Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Charlotte's Books (and good news)

Charlotte and Gus on their deck with an expansive view of ocean.
I've written about Charlotte before (click here) and will no doubt write about her again. She was a person who left deep and loving imprints on my life.

Her husband Gus was equally memorable, but it is memories of Charlotte I keep going back to.

Besides being a Suffragette, she was part of the famous Algonquin Round Table, having lunch with the likes of Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. She also wrote editorials for the New York Times.

It seems only natural then, that once she and Gus settled on St. John, she would write about the island. She wrote two books.

I've been on the hunt for them for a long time, but it was difficult as  neither my sister, Erva, or I could remember the titles! Just a year or so ago Googling her name hadn't produced anything except what I had written about her in my blogs. But the internet is an amazing thing. While I was doing a little research for last Monday's blog on Reef Bay, I came across a quote from one of her books. OH JOY! I had a title. I Googled it. And there it was, staring me in face. Not just the one book, but BOTH of them!

From the Foreword: "Charlotte Dean Stark and her husband first visited the Virgin Islands as the result of reading  Desmond Holdridge's Escape to the TropicsThe moment they set foot on St. John, they wanted to stay there forever, but business in New York and Connecticut took them back to the States.

"Mrs Stark worked for the New York Times, writing editorials and selecting the poem appearing daily on the editorial page."

In the Acknowledgments she wrote: that Harper editors said they "admire the observation and the writing." And Little Brown & Company said, "It's all warm and intimate." These were rejections. Charlotte went on to self-publish Souvenir of St. John in 1958!

Some True Tales and Legends,  self-published in 1960, is more like a pamphlet or chapbook.

I often spent week-ends with Gus and Charlotte and many were the mornings when I'd be curled up on the couch reading a book like The Secret Garden or A Doorway in Fairyland while Charlotte clacked away on her typewriter.

I am absolutely delighted to have these little volumes in my collection of books about the Virgin Islands.

Good News!
Back in December I got an email from Andrea Milam, editor of Five Quarters, the St. John Historical Society's newsletter. She asked if I'd be interested in contributing an article. It seems someone from the SJHS is/was/had been reading my blog, for she wanted me to work up an article based on THIS blog about our Mobile Gas Station. After a little reworking I sent it off. I'm thrilled to announce "The Little Pre-Fab that Could," is in the February issue. I'd love to be able to throw up a link, but one has to be a member of the St. John Historical to get the newsletter. Thanks Andrea.

Has anything from your past been returned to you? Have you gotten any writing requests through your blog?


  1. Good luck with the A-Z Challenge. I look forward to your posts.

  2. Oh Bish that is so exciting. *squeee* How awesome to be able to find Charlotte's books. and then be asked to write for the historical society. Life has a way of coming full circle doesn't it.

  3. I like your posts about Charlotte! What a wonderful influence she was for you. Congrats on the article, Bish!

  4. That's fantastic, Bish! Your posts on island history and culture as always so wonderful - they deserve a large audience!

  5. Such wonderful news, both in finding the books and getting your article published! I just love these historical, but personal, things you write.

  6. Congratulations on being asked to contribute an article AND finding Charlotte's books!

  7. What a find, Bish! enjoy your new books. I found a book written by one of my relatives (great-great-somebody) and I ordered it. It's a reissue classic. Saguna by Krupabai Satthianadhan.

    Wonderful news about writing for the newsletter. Your blog posts are always so interesting, so I am not one bit surprised.

  8. This is super great news on all fronts, Bish. Congratulations. The books by Charlotte must be a treasure trove of information about your island and I'm guessing beautifully written. So glad you found them.

    Can't wait to hear more about your article. That is really wonderful.

  9. What!? That's awesome!! Congrats! That's going to be amazing!

  10. I saw your comment about Two-Lane Blacktop at Alex's place and I just had to come over and say hello.
    I've been a fan of that film for longer than I care to remember and it's nice to know that someone else appreciates it.
    Did you know that the the same 55 Chevy was used in American Graffiti and Two-Lane?

  11. Congrats on the article, Bish! Very cool. And, yeah, I'd say Charlotte was a cool lady! And I'd love to have lunch with Dorothy Parker-- she's one of my favorite writers!

  12. Congrats on the article, Bish! Very cool. And, yeah, I'd say Charlotte was a cool lady! And I'd love to have lunch with Dorothy Parker-- she's one of my favorite writers!

  13. Congrats, Bish, on your article for the St. John Historical Society's newsletter! I'm not surprised they asked you to contribute after reading the posts on your blog. They're so well written and interesting. It's great that someone read them and recommended you! Awesome!

    I've read about Charlotte in your other post, and she sure was a remarkable woman. I can imagine how delighted you were to finally find her books! Hip hip hooray! I guess they were niche books and that's why they were rejected. Kudos to Charlotte for self-publishing them. I can see why she left such an impression on your life.

  14. Congratulations on your article, Bish! That's exciting and well-deserved. Cheers to you!

    And how wonderful that you were able to find Charlotte's books. There is something wonderful and almost magical about connecting with our childhoods by way of books and the people who wrote them.

  15. I love *full circle* moments. :-)

    Great news.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!