A Good Life

Posted: June 15, 2019 in What Pegman Saw
Tags: , , ,

cape disappointment

February 9, 1883

Dearest Mother,
     Although you warned me against wedding James Anderson, suggesting the hardships of a light keeper’s wife not worthy of our family, I find I quite enjoy living 250-feet above the high water mark of ocean waves.
    Yes, howling winds and the clang of the fog bell (imagine 1600 pounds of metal striking nine consecutive times every minute after fog rolls in) drive me mad, but, the songs of sea birds and the trill of thrushes counter-balance all discomfort.
     Between the times I cook, do the washing, take care of our darling Marie, all of 4 months now, I find solace in cleaning the Fresnel lenses knowing, wishing, hoping that if those 1,000 glass prisms are clean enough to direct lamplight to the central reflector, many sailors will survive the tumultuous waters churned up by the meeting of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.
     I believe I  chose well.


  1. Lynn Love says:

    Lovely, well written letter, Lish. Love Henrietta’s descriptions, her talk of the sea and the birds, the sense of the place, the life she’s made with her husband. She sounds like a satisfied woman. Really enjoyed the voice too. Cracking stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pennygadd51 says:

    Henrietta’s description of her life sounds satisfied. She acknowledges the hardships, but focuses on the compensations. I love the way you referred to keeping the Fresnel lenses clean – details like that add so much to the verisimilitude of a story, don’t you think?
    With very best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I do agree. I was fascinated with Fresnel lens when Donn and I visited lighthouses while road tripping along the coast from our home in Bellingham, WA to California. I plan to make another trip with visiting lighthouses as the focal point. I had no idea they were so fascinating. Thanks, Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • k rawson says:

      I love the voice in this and Henrietta leaps off the page. Perhaps on your lighthouse tour you should keep the idea of a larger work in the back of your mind. There’s so much to love in this.

      Lately, I have been thinking a lot about purpose and passion, and how they relate to one’s satisfaction in life. And here you’ve nailed the whole story in under 150 words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great voice in this piece. I thought about that too. I recall the tour guides mentioning that lighthouse keeping was usually a bachelor’s job. I could see why.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joy Pixley says:

    I love the sense of place in this story, how I can so clearly picture her life there and how much she enjoys it. I can see why a lighthouse keeper would want to have his or her family there too; it would be awfully lonely otherwise. Also, what a lovely image you found — between that picturesque beauty and Henrietta’s description of her life, it almost makes me want to go live in a lighthouse myself!

    Liked by 1 person

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