Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

In a dress


I was five when my recently widowed Grandmother moved in to our house. My father had just walked out leaving Mom ill prepared to run a large house and property with no income. At forty, Mom had to get a drivers license and begin university to become employable. At home Grandma usually wore a house dress, support hose and tender tootsies. When she went out, it was usually to church. She would be smartly dressed in a pale blue wool coat and a matching hat which highlighted her bright blue sparkling eyes. There would always be a broach on her lapel. 

In the evenings she would let me come into her bedroom and comb her silky grey hair with a bit of Suave. She would sit in the overstuffed green chair she brought from her home and we would listen to Jack Cullen on the radio.. It was 1962, Grandma was seventy and she could not abide women wearing pants.

Yesterday, eleven of the women met off island for a seventieth birthday lunch. Conversation at our end of the table was basically about gardening, knitting or quilting. System talk was limited to the shared excitement for Renates ability to now shower indoors. We have all been there.. That perfect moment when you not only have indoor running water but it is also heated! It was a rare day that we never got to the topic of septic systems.

I was asked when I find time to write my blog. Well it is five in the morning. I have been awake since three. Lots of people need a nap in the afternoon. I need to be awake for two hours in the middle of the night. I usually spend the time counting satellites cross the sky overhead through the skylight and thinking about my day. Tonight, I lay with the image of Eileen and Mary in the boat.

Mary has lived on this island for thirty some odd years. She is a multi talented woman. She is both an artist and also very capable at the helm of her boat. There were four of us on the Silver Dart  when on the way home, we tried to rescue a wayward mooring buoy that has been trapped in the waters off Eileen’s house. I still have the picture imprinted in my mind of Eileen and Mary hanging upside down off the boat trying to pull the heavy line in as the waves lifted the boat up and down. Much laughter ensued as the line proved unwilling to budge. Plans are afoot to return in calmer water and pull it loose with the boat.

These women, we eleven, live a privileged life off grid on an island where problem solving and adventures are all just part of an average day. We are not my Grandmas seventy, and only one was

In a dress

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

8 thoughts on “In a dress

  1. Love this! Your writing is beautiful, and it makes me desperately want to live on the island with you all!

    • Haha.. Thanks.. I feel that way about the little town in the Louise Penny series of mysteries I am reading.. I just want to live in their town, sit in the bistro with them drink lattes and eating fresh croissants.. Regardless of all the people who seems to get murdered there abouts…

  2. One was in a dress!? Well, there is NOTHING wrong with that!.

  3. I love your story. It captures the essence of what being an off-grid woman is really like.

  4. well gosh, you made my day with your nice comments – thanks. We are all very fortunate indeed, in so many ways including being able to wear pants.

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