Sarah Jo: An Anchorage Staple


Some people know her as Sarah Jo. Others just call her SJ. Some see if they can get away with SJ-Money. No matter what you call her though, if you live in Anchorage, you probably know her.

Sarah Jo is like an Anchorage institution. Maybe I just feel that way because I've known SJ since we were both "mighty Lynx of Dimond High" but I don't think that's the reason... If you keep your eyes peeled, remnants of her band stickers litter locations across Southcentral Alaska, and you could probably use her as a connection in any local game of "six degrees of separation".

The only problem with all of this is she's about to leave Alaska. Recently married to a military man, they're on the way to the Lower 48. So when she asked me to take some headshots required by her Engineering Doctorate program, I jumped at the chance. (I'd like to think these photos will one day line a book jacket, or hang in Sarah Jo's office as a life-size portrait while she smokes a pipe and wears a jacket with elbow patches...)

Once we got all of the serious-type shots out of the way, I talked SJ into heading down the street to the Muffin Man cafe. Whenever I pass their colorful "cafe" sign, I find myself making a mental note that I'd love to take photos of someone there. It's such a cool location-- and SJ was a trooper considering we squeezed in this session on her lunch break and I had to run around in traffic a little bit to get the shot.

It's a little bittersweet to think of Anchorage without SJ. (I don't think Anchorage will mind me personifying a bit to say that she will miss Sarah Jo.) But now we have to let her go. Another town needs a genius engineer, a talented musician, and a healthy amount of band stickers plastered to its walls.

We say goodbye to each other on the corner of a downtown street. It's nothing big and grandiose-- just a simple hug and wave. It's not too scary to say goodbye to SJ, because I know when I do see her again, we will pick up right from where we left off. Good luck, SJ!