You know those email jokes that go around saying things like:
“How Old is Grandpa?“
And Grandpa replies, “I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots,
frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees, and the pill. There were no credit cards, laser beams, or ball-point pens.
Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, or clothes dryers, and man hadn’t yet walked on the moon, etc. . . .”
Now let’s switch to an isolated lighthouse in the 1970s, 1980s, etc. . . . and a different question:
Don’t you get bored?
I was asked this question many times while working on the lighthouse, or speaking to people about the lighthouse, and I would guess that many other lighthouse keepers have been asked the same question.
I did not have the time to get bored.
Maybe I can clarify the answer with an example like the joke above.
We lived without television or radio – I had a tape recorder to listen to music
We had no doctors, hospitals, drugstores, or emergency ambulances – first aid, common sense, and no flying doctor like in Australia
No schools – we ALL learned by correspondence courses – I took my electrical certification by correspondence
No shopping centers, hardware stores, book stores, or electronic stores – everything stockpiled or had to be ordered.
We had no grocery stores, bakeries, meat markets, farmer’s markets or 7-11s – we ordered a month in advance and if it did not arrive, or we used it up, we went without.
We had no barbers, cosmeticians, solariums, or beauty shops – natural sun, long hair, and no makeup – occasional haircut attempts, usually long before holidays hoping it grew back.
There were no restaurants, fast food places, snack bars or roadside stands – everything was homemade, home grown (we had rabbits, chickens and a big garden), home caught, home fished, and home shot.
There were no communications except mail – no telephone, cell phones, no email, no internet – everything was done by post.
We had no cars, motorbikes, gas stations, repair shops – sometimes we had a boat; sometimes no motor – I even used a canoe to go fishing. At times we fished from the shore.
I reloaded cartridges for my guns for hunting, made fishing rods and lures for fishing. I made my own dive weights and cannon balls for fishing.
Everything we did had to be planned months in advance and supplies ordered months in advance. It was not a “let’s do this now” type of life.
We spent a lot of time repairing things – more like jury-rigging, to use a sailing term. We could not keep enough spare parts for everything. If something broke, we repaired it, or did without until a replacement item, or replacement part came by ship or helicopter.
We were carpenters, teachers, mechanics, gardeners, boatmen, crane operators, radio operators, weather men, first-aiders, parents, and . . .
Then there was all the station work – I will go into that in another page.
And the answer is?
No, we were never bored.
While searching for information on this article I came across the photo on the left which makes one think of the kids too. Were they bored? I know my two were not.
Where is this place you ask? The Chive has the answer.
“This enchanting house is located on an island called Elliðaey near Vestmannaeyjar, a small archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The house was given to singer, Bjork from her motherland as a “Thank You” for putting Iceland on the international map . . .”