Ann Lewis has captured the flavor and atmosphere of life in Duluth among families whose days and weeks revolved around the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. She paints an intriguing and affectionate portrait of her father, a talented pianist whose summer job aboard an ore freighter led him to a life on the water. Working his way up from a deckhand towards his dream of becoming a ship captain, he became the master of 13 ships over a span of 28 years. The family’s life together was regulated by the loading and unloading of iron ore, highlighted by the annual Ship Master’s Ball and those occasions when Ann would accompany her father to ports on the lower Great Lakes, sailing through storms and stars, visiting the engine room, wheeling the block-long ship with her father in the pilot house, and dining at the captain’s table. The descriptions are evocative and the book is further enhanced by vintage snapshots of ore boat life that those who gather on the pier at Canal Park seldom get a chance to see.
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Ann Michler Lewis grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and taught English at Duluth East High School, her alma mater. She lived in Duluth from 1944 to 1967. Since 1972, she has lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her family, making periodic pilgrimages back “home” to the lake.
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