Monday, August 6, 2007

Mind the Light Katie

Title: Mind the Light Katie
Authors: Mary Louise Clifford and J Candace Clifford
Published by Cypress Communications, 2006.
ISBN: 0-96364-12-7-1.

Katie Walker is a pioneer in her own way. I know you are saying "who is she? I have never heard of her. Katie Walker was thrown into the role of lighthouse keeper out of necessity. Her son Jacob had to row Katie's husband John to Staten Island for medical treatment from their lighthouse at Robins Reef Lightstation, New York City. John's last words "mind the light, Katie" are the the title of a fascinating book about lighthouses, their importane and some of the women who became official lighthouse keepers, not a very feminine position and not a high paying job either.

"Women Who Kept the Lights: An Illustrated History of Female Lighthouse Keepers" is a very popular book for grownups to read. "Mind the Light Katie" offers a smaller version and easy to read account of 33 women who held this non-traditional position. Many of these women fought incredible odds to gain official recognition as a keeper of the light. Sometime the daughters of lighthouse keepers would find their husband by assisting men in keeping the lights burning bright. They may at times have married sons of lighthouse keepers or the men who were old enough to be their own fathers.

I think girls ages 12 and up would love to read about women who fought for equality and success in doing "man's work." I have always liked seeing different lighthouses and like learning about the "olden days." I don't think I could have been like any of these women, since they must have gotten terrible lonely working by themselves 365 days a year. Anything men can do, women can do better or at least as well in lighthouse keeping!