Above is a westward looking shot from the Islander, a Gwynns Island motel, restaurant and marina that used to be a wonderland. Those posts made up part of the marina until Hurricane Isabel decided she'd had just about enough of it.
The Islander is one of those places about which a book or a movie could be written, so much happened there. There are lots of places here in the county that have a story to tell, but unless someone tells the tale, the buildings will die and their stories along with them.
You probably don't realize this, but that was just a round about way of saying that life as I know it will soon be changing because I've signed a contract to do a book.
It has taken me several
Once upon a time, Chesapeake Bay Woman tried to blog as a way of keeping her mind off one of the most horrendous times in her life. Blogging very successfully distracted her from real life, and she discovered that she liked
Then one day, a publisher who stumbled upon her blog contacted her and asked if she'd be interested in doing a book on Mathews County. CBW jumped up and down for joy and spewed off all sorts of ideas for the book she wanted to write. The publisher was
What CBW didn't realize at the time was the publisher had very strict specifications for the book, which is to be a pictorial history of Mathews County. There will be pairs of photographs: "Then" photos (which CBW must acquire and research) will be paired with "Now" photos, which CBW will take herself. Then
Several hundred photos are needed, plus several thousand hours to research each one, and already CBW requires smelling salts just to finish typing this sentence because the amount of time this project will require is overwhelming.
Please listen to the Kenny G. elevator music while CBW revives herself.
There now. Where were we? Ah yes, any spare time I didn't have before will soon be even scarcer.
Did CBW mention that she already has a day job with a 100+ mile round trip commute? Did she mention she has school-aged children with very busy schedules? Did she mention she has a house and yard to maintain, a house loaded with insects and faulty electrical outlets? Did she mention that history isn't her thing and the prospect of having to do anything under any sort of a deadline causes her to contemplate a swan dive off the New Point Lighthouse?
Well, she meant to.
So, CBW received the proposal, which was
"Are you a member of the local historical society?" (Really loud crickets.)
"What time span does your book cover, and what is your thematic focus?" (The crickets are howling with laughter now at the word "focus." Also, there's the sound of a crying woman's sniffles in the background. She'd say something now, except she's too distracted by something shiny.)
"Please write a one-page summary of at least 500 words of the proposed content of your book. Be sure to discuss the historical and cultural content of the book, little known historical facts associated with the area, people and places of special interest, and outstanding images you plan to include." (Crickets can't be heard any more due to sobs and whatever sounds accompany a woman in the midst of a panic attack.)
CBW was overwhelmed by the proposal and soon convinced herself there was no way she had the time or resources to devote to such an enormous (and important) project. However, she realized this was not an opportunity that came knocking every day, so she told herself she'd try to do the proposal to the best of her ability, even though she was in the middle of kids, school, spring sports, spring concerts, overdue bills, family emergencies, other emergencies, and a panic attack. She felt certain the proposal would not be accepted because she did not have the time or ability to focus on it
So she completed the proposal and sent it off, happy that she at least tried but confident that nothing would come of it.
Then, just before Memorial Day, she received an e-mail which said, "Mathews County Then and Now: Proposal Accepted!"
Then she fainted and hit her head so hard she hasn't been right since and has taken to wearing crab hats at island festivals.
p.s. I need the community's help in a big way. Anyone with any ties to Mathews: I need your old postcards, your old photos, old newspaper clippings - any old photographs of Mathews County sites such as schools, wharves, churches, the court house, the lighthouse, beaches, country stores, post offices, houses, plantations/estates - anything that would represent Mathews. If I use your photo--and I will-- you will be credited in the book. I will then take a current-day photo of the exact same place to place beside it.