by Norah Berg and Charles Samuels
Besides the vivid picture of how the author made her life in a small, isolated community on the beach, there are lots of little stories about the various people she knew. Funny as well as sad. Norah and her husband tried very hard to overcome their drinking problem but for many years it caused a rift between herself and the ladies who lived in town (proper houses, not shacks!) I was pleased to read how she helped run the first public library Ocean City had. She eventually lost her position (too many hangovers). Years later she took up letter writing as passtime, writing in to radio stations and winning an astonishing amount of prizes. Eventually her letters got noticed by no less than Time magazine, and the fame that brought her flooded her little home with gifts from other readers- mostly books and magazines (she had written of how important reading material was to her neighbors in their poverty and isolation). Once again Norah opened a library, this time freely lending materials out of her own home. I liked that. I also really liked reading how she discovered gardening, and her wild, unplanned flower gardens attracted notice. The ladies in town finally deemed to befriend her then. Most of all, I appreciate how her story tells that even when they had little in way of possessions, Norah and her husband still loved life and felt themselves rich in many other ways. Her description of the wild beauty of the forests and beaches are wonderful.
While it is a lively story of a very particular time and place, this book is more than just that to me, because I also have family history in the very area she described. This book is a treasure to me even more than The Egg and I in that regard. I've been to the beaches she talks about, driven through those little towns, have relatives in some of the areas she mentions. My father tells me that some of my relatives even know some of the people in this book.
My father so very kindly gave me this book, which I really appreciate as it's hard to find a copy.
Rating: 4/5 251 pages, 1952