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July 2016, vol 12 no 2

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J. Zimmerman

The Sixth Light Keeper of Point Pinos, Her First Twelve Months: 1893-1894


short night / fog beats against / the lighthouse beam

June 30, 1893: Wind Fresh NW Foggy. In charge of station at Midnight.

as a teen / sailing alone to Shanghai / dense night fog

July 30: Steamer passed slowly, whistling at intervals, from ten to 11:30 at night.

autumn solitude / she learns the lamp’s mechanics / in fading light

Sept. 22: Changed service lamp at 8:30 p.m. Duplex burner shown until 9:45 p.m. Service Lamp showed a reservoir supply pipe clogged.

storm-ripped kelp wrack / blanketing the shore / the winter stars

Jan. 7, 1894: Whale off the Point; seals on the rocks.

the Chinese servant / weeding a vegetable patch / glances homeward

April 22: Steamer Eureka brought survivors of the Steamer Los Angeles which was wrecked on a sunken rock two miles below Point Sur.

weathered hands / braiding coastal iris / into a wreath

April 23: Five bodies were brought to Monterey from Point Sur. Coroner’s inquest gave verdict of manslaughter against third mate (of steamer Los Angeles).

a reason / to keep working / summer fog


Note: The prose (idiosyncrasies retained) quotes portions of the Lighthouse Keeper log by Emily Fish, the sixth principal keeper (1893-1914), as reported in Jerry McCaffery’s Lighthouse: Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, California (2001).


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