Ocracoke's history & its people

A Blessed Life, Growing up on Ocracoke Island by Della Gaskill

June 2013

A Blessed life book cover

Della Gaskill

 

Della Gaskill, one of Ocracoke’s wise and wonderful older residents has written and just released her first book, ”A Blessed Life, Growing Up on Ocracoke Island”. She will be at Books to be Red on Thursday after­noon, June 20th at 2:30 to tell stories and sign copies of her book. Below is her introduction to her book of memories. It will be on sale starting in June at Books to be Red and many other island shops. It is fasci­nating reading, as she re­counts among many events, her life as a child during WWII and living through the devastating Hurricane of ’44. This book is a great journey through a time be­fore all the modern conve­niences were available on the island. The photos will tell their own stories of the hardships and the joys of island people, recapturing a time often lost.

Ocracoke, just fifteen miles long, is the Pearl in the Atlantic Ocean, given to us by God to enjoy. It is such a peaceful place. The peo­ple are friendly, kind and caring. My name is Della Gaskill, and I was born right here on Ocracoke, in the old home place near the Lighthouse. My daddy and his mama and daddy and their grandparents and great-grandparents too were all born here. And so was my husband and his parents and grandparents and further back too.

I have a craft shop and many people come in, and we have the best times talk­ing. God has given me such love of people, people I don’t even know. I correspond with some of the people I have met. Some will bring me a gift. I have met some very nice people. They like to hear me talk about what it was like growing up on Oc­racoke and what I think of how Ocracoke has changed. It has changed. It were much different when I grew up. Sometimes, when I tell them stories, my custom­ers tell me I should write a book a b o u t growing up here. So that’s what I am doing.

We have been a blessed  people here on this island. It is just wonderful to live on O c r a c o ke with these people. We love the peo­ple that we meet and the things that we enjoy, going to church with other people and time together in their homes and enjoying their fellowship.

We didn’t have much when I was growing up. What we didn’t have we didn’t know about. But to­day’s different. We have too much. Our houses are full of everything that peo­ple gives us and that we collect that we don’t need because one day we are not going to be here anyway to enjoy any of it and someone will be fighting over it.

There is so much history on Ocracoke that people wouldn’t believe the things that have taken place on this Island. For just such a small village, it is unbeliev­able. But Ocracoke is still Ocracoke with all its chang­es. It is my home and I love it dearly. I am proud to be an Ocracoker. I would not trade this place for all the rest of the world. I am glad I was born on this island in 1937. What a great gift from God.