Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2016

A Gift Made Of Brass? No Way!


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The Cape Blanco Lighthouse Station as it appeared ...

Born in 1927, Joe Hayward spent his years growing up at some of the Pacific Coast lighthouses where his father Orlo Hayward had been a lighthouse keeper for over 20 years. As a “lighthouse kid,” Joe’s father was never at a loss for certain specific chores that were assigned to the young man.

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Joe Hayward with his catch of fish in 1938 at ...

Later in life, one of the first things he said to his new daughter-in-law was, “If you really like me, you will NEVER give me anything made of brass.” It seems that Joe’s number one chore while growing up at lighthouses was to polish all the brass, and there was plenty of it.

As any lighthouse aficionado knows, polishing the brass was considered the bane of the lighthouse keeper’s life, and it was the reason for writing the famous poem It’s Brasswork that was written by U.S. Lighthouse Service District Machinist Frederic W. Morong Jr. at the kitchen table at Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine. It became the most widely known and recited poem in lighthouse keeping history.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2016 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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