Ubiquitous volunteer injects energy into Watson Lake

Leatha Anderson is everywhere. We see her at the playgroup in the elementary school where she is a pre school assistant, at the Toylending Library…

Leatha Anderson is everywhere.

We see her at the playgroup in the elementary school where she is a pre school assistant, at the Toylending Library where she is the co-ordinator, and at many events around town where she is a volunteer.

We sat down at her desk in the back of the library, surrounded by toys, for the following interview.

Leatha’s somewhat eccentric sense of humour made this encounter a lot of fun, and the giant bag of wine gums we devoured added to the pleasure of the meeting.

Born in Cassiar, BC, and raised in Watson Lake, with just one year spent outside the territory (in Sundre, Alberta), Leatha is a true child of this community.

Q: How did you come to the jobs you have?

A: I was a full-time mom until six and a half years ago when I began working here at the library. Five years ago I started at the elementary school.

The two jobs have a lot in common and I love them both.

Q: What do you like best about living in Watson Lake?

A: Familiarity, knowing everyone. Where else can you dial a wrong number and talk for 10 minutes?

Q: What do you like the least?

A: The “old boys” club is very entrenched here and it makes change difficult and sometimes impossible.

Q: Will you retire here?

A: That will depend on what my daughters do; if they leave, I would probably leave, though not necessarily to the same place as them.

Q: Does Watson Lake have an image problem?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you think the rest of the territory sees Watson Lake?

A: A place not to be. In Whitehorse, when I say I am from here, people get a funny look on their faces. I think we get too much bad press; no good news about Watson Lake gets printed.

Q: How do global concerns affect you and your community?

A: The increased and increasing cost of fuel makes heating a home through a northern winter too expensive.

Q: What would you like to see happen in Watson Lake?

A: Some fresh and fearless energy to create change.

Q: How do you think you are seen by your community?

A: Just another body.

Q: By your friends?

A: I think my friends would say I am a good friend; reliable.

Q: What is your best quality?

A: I am dependable.

Q: What is your worst?

A: I have a hard time saying no.

Q: What natural gift would you like to possess?

A: I would love to be able to play the piano.

Q: What is your present state of mind?

A: Restless.

Q: What quality do you most admire in a woman?

A: Strength

Q: In a man?

A: Genuineness and warmth.

Q: What makes you angry?

A: Lying.

Q: What do you do with your anger?

A: Vent to trusted friends, two in particular.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: My kids.

My dogs.

My greenhouse.

Q: What do you do for fun, for pleasure?

A: I take perfectly good pieces of material and cut them into tiny pieces and sew them all back together; it’s called quilting.

Q: Where are you spiritually?

A: I am content with what I’ve found, outside of organized religion.

Q: What fears do you have?

A: I worry about my daughters’ health and safety, and I want them to be able to be happy.

Q: What do you think most people do NOT know about you?

A: I have a shrine to Dale Earnhardt Jr. — I am a NASCAR junkie.

I get stressed if I miss a race.

Also, I have a massive stamp collection.

Tor Forsberg is a freelance writer living in Watson Lake.

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