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Kate Dudding: Voices From the Past: December, 2006

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This is the second issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Photo of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Whenever I create a story, I have to decide from which perspective I will tell the story. With its long history, I couldn’t tell the story of this lighthouse from any one person’s perspective. So I decided to tell it from the lighthouse’s perspective. Here’s how this story starts:

“I am the Guardian of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. For over 130 years, by day and by night, I have warned ships to keep away. I am the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in the world.

Since you do not live near me in North Carolina, you may not know what the Graveyard of the Atlantic is. It’s the part of Atlantic Ocean that I overlook.

The water there is shallow and it extends almost 20 miles off shore. But that’s not why it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because two underwater currents collide out there. The warm Gulf Stream from the Gulf of Mexico is constantly colliding with the cold Labrador Current from Canada. That constant colliding continually churns up of the sandy bottom. No one knows from one day to the next where the sandbars are.

Over 2,200 ships have run aground in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. That’s why I’m here, to warn ships to keep away.

So I need to be seen 20 miles away. I need to be tall enough to overcome the curvature of the earth. You people know about the curvature of the earth, but you are too small to actually see it. Unlike me.”

The lighthouse goes on to describe its physical characteristics, the keepers and their families who lived around it, the erosion which threatened its existence, and its historic move a half a mile inland.

Here are some links to more information about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

What I’ve Been Doing

My first CD: “Lighting the Way Home - Stories of Lighthouses and Their Keepers” was released in November. Renowned international storyteller Elizabeth Ellis says, “What a wonderful job you have done. There is a great mix of material on the CD. I really like the first person account from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse's point of view. An unexpected treat. The tales are well chosen, well crafted and well told. Hats off! A job well done!” Click here for more details.

I’ll be telling these stories at First Night Saratoga on Dec. 31, 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm, at FedEx-Kinko's, on the corner of Broadway and Congress.

Earlier this month, I did research at the archives of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, on a chocolate story, and on a story of a woman pioneer in the computer industry.

On Sunday, March 18, Nancy Marie Payne and I will be doing a program called “Up, Up, and Away! Stories of Pioneer Women Aviators.” This program is part of Story Sundays at the Glen Sanders Mansion, a storytelling dinner series for adults, now in its eighth season. 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY. $26, including dinner. Click here for more information. Reservations: (518) 384-1700

Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights next year. Happy Holidays to you and yours.


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Copyright 2006 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.


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