Those are Kenny Rogers’ lyrics, but that’s also what Frances Jewel Dickson has to keep in mind when she’s writing.
The East LeHave resident recently finished writing her book, ‘Destination White Point.’ She was expecting to have copies last Friday.
“My husband and I have been going to White Point since the late 1980s,” says Dickson, from her home office overlooking the LeHave River not far from Riverport.
She adds there is a magic to White Point, which she’s felt since she started going.
“You just feel it from the very first, and every time you go back it hits you as soon as you drive down the laneway,” Dickson says.
As someone who likes White Point, history, and writing, Dickson approached Danny Morton, the resort’s general manager, to ask if a history had been written. She proposed the idea to Morton of writing a book about White Point’s history. Dickson says Morton told her they had always had the idea. That was in January 2010.
After owner Robert Risley saw and supported the proposal, Dickson began her project.
Dickson says she’s always enjoyed writing and reading. And it was in Grade 9 a teacher of hers encouraged her to write.
In 2001, Dickson’s writing was published in the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments section. Following that, Dickson was at White Point, where someone suggested she write a narrative account of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line.
Dickson took the idea seriously, and about six years later, her first book, ‘The DEW Line Years: Voices from the Cold War,’ was published.
She says her research began with a web search that led her to the names of DEW Liners. Dickson asked them for anecdotes and stories and says she got an over 40 per cent response.
“The stories started flooding in, mostly by email,” says Dickson.
Her first book finished, Dickson began to think about her second project.
“I was thinking of doing a similar project with some of the older fishermen who had fished on schooners and sailing ships,” she says.
Dickson’s husband suggested she speak with Matthew Mitchell, a longtime captain and fisher originally from Port au Bras, N.L.
“We’ve been here for 26 years, and of course most of our neighbours somehow or other are rooted in the industry, and I think it’s just so much a part of Lunenburg County,” says Dickson about why she wanted to write about fishers.
Her second book, focused entirely on Cpt. Mitchell, was published in September 2009.
Four months later, Dickson pitched her White Point idea.
Similar to telling the DEW Line story, with ‘Destination White Point,’ Dickson spoke with former and present staff members and guests and wove their stories to provide a narrative history.
“I wanted the book to be an emphasis on the earlier years,” she says. “It would be again the oral history, and the challenge there was finding these people.”
Dickson says fortunately many people in Queens County have worked and stayed at White Point.
One of the families Dickson chose to focus on was the Doggetts, many of whom she says live near the resort’s entrance.
Dickson says she also focused a lot on Philip Hooper Moore, the original owner.
“Through his books, I was able to get to know him, get to know his character,” she says.
Collecting so much information and deciding what to do with it is like a puzzle, says Dickson.
“I’ve thought, ‘Well, I’m missing pieces of the puzzle,’ or ‘Is it representative enough that I can now stop looking?’” she says.
And that’s when listening to Kenny Rogers’ lines comes in handy.
“You could go on forever. I could still be working on DEW Line,” she says. “I could be working on it for 20 years because there’s so much.”
There’s no question Dickson is thinking about another project, but she says she is not going to begin anything for the rest of this year.
“I have this year to think about what direction I’d like to go in,” she says.