Surfmen and Shipwrecks
Spirits of Cape Hatteras Island
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Living in the shadow of the mighty Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, miles from the village, Ellie, Luke, and Blake exist in a world of spirits, mystical wolves, and stories told by their grandfather, the keeper of the lighthouse. In the fourth of a five-volume series, the three children of the Jennnette family travel back in time to discover the origin of their ancestors and the events that shaped the civilization of Cape Hatteras Island. Throughout the series, islanders live as they did when only an occasional mail boat kept them connected to the rest of the world--before a bridge linked the island to the mainland, before tourists flocked to the area during the summer season, and before the government became involved in managing the land. Isolated from others, they created a life of comfort and community, one that is long lost. In each subsequent volume, the Lighthouse Kids meet the people and experience the events that gradually transformed Cape Hatteras Island to the popular resort area it is today.
In Surfmen and Shipwrecks, we learn of the stories surrounding the fearless seamen of the Lifesaving Service and their courageous attempts to provide safe passage past the dreaded Diamond shoals and through the storms. These simple island men were heroes, and represented the fabric of the seven communities that made up Cape Hatteras Island. The children's adventures continue. Luke accidentally takes part in one of the rescues and gains a great deal of admiration for the lifesavers. Ellie taps into her mental awareness and has a vivid dream of the future of her home near the Lighthouse and Blake becomes the owner of a horse of remarkable powers, who, in the future will save his life.
Gray Finnegan Jr., (Jaye) was named for her mother, and came from a
family who traces their linage on Cape Hatteras Island, to the first
English settlers on this strip of land thirty miles into the Atlantic
ocean. Born in 1939 in the back room of the existing Weather Station,
and delivered by a midwife, she grew up "island style", playing on dirt
roads, attending school with three grades in one room, and living off
the land, sea and water.
She was educated in a school where her mother was a teacher, her
grandfather the principal, and her tutors were her mother's friends.
Life on the island was marked by church activities, fishing, hunting and
the barter system. Santa Claus came by way of the church where he
delivered all the Christmas presents. The men of the community made
certain that no matter what the economy was, every child on the island
had a present hanging on that huge tree freshly cut from the woods.
Her grandfather being one of the only college graduates on the island
made sure all his children went off island to be educated beginning with
grade nine. Jaye spent her high school years at Norview High School in
Norfolk,Virginia. Here she was captain of the cheerleaders, Azalea
princess in the NATO celebrations, active in the local church, and on
the basketball and track teams.
College was at the University of East Carolina, and here she was a
member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and president of the Pan Hellenic
Society governing all sororities on campus. She was also voted
Sweetheart by Lambda Chi fraternity and served as a school Marshall.
With a double major in English and Social Sciences, she went on to teach
school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Here after teaching many subjects
reflecting her majors she ended her thirty years teaching Advanced
After studying for her masters in Photography, she photographed and
scripted an award winning calendar depicting Cape Hatteras Island life,
from bridge to ferry, (one end to the other) complete with a fishing
guide. Her printing company, Teagle and Little, won an award for the
piece. At one point, she took a break and opened a sub & pizza shop
in her home village of Buxton, and lived island life once more.
Wanting her only son to go to high school off island as her grandfather
had required, she returned to teaching, and finished her career.
Jaye moved back to the island with her husband Ted Torok, an
accomplished restaurateur, and they opened a gourmet restaurant, the
Dolphin Den. Finally with fewer responsibilities she began to research
the history of the island. The research lasted ten years, and included
all books, magazines,(including National Geographic), periodicals, face
to face interviews with island locals, and personal knowledge of the
subject. This resulted in the set of historical fiction novels
presented as The Lighthouse Kids.