Can Lives Be Changed By a Book?

Linda and Carla together again for the first time on Patos Lighthouse tower

Can lives be changed by a book? Ours were! Fifty years ago, my childhood friend, Carla, and I read a book about a lighthouse keeper’s daughter living on a remote island with her parents and 11 brothers and sisters. The book is called “The Light On the Island” and it has changed our lives. Though we grew up in the Chicago area, Carla and I now both live on an island in Puget Sound, quite near our beloved Patos Island and its lighthouse. Four years ago we co-founded a non-profit to preserve and protect the lighthouse that we read about so long ago.

As Keepers of the Patos Light, we sponsor volunteer work trips to the island and started a docent program to help visitors in their understanding of lighthouse history. We have been contacted by all sorts of Patos old-timers and have united long lost friends. We are piecing together the history of the island and have established a lighthouse museum to hold artifacts found on Patos Island. We plan a “Light on the Island” interpretive trail for the many children (and adults) who love the book as much as we did so long ago. Most of all, we feel empowered as women and long-time friends who accomplished this dream. Neither of us knew a thing about setting up a non-profit or creating a webpage, and now we have done it…all by ourselves.


Author Helene Glidden and her book, published in 1952



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