Schooling on the Sisters Lighthouse c. 1927

This story is not only about schooling! This is the whole family helping out to run the lighthouse while tending to daily living. Life on the lighthouse in the early days was anything but fun! – retlkpr

*************************

– Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929)

Sisters Island

Children get their schooling by correspondence courses and lessons are supposed to be sent to Victoria every month if its possible. The parents have to be the teacher. I took on that job for we had to have a plan so all of us could get a certain amount of sleep.

We would work it like this: Bert would go to bed right after supper after he lit the light. I would call him about 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. and he would get up and watch from then ’till the light could be put out at daylight. Continue reading

The Lightkeepers by Graham Chandler

Originally published in the January/February 2007 issue of Legion Magazine

We hadn’t expected gourmet Hungarian goulash served up on Royal Doulton china. But at the Cape Scott light station on the remote northwestern tip of Vancouver Island–a place that is normally engulfed in wet grey and storms–today is an exception. The sky is azure, there’s not a puff of wind, and Principal Keeper Harvey Humchitt and his partner Assistant Keeper Todd Maliszewski have house guests.

After sweating through 24 kilometres of squishy rain forest trails we’re no match for the fine linens and silver flatware spread impeccably before us on the dining table. The trek through the forest is the only way to get here without a boat or helicopter. After a couple of greeting barks from their dog Lady, Humchitt welcomes us to Cape Scott. Continue reading

Sister’s Island c. early 1950s

Here is a continuance of the tales of Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. Somewhere around the early 1950s, probably after a year at Fiddle Reef lighthouse the family was moved to Sisters Island. Juanita says:

Sisters Island

Fiddle Reef’s plumbing was a cistern and hand pump. Cold water only. 

Sisters was a little tamer and had a bathroom. When we arrived we found the tub full of coal. The running water was cold only . A reservoir on the wood and coal stove heated enough water for small tasks.

At that time  the lighthouse tenders also burned coal. The smoke could be seen well off.

While on the subject of heat, Dad nearly took a finger off chopping kindling. Mom patched it up, and a doctor later told her he “couldn’t have done it better himself”.

Here there were more and bigger buildings. I actually had a bedroom instead of my little pallet in the angle of the hallway (on Fiddle Reef). I cannot remember much about the day to day station workings, but I do remember the foghorn had a very brassy sound. Continue reading