WADENA — Ann Lewis, author of “Ship Captain’s Daughter: Growing up on the Great Lakes,” will be the featured speaker Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on BookEnds Online Edition.
The program will be available on the website of the Wadena County Historical Society at www.WadenaCountyHistory.org
First published in 2015, this book is both biography and autobiography marking the unusual childhood of a young girl whose father was the captain of a ship. With lively storytelling and vivid details, Lewis captures the unusual life of shipping families whose days and weeks revolved around the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. She paints an intriguing and affectionate portrait of her father, a talented pianist whose summer job aboard an ore freighter led him to a life on the water.
Working his way up from deckhand to ship captain, Willis Michler became the master of 13 ships over a span of 28 years. From the age of 12, Ann accompanied the captain to the ports of Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo and Cleveland on the lower Great Lakes. She describes sailing through stormy weather and starry nights, visiting the engine room, dining at the captain’s table, and wheeling the block-long ship with her father in the pilot house.
Through her mother’s stories and remarks, Lewis also reveals insights into the trials and rewards of being a ship captain’s wife. The book is enhanced by the author’s vintage snapshots, depicting this bygone lifestyle.
Lewis grew up in Duluth, where she lived from 1944 to 1967. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and then taught English at Duluth East High School, her alma mater. Since 1972, she has lived with her family in St. Paul, making periodic pilgrimages back “home” to Lake Superior.
BookEnds is a monthly literary event connecting readers and writers. Now in its fourth season it is held online each month on the second Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at www.WadenaCountyHistory.org and hosted by the Wadena County Historical Society and Travelin’ Storyseller in collaboration with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.
Upcoming authors scheduled for 2020 include Alex Messenger, J. Ryan Stradal, Gretchen Anthony, Lorna Landvik, Barton Sutter.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.