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LIGHTHOUSE DIARIES
Photos here, approximately 1975. Bernice "Bunny" Richmond and her husband Reg Robinson, who had
purchased Mark Island and the lighthouse
in 1939 for $2,000, divorced, and sold the island in 1950.
Writers Pat and Rene' Prud'hommeaux, children's book authors, leased the island sight unseen after
reading Bunny's book, and then
purchased Mark in 1956. Pat and Rene' lived there year round for 18
years, rafting up wood from nearby Ned Island for the woodburning stoves, until Pat passed away from a
heart attack one night in 1974 while sitting in her favorite easy chair.
Pat wrote the children's book "The
Light in the Tower" in 1957, under the pen name Joan Howard, about the Christmas tree they always put
up in the tower for the fishermen.

The Prud
'hommeaux's had a network of island dwelling friends, extending to nearby Spectacle Island and
across Frenchman Bay to the Cranberry Islands. They often grouped on Mark Island in the summer to
play c
ribbage and sing from the book of "Salty Sailor Songs"  while someone played the old organ. Barb
Prud'hommeaux related to me that, "They were often visited by the Coast Guard boys off (nearby) Egg
Rock (lighthouse) who boated over for a home cooked meal and some company".
A many times repaired
opium pipe sits on top of the music room's 1895 organ as I write.
After Pat died
, her husband Rene' moved off island , but declined offers to sell it, and the island fell into
total disrepair as you can see from the photos below. It remained so until 1983, when Gerald Kean,  a New
York and Hollywood producer and director,  the person I acquired  Mark  from in 1995, purchased the
island.
A resident of nearby Wonsqueak Harbor sailed out s
ometime in the mid 1970's to "check out the
abandoned island and lighthouse", invited himself in through an open window, and took these photos.
View from the tower (above), approx 1975. Hunter's, setting in their boats during duck season, and
thinking no one cared about the now "abandoned lighthouse", frequently shot bullets through the tower
panes for amusement. Sad looking, neglected keeper's house (
right).
The lighthouse (below) then was in total disrepair, and in far worse shape at that time than when I
purchased it from Gerald Kean in 1995. Gerry
Kean put a hold on some of the deterioration with a bit of
"paint and paper", then
somewhat neglected it for much of the twelve years up to when he sold it to me.
The tower panes all gone when I bought it from him, water pouring into the tower; windows out in the
attached keeper's house, birds having the run of the place . But, I believe he did his best at the time with
the time and money he had to work with. He had spent some youthful summers there with Bernice
Richmond in the early 1940's when she and Reg owned the island, and, I think, Gerry's longing for those
memories was the reason he bought the island in 1983..........for,  Oh, My Lord, $87,500. Asking price was
$125,000, with no takers.
"Interlopers" checking out the "Winter
Kitchen" (Left),
prob 1975.

"Interloper" (Below left) contemplating in
the "Music Room".  I love that room, with
its old organ, faded Picasso prints and
long range view to the water northwest.
But, there is something a bit erie about
the room. Which only adds to the magic
and mystique of the house and island.

The doors on Mark Island are seldom
locked. Not by me nor anyone before
me. Anyone who ventures ashore with
no one around could easily enter even if
the doors were locked. Just leave a note
on the kitchen table for visitors,
"Welcome, please leave things as you
find them", and butter in a dish (which
"says", just out at the moment, coming
right back).
NEXT
1996, my second
season, loading the
dory I had built in
Lunenberg, Nova
Scotia (and my
second mode of
transportation to the
island) in Winter
Harbor. I am covering
the cage of the soon
too be ill-fated
chickens for the trip
out.
Landing and
unloading at the float
on Mark Island.
I loved the dory, but it
was not a good
solution for the rough
water between Mark
and shore. Patrick
Faulkingham here
came out to take a
look at the leak over
the music room.
"But they haven't any faith," Mr Pritchard cried.   
"What's got into them?"
  
John Steinbeck, The Wayward Bus
"He'll be out of the boat in a minute if he rolls like that,"
said the Rat, sitting down again.
   
 Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows