Saturday, 22 May 2010

Book ~ "We Keep a Light" (1945) E.M.Richardson

From ~ In 1926, Morrill Richardson purchased all of Bon Portage Island, NS, except for the lighthouse reservation. That same year, he married Evelyn Fox on nearby Stoddart Island, where Evelyn’s maternal grandfather had served as a light keeper. Lightkeeping was soon to be in Morrill’s future too. Upon the recommendation of Evelyn’s brother, Ashford, Morrill applied to be keeper on Bon Portage and received his appointment to that position in 1929.

Morrill and Evelyn, along with their baby daughter Anne, relocated to the island, where the couple would spend the next thirty-five years of their lives. In 1945, Evelyn penned the novel We Keep a Light, which detailed the island life lead by the Richardson family, which had grown to include three children. The book won the Governor-General’s Award for creative non-fiction.

During the period chronicled by Evelyn, the island had no electricity, but what was needed more in her opinion was a means to communicate with the mainland in case of an emergency. Just a year after the book was published, electricity arrived on the island along with a radiotelephone.

Quite an interesting tale!

Evelyn was quite a woman. She helped her husband with the lighthouse, the animals and farming, in addition to making the family's clothing, homeschooling her three children, canning fruits, vegetables and meat, quilting, making pillows, all the while lamenting that she didn't have time to get the housework done 'til the weekend!

It sounds like she loved her life ... I couldn't have done it. The isolation would have driven me crazy.

The writing is formal and decorative ... so different from today's books.


colleen said...

Now with the internet they'd be all plugged in but I doubt there are still lightkeepers today. Netchick says hi.

Pearl said...

some people can manage that even now. others went mad trying I suppose.

sounds like an interesting title. not so fraught with insistence on edgy irony and bon mot a minute.