So you want to know more about E. Foster Atkinson. Thinking about it yesterday, so do I.
I know he suffered from emphysema and he had a Labrador retriever that once caused me to walk on water, but that is another story. Foster was the higher ranking hermit for many years, living in a two-room shack without running water or electricity, on Dismal Key. Dismal Key was one of a few pieces of high ground in
Foster was the “ranking” hermit because, although there were only two hermits living in the Ten Thousand Islands, there was rank based on who was there first. The lower ranking hermit, until Foster’s death, had to live in the one-room shack on Panther Key.
The lower ranking hermit was my father.
By now, anyone who has been reading my blog, knows that I am not shy about admitting that I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve also worked long enough in the field to know there is a genetic component to the disease. While I take full responsibility for pouring booze down my own throat years, I also inherited the propensity from my Dad.
There is a tradition in Alcoholics Anonymous about the importance of anonymity which is why they call it anonymous. Duh. So while I can tell people that I’m an alcoholic, I should not tell people about someone else’s alcoholism. But my father passed away quite a while ago and, even if he were alive, I doubt he’d mind. He spoke about it openly to everyone.
Let me get some facts out the way. His name was Albert Seely. My last name was legally changed from Seely to Cowell when my maternal grandparents adopted me after my mother’s death because my father was unable to raise me because he was…well…never sober.
He was also unable to hold a job, moved to
So he decided he was of no use to anyone, pawned what few possessions he had, bought a small open wooden boat with a broken-down motor, filled it with beer, and sputtered away from the little fishing town of
That was the day he met Foster in the middle of nowhere and began the next twenty-five years of his life.