If, by chance, you have lived an adventurous life on a tiny uninhabited fir-clad island along the windswept shores of British Columbia for almost twenty years, you are bound to wake up some morning and wonder how it all began.
The other morning I began to think about it. At last I rolled over in bed and said to my wife, “Jeanne, how the devil did we get here?”
She thought for a moment. “It was your dream, remember? I just came along for the ride.”
She was right. That was the way it started – the day I noticed an ad in the college newspaper: “Summer counselor wanted. Boys’ camp, 6 weeks, expenses paid, on a Canadian island.” My curiosity took me to Canada that summer, and it was here on Wallace Island that I had written my first love letters. Beside me was the girl I’d written them to.
Our love affair had blossomed when we were fifteen. Jeanne was the prettiest girl in Los Angeles High, and few boys could match her enthusiasm, her zest for life, and her talent of doing everything she did well. In college we eloped to Wickenburg, Arizona, with neither time nor money for a honeymoon. Back in Los Angeles, I took a job at North American Aviation and began studying commercial photography at night school. Then came Pearl Harbor, guard duty, scrubbing latrines, combat photography, the South Pacific. When it was all over, we decided we owed each other a honeymoon. “Let’s visit Wallace Island,” Jeanne suggested. “It’s all I’ve heard you talk about for years.”
So it was that, one crystal April morning in 1946, we shoved off in a borrowed rowboat from an abandoned wharf at Fernwood, British Columbia, into a vast inland sea to explore one island in particular. This how it all begain.
Reader's Digest Association: Reader's Digest Condensed Books featured the book "Once Upon an Island" in there summer selection of 1968. One year after Once Upon an Island was first published. Many readers have mention to me they enjoyed the condensed book and was impressed with those watercolour prints.
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