This is Real Life Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | March 11, 2015

    Mark Adams: IMG All Signs Point to Atlantis



    When I tell people I've spent the last three years working on a book about Atlantis, they usually have two questions. The first almost always goes... Continue »
    1. $19.57 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    spacer

On Order

$24.75
New Hardcover
Currently out of stock.
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
- Local Warehouse World History- Canada

This title in other editions

Spilsbury's coast :pioneer years in the wet West

by

Spilsbury's coast :pioneer years in the wet West Cover

 

 

Excerpt

CONTENTS

1. Red's Sea Diner

2. The Governor

3. Savary Island

4. Wild Animals and Wilder People

5. Swallow Hard If You Feel Something Hairy

6. Engineer from Fourth Reader

7. Voice from the Sky

8. A Radio Expert is Born

9. Five Hundred a Month

10. I Take to the Water

11. The Radio Boat

12. The Cannon that Flew over Lund

13. A Stormy Honeymoon

14. Living Aboard

15. Spilsbury & Hepburn Ltd.

16. Pearl Harbour Panic

17. War Work

18. Robert B. Gayer

19. I Discover the West Coast

20. We Take to the Air

INTRODUCTION

DURING THE FIFTIES when I was a boy growing up in my dad's logging camp on Nelson Island I used to think nothing we did quite counted. I owned a bit of a reputation around camp for the way I could skip across a slimy boomstick, but when I looked in the grade one reader my correspondence course provided, which I did almost monthly, the boys and girls there walked on sidewalks. All mention of boomsticks was carefully avoided. I could run the camp tender home from Garden Bay when the men got too drunk to do it themselves, but Dick and Jane could run elevators in apartment buildings, something I was sure I could never manage. Their fathers worked in offices, not under broke-down logging trucks.

Nothing was for us. The weather forecasts, on those rare occasions when our radio worked, always talked about "the lower mainland" and "the Kootenay region," never Green's Bay. We had weather in Green's Bay too, and a lot more of it out in Agamemnon Channel sometimes, but the world just sniggered at the thought of it, apparently.

Everything came from somewhere else. Even things that were specially ours, like Caterpillar tractors or ball bearings, came from places like Peoria Illinois or Kalamazoo Michigan. Those were the real places. The boys there would no doubt make short work of me. I seemed to be lost in a nonplace inhabited by shadows, and I felt it deep inside.

There were only a couple of things that didn't fit the pattern. One was Easthope motors. They were made by people around the coast. Pete Dubois' uncle was married to one of the Easthope's sisters. But they were still from Vancouver, and Vancouver was the City, closer to Peoria than Pender Harbour.

More amazing was the Spilsbury and Tindall radiophone. We didn't actually have one of these in camp, but all the bigger fishboats did, and all the tugs and government boats. You'd see them in wheelhouses, jutting out from the wall, the sender and receiver separate, like two cases of Pacific milk. They had very fancy meters on them, banks of silver switches and dials, and wrinkle paint like binoculars. They looked as real and big-time as anything from Kalamazoo. Radio-telephones were even more impressive than ball bearings because they were more scientific and amazing. Yet they were made by a guy who lived up by Powell River, on a little island just like ours. He even had a boat, so I was told, and came around to the camps like Pappy's store boat. He'd never come into our camp, but a lot of the men knew him.

This filled me with wonder. If one guy around here could get onto the Kalamazoo level, it was at least possible. We weren't trapped here in limbo, just kind of bogged down, like the D8 the time they tried to drive across the cranberry bog at Goose Lake. Perhaps the reality we lived was not quite so counterfeit as I had come to think, if things like the S & T radiophone could come out of it. Spilsbury and Tindall became a very important symbol in my juvenile cosmos.

If I had known just how much Jim Spilsbury, the man who made those radio-telephones, was "a guy from around here," and how much of the unique edge-of-the-world culture of our coast was woven into his achievement, I would have been even more excited. When I became involved in writing down the story of the coast many years later I began to run across the Spilsbury name in a remarkable variety of contexts. Frank Lee, one of Pender Harbour's more senior pioneers, told me he had been neighbours with Spilsburys in Whonnock, before the Lee family moved to the coast, which seemed like before the dawn of time. The Spilsbury family were considered Whonnock's earliest settlers and have their name on a principal road, but when I began looking in on the history of the Powell River-Savary Island area, I found the name again on an important landmark, the northern tip of Hernando Island. That area claimed them as pioneers too. Lorne Maynard, an old coastal skipper, told me I should see Spilsbury about steam logging because he'd run steam donkeys. Geordie Tocher, who gained a certain amount of grudging respect among the oldtimers by sailing a BC fir log to Hawaii, told me if I wanted to see the most authentic paintings of coastal landscape ever done, I should go see Spilsbury's collection. When I started looking at the story of pioneer flying on the coast, everyone said Spilsbury was the man who had been in the middle of that.

It was to get the flying story that I finally did look Spilsbury up, and the tale he had was such an entertaining one I decided to make a book of it. But once I began probing the man's background I realized his life was far more than flying, and far more than radio. Eighty-two at the time of writing, his life has paralleled the history of the coast through this, its most active century. Because of his energies and his intelligence, he was involved in almost everything that happened. It is hard to name an erstwhile stumprancher or gyppo logger between Cape Caution and Point Atkinson that he doesn't have an anecdote about, usually a good one. It is hard to name an activity from homesteading to steam logging to police work 'to, pleasure boating and mountain climbing that he wasn't personally deeply involved in. And all his memories are clear, backed by a vast collection of photos and journals, and told with all the warmth of a great personality.

Cold type isn't a wholly adequate medium in which to capture such a personality, particularly in the hands of one who never did 'finish his correspondence lessons, but in so far as I succeed, I succeed in showing the coast at its best.

HOWARD WHITE

Pender Harbour, 1987

Product Details

ISBN:
9780920080573
Author:
White, Howard
Publisher:
Harbour Publishing
Author:
Spilsbury, Jim
Location:
Madeira Park, B.C. :
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
British Columbia
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life -- British Columbia.
Subject:
Vie des pionniers
Subject:
Colombie-Britannique
Subject:
Canada - Post-Confederation (1867-)
Subject:
Aviation - History
Subject:
Radio
Subject:
World History-Canada
Copyright:
Edition Description:
hardcover
Series Volume:
33
Publication Date:
January 1987
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
196
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x .75 in 605 gr

Other books you might like

  1. Three Men and a Forester New Hardcover $7.25

Related Subjects

Engineering » Communications » Radio
History and Social Science » Canada » British Columbia
History and Social Science » World History » Canada
Transportation » Aviation » General

Spilsbury's coast :pioneer years in the wet West New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.75 Backorder
Product details 196 pages Harbour Pub. Co.,[1987] - English 9780920080573 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A runaway BC bestseller. In collector's hardcover format.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.