Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Float in Time

I just finished reading A Float in Time by James Sirois (Hancock House, 1999). James Sirois was born in Ocean Falls, BC, in 1930. His parents divorced, so much of his upbringing was in his grandparents float logging camp along remote inlets on the northern BC coast. His grandfather, "Doc" Gildersleeve, ran a "gypo" logging operation from a floating base camp from 1916 until his death in 1956.

Those early years were the heydey of logging along the BC coast. Crews were typically small, and included many family members. James was no exception. The book recounts his formative years in the logging camp and schooling (either by correspondence in the early years to high school in Ocean Falls).

The book is organized in a series of vignettes from events through the years, describing the beautiful remote setting and the hard life of a logger in the bush. Of course, I liked hearing about "working" float cabins. The glossary of logging terms at the beginning is excellent and the chronology at the end puts BC history in perspective. Mix in some historic family pictures and it's an excellent step back in time along the BC coast.

After high school, James went to college at UBC and finally UW in Seattle to become an industrial designer. After his career in the States was over, he returned to Kimsquit on the Dean River where he lives in a cedar log cabin most of the year. As he says, "like a proverbial salmon returning to its place of origin." This book gets "two boomsticks up" from Margy. Pick it up at your local book store or online. -- Margy

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos of the logging - I think those logs are some of the ones buoying the floating homes on Lake Union today. Many of the first residents were loggers.

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