“An Island In Time” is a wonderful reminiscence of growing up on Washington state's Puget Sound during a most interesting, confusing and exciting decade in the 20th century, the 1940s. World War II flavored daily life for half of the decade. It was the era of: warriors, warships, rationing, Victory Gardens, BB guns, slingshots, radio, 78 rpm records, big bands, black and white movies, 4-lane highways, 2-lane roads, Burma Shave signs, train travel, penny postcards, nickel Cokes and ugly cars. This is a book, which could be titled, ‘ Everyboys Odyssey through the 1940s’, about a boy who grew up throughout World War II, and afterwards, making the most of this snips and snails of youth. Summers and weekends are spent in a 56 1/2 acre community on a small island. The “neighborhood” consists of eight houses, three farms, a dock, a general store, a church, an Indian grave island. The boys 1890 waterfront house, with a hand-dug cellar, sits on a 12-acre farm. Neighbors and other permanent residence consist of a “different breed of cat” who seen stuck in the past, and make for some interesting stories.
Don Edgers was born in Seattle in 1939 and after leaving the hospital came directly to the Sylvan Lodge on Fox Island. Every summer from that point until 1962 was devoted to the Island. Winters were spent in Seattle until 1953, when he went to Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin until 1957 when he returned to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. Don’s family bought a Victorian era house and a 12-acre farm built by the pioneering Miller family. The Millers platted and settled a community called Sylvan in 1889 and the Edgers moved in during the summer of 1944.
The community was the hub of activity from its founding and throughout the 1950's because of the Island’s church, dock, gas station, general store and post office.
In 1961 the U.S. Army beckoned, and Don gave three years to forts and posts in California, Massachusetts and mostly in Northern Japan on the island of Hokkaido. After leaving the Army a year was devoted to selling fruit, produce and groceries at different locations in Washington. It was during this time he met and married his wife, Carolyn. In 1965, Don commuted from Fox Island to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and graduated in 1967 and began his 30-year high school teaching career in Poulsbo, 45 miles and a one-hour commute away. He and his wife lived on Fox Island until 2000 when they moved to Port Orchard in order to be closer to their Fox Island-raised daughter, Erin, and their new grandson, Phoenix.
This book is an attempt to chronicle a segment of life that generally lasts 12 or 13 years in most Americans’ lives – school. High school normally
occupies 1/3 of this time, however, in my case high school lasted 34 years - four as a student in a military school (’53-’57) and thirty as a teacher - 28 in public, two in private (’67-’97).
I believe most of my life’s abilities, experiences and circumstances were aimed to my eventual 30-year occupation. This book will explain how I arrived at this conclusion. There must be a DNA marker (gene) for probable occupations. My
paternal grandfather and father were dentists; Grandmother and a great aunt were teachers. On my mother’s side of the family Grandfather, was a minister, Grandmother was a music teacher and Mom taught high school for two years. So, my gene pool menu reads: 4 teachers – 2 dentists –
For most of my early years and through high school, I told everyone who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up was that I wanted to
follow in the footsteps of my dentist father and my grandfather (although being an explorer, archeologist, railroad engineer, or sailor had entered
my mind) but never the thought of becoming a teacher. Nevertheless, all those wished-for occupations never occurred and I became something I didn’t wish for – a teacher.
As a historically-oriented writer, I want to preserve my memories of 60 years within the 20th century relating to students, teachers and schools.
I’ve endeavored to write these personal classroom memories in an interesting manner.
Whereas I don’t claim to have a highly superior autobiographical memory (hyperthymesia), my recall of many people and events is very
good. The views expressed in this book are mine, and may differ from others in the same place and time. Recently (2015), a writer-classmate xii Don Edgers of mine (class of 1957) upon reading my memories of our time together said, “Are you sure we went to the same school?”
I’ve changed some names, but not necessarily the events. There are some judgements I’ve made concerning teachers, colleagues, students and administrators which sound harsh/critical because at the time that’s the way I felt. I have since realized that I failed to consider the biblical admonition to “Judge not, lest ye be judged”; the American-Indian proverb, “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins”; (or if I appear hypocritical), “Why worry about a speck
in your friend’s (students’, teachers’, administrators’) eye when you have a log in your own?”
If my presentation somehow makes me sound boastful, forgive me. I am mainly amazed and appreciative that I managed to hang on though
many bumps in the career path I pursued. Obviously, as you read on, the smooth and rewarding times outweighed the bumps in the path I chose.
Introduction to AN ISLAND IN TIME:
Coming of age in the 1950s
During the 1950s, the world got its first glimpse of many amazing events, discoveries and people that have shaped the 21st century and that are, for the most part, still with us, like: Disneyland, sugar cereals, McDonald’s, filtered cigarettes, pizzerias, rock and roll, shopping malls and credit cards! We were introduced to color TV, interstate highways, copy machines and the Corvette. Man also conquered polio, Mt. Everest and running the 4-minute mile. More important firsts were microchips, business computers, the hydrogen bomb, nuclear power, Civil Rights, jet planes, organ transplants, DNA, space exploration and two new states!
This decade in the US was like the advent of adolescence. We, in a sense, came of age in a Renaissance-like fashion as we experienced a metamorphosis in appearance, condition and character.
Here’s a recollection of what it was like for a boy to come of age on a small island in Puget Sound where life was insulated from the frenetic progress around it. Adolescents still fished with hand lines, rowed boats, went camping in unexplored places, learned to water-ski on wooden ironing boards, learned to drive old cars on dirt roads, caught lots of sharks and experienced the demise of the Island’s ferry. The little island joined the 20th century at a slightly slower speed, but as Mahatma Gandhi said, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.”