Kids growing up on Ocracoke tend to have more freedoms than kids in larger towns and cities. As a result, island children who are roaming the island, hanging out with friends, and working at family run businesses often have a fair number of interactions with visitors in the summer. One of the most common questions islanders (children and adults) get is, “Can you tell me how to get to the lighthouse?” I lived on Lighthouse Road as a child, so I was used to this question and could tell as someone was slowing down toward me what their question was going to be. After I grew up and went off to college, I found myself living for a short period of time on the West Coast. True to my island upbringing, I found a nice little rental on Lighthouse Ave. in Pacific Grove, CA. So, even though I lived on the other side of the U.S., I was still giving directions to a little white lighthouse. Eventually I moved to land-locked, Berlin, Germany. I learned the language, had the public transportation system figured out, and made good friends. One evening right at dusk as I was headed to the subway station, a car slowed down and pulled alongside of me. As they got right up to me, the passenger rolled her window down, leaned out and asked me, “Koennen Sie mir sagen wo Das Litehouse ist?” (basic translation: Can you tell me how to get to the lighthouse?) Needless to say, I was confused. This was one town I lived in where that was not a question I ever heard or expected to hear. So, in addition to the very puzzled look on my face, I looked more closely at the person asking the question. I thought surely it must be someone I knew playing a joke on me. It wasn’t. I also looked around to see if friends were hiding, giggling in the bushes having convinced strangers to play a joke on me. That wasn’t the case either. Finally, my brain processed the interaction enough for me to free myself from my puzzlement and think clearly about my surroundings. It was then I remembered that there was a cute café and coffee shop about two blocks away that served healthy fare with the Americanized name of “Das Litehouse.” Mystery solved, but it made me think I must have been born to direct people to lighthouses of all sorts. So, come in to the museum if you are on the island and can’t find the lighthouse. I’ve had lots of experience directing people there!
|Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke, NC||Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, CA||Das Litehouse, Berlin, Germany|