Notes from the Island
July 2002

Me, A Caretaker?

The chance to work at Sycamore Island was something that I never thought that I would have. As with a large number of people, it came to pass that I went off to college and my parents moved overseas leaving me all by myself.

At the tail end of one summer vacation I decided to go down and say Hi to Doc. While down there, Doc mentioned that if I ever wanted to, I could "island sit" for a time. I thanked him and went on my way not thinking about his offer till about 2 years later. Then with the dark shadow of a major paper/ project and a spring break that needed to be filled, I called Doc. He was overjoyed to hear from me. And I got my paper/project written during a working spring break last March.

At the beginning of this summer I got an e-mail from Doc asking if I would like to work on the Island for part of the summer. I took the offer and that is how I found myself on Sycamore Island on the first of June, facing the rest of the month.

It was a rather overwhelming thought…caretaker for an entire island. But with my trusty list of emergency phone numbers, a good flashlight and one pan, I forged ahead. The days went by and the quiet was intense especially after the Island closed for the night but improvements to some of the tedium started coming. First was the radio and second was the arrival of Caroline, my girlfriend.

Now towards the end of my time as the Sycamore Island caretaker I am sure that I will look back at my time there with happy thoughts. The rather ironic thing is that although the club is recognized as being a canoe club, nether Caroline nor I have not gotten in a canoe yet. However we have gotten to go swimming every day as well as meet some of the local wildlife. There was the raccoon that got me up at 3:30 in the morning to say hello, the pleasant and rather docile black snake (now named Julia), as well as the vast numbers of birds and squirrels who frequent the Island. It was also very exciting to observe Caroline learn the joys of clearing the back paths of the Island with a machete. Caroline and I hope to come back to the Sycamore Island in the future and hopefully go canoeing.

-- Victor Crook, June 2002 Sycamore Island Caretaker