Born in England in 1898, Dorothy Douglas emigrated to the United States in her early teens, graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at Berkeley. She then studied art in Belgium, taught school in the Philippine Islands, and traveled through the world. After recieving her master's degree, Dorothy spent the next several years as a social worker in the San Francisco area. It was there she met my father, Bob Graham Brown, who had emigrated to Canada from England in 1920. Dorothy married Bob in San Francisco in 1930 after a long courtship and moved to Kootenay Lake in British Columbia where Bob had purchased property. Dorothy's life of privilege and refinement had ill-prepared her for the rigors of rural life in a sparsely populated, has-been mining region where they depended on a small creek for electricity and water. Their only means of transport was a small boat on a very large and stormy lake. Dorothy's deep love for her husband, her positive attitude and her eagerness to learn made up for her lack of domestic experience, and she welcomed the challenges of her new life with enthusiasm and a quick wit. In detailed letters, my mother told of learning to cook, mend and attend to the dozens of daily chores necessary in order to survive. She described the unique and sometimes eccentric people who lived around the lake, and she revealed the occasional loneliness she accepted as part of living in an isolated area. Dorothy saved a copy of each letter she wrote, and these copies comprise her colorful, insightful and personal record of life in the backwoods.
About Joan Wooliver