Wooden Wheel Cove. July 26-27, 2011
03 August 2011 | posted at Metlakatla
Photo: "Backdoor Bill" as shown in Glaciers, Bears and Totems.
"That's not a fisherman," said Ward Eldridge, resident of Wooden Wheel Cove as he looked through a copy of Glaciers, Bears and Totems. He was referring to a photo labeled "A fisherman waits for an opening on the dock at Wooden Wheel Cove."
"Who is he then?" I asked. "He's dressed like a fisherman and he's sitting on the dock with the other fishermen."
"That's 'Backdoor Bill'", Ward answered. "I hear he's a fair mechanic but mostly he does what he's doing in the picture, kibbutzing with the fishermen. He's called Backdoor Bill because the first time he met one of the women here he went up to her backdoor and was real polite. He asked for a cup of sugar or something like that."
Alaskan fishermen used to be famous for their nicknames that described something about them like "Wooden Wheel Johnson" who carved a propeller out of wood. I had thought the practice was over but apparently, at least in Wooden Wheel Cove, this little bit of color still remains.