airstrips, Mukluks and Honey Buckets” made its way into print, thanks to her daughter, Jill Schaefer, of Clarkston. The book features Martin’s journal entries and adventures while living and teaching in southwest Alaska.

“I just wanted to depict Mom and her personality,” Schaefer said. “To me, it has a little bit of everything in it — humor, tragedy and interesting stories. If you knew Pat, you can hear her voice.”

Martin, who taught school in remote Alaskan villages, shares her memories of being homesick for Asotin, learning about a different culture and becoming a “sourdough,” a term used to desc

ribe Alaskans who make it through their first winter.

In the mid-1980s and ’90s, Martin left the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley and continued her career in two native towns, Nunapitchuk and Kongigankak, and also coached the boys’ basketball teams. She talks about traveling across the tundra with the boys on snow machines to get to games, riding on helicopters in inclement weather and school being canceled when temperatures reached 70 degrees below zero.

Martin also describes a school shooting in Bethel, where she was teaching in 1997, that claimed the life of the principal and a student. The pungent odor of “gun powder and school” do not belong in the same sentence, Martin said.

After 15 years in Alaska, Martin returned to Asotin and frequently worked on her “manuscript.”

“It’s kind of cool to get it out there and cross this item off her bucket list,” Schaefer said. “Mom always wanted to publish a book.”

She tried to get the final draft ready for the publisher before Martin died in 2021 of COVID-19-related causes, but Schaefer had to put the project on the back burner as she cared for her stepfather, Ben Martin, in his final months.

The small book contains a few misspellings and grammatical errors, and Schaefer is the first to admit editing is not her first calling.

“It’s not a professionally edited book, that’s for sure.” she said with a laugh. “But I think Mom would be happy to know it finally got published, and it’s a good read.”

The book is available at And Books, Too in Clarkston for $15, or those interested can email Schaefer at jillschaefer1104@gmail.com.

Sandaine, who covers Asotin County for the Lewiston Tribune, can be reached at kerris@lmtribune.com.