Ernie DeRaps, 91
On October 15, 1955, on the advice of his young wife Pauline, Ernie DeRaps joined the Coast Guard. A year later, one night after she’d tucked their one-year-old son into bed, Ernie asked her how’d she like to live in a lighthouse 10 miles off the coast of Maine on Monhegan Island.
In a book that Ernie and Pauline co-authored years later, Pauline wrote, “Yes, I said. Let’s do it. It will be something different. We can write our memoirs about living in a lighthouse and any experiences we have. I will miss being near my parents, but we do what we have to do.”
The DeRaps family ended up living in three Maine lighthouses:
- Monhegan Island Light
- Fort Point Lighthouse in Stockton Springs
- Browns Head Lighthouse on Vinalhaven Island
Ernie was also a lighthouse keeper at a solitary assignment:
- Stag Lighthouse at Heron Neck
They went on to have six children, although not all of them got to enjoy the adventures of living in a lighthouse.
Ernie and Pauline wrote about their lighthouse experiences in a delightful and interesting back-to-back double book called:
- Lighthouse Keeping by Ernest DeRaps
- Light Housekeeping by Pauline Fitzgerald DeRaps
I had the pleasure of chatting with Ernie at his home in Richmond recently. Pauline passed away a few years ago and he lives alone now, but his children and grandchildren live nearby. At 91, he may move a little more slowly than he used to, but he still keeps busy and he still has lots of stories to tell. I know you’ll enjoy the stories he told during our conversation.
Listen to my conversation with Ernie
Where else you can find and subscribe to the podcast
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Play
- Check your favorite listening app. (Search for Catching Health with Diane Atwood)