George Mason: Turns 50 in December, and hopes to celebrate the occasion with a ritual cleansing in the Ganges followed by a day of unrepentant debauchery.
A former teacher turned public relations counselor, he was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate of San Francisco State University, he taught gifted and talented for nearly eight years. During one of those years he took a sabbatical to live in Greece and Turkey where he worked on writing the "Great American" paragraph (unpublished). Soon after returning to the United States he met Salli and thus began a new set of mythic adventures. In 1980 they moved to Alaska to realize his fantasy of living in the "Last Frontier," and to begat the units described below.
George's life has been devoted to writing and adventure. He has climbed mountains and sailed, raised viperous snakes, wrestled wolves, and has never (yet) jumped out of an airplane. He's worked in Alaskan Native villages, specialized working in tourism, and enjoys his work. In fact, his work has resulted in winning the highest awards in his profession. These many awards and the fact that he stands 6' 6" makes him the tallest public relations professional in the state.
In a nutshell, George's favorite literary quote is from Nikos Kazantzakis' autobiography, Report to Greco, "For this was my greatest ambition: to leave nothing for death to take, nothing but a few bones."
Salli was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and attended Arizona State University where she graduated with a degree in Art, and completed all her course work for a Masters Degree in Humanities. Following college, she traveled in Asia and Europe, and settled in San Francisco, where she worked as a graphic artist, carpenter and in retail management. It was there that she met George, who convinced her not only to marry him, but to try out a one-way ticket to Alaska.
In no time, Salli was seeing the wilds of Alaska as a cook and grip with a film company, and it became home. She has now spent 16 years with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources doing everything from minerals management to land settlement projects. She is currently the Chief of Public Information Services for the department, and has won two Aurora Awards from the Public Relations Society of America. She occasionally vents her artistic urges through doll-making, and arranging the family's collections of masks, animal skulls, and other oddments.
Samantha: Evolves to 15 in January, and although her father thinks she is determined to have her birthday cruising the Nile like Cleopatra (with several nubile teenage boys cooling her air with palm frond fans), she has the simple desire to be warm (and sans Super Bowl hype) on her birthday for the first time in her life. Her fondest wish is to spend her day in the luxury of a Rajahstan Palace in India.
Just under six foot tall (two meters), she is a beauty with smarts. Last year as a seventh grader she scored in the top 20 percent of college bound high school juniors and seniors on the SAT tests, a feat that allowed her entrance into the Johns Hopkins National Center for Talented Youth. The highlights of her 8th grade year have been her seminar courses, several hours a day where she and her fellow students have poured through the writings of the core of our civilization.
Apart from study, writing and travel, Samantha's great love has been equestrian sports. Four years ago she won the state's amateur champion jumper award, and her bedroom is ablaze in colored ribbons and trophies.
Cassidy is a bright and gregarious child who has always had a magical knack for becoming instant friends with children all over the world, regardless of the language barriers that too often confound us "wiser" adults.
Her first love is the world of animals and insects, particularly tigers. Like her sister and Romulus and Remus, she too was raised by wolves (mind you, not suckled), and has in turn raised a pigeon, a rabbit, and is now the proud keeper of a garter snake. Her sport of choice is climbing, and she scrambles up the walls of local rock-gyms and mountains like a wild goat.
Cassidy's greatest academic achievement in her brief career of less than one year was to do a research report like the higher grades were required. She picked her topic and using Internet researched and wrote (actually copyright theft, cut and pasted) a large report on scorpions. Because of this report she developed yet another life goal, to catch the world's largest scorpion, the Emperor Scorpion of Nigeria, Africa (it should be noted that Salli's mapping of our intended trip through Africa has an odd detour thousands of miles around this region).
Banshee is a high-percentage (above 90% wolf) wolf-hybrid dog. Named for the howling Banshee spirit of Ireland, she is the most recent in a long line of exotic, non-human members of the Slaughter-Mason household. Her predecessors have included her father, Anubis, a Rhea (South American ostrich), opussum, chinchilla, iguana, and various cats, birds, snakes, and fish.