Brenda Clark: Citizen

Any conversation about life on a small island will inevitably come around to this phrase: “an islander has to wear many hats.” In her fourteen years on Isle au Haut, Brenda has worn almost as many figurative hats as noted island fashion plate, Bernadine Barter, has actual hats. A partial list of Brenda’s sundry occupations (volunteer and paid) includes: sterning on a lobsterboat, caretaking for summer homes, cutting hair; cleaning at the island store, and running the cash register at an island gift shop; helping her husband with the town’s trash collection and bookkeeping; serving on the ICDC board of directors, on the Comprehensive Planning Committee, and working as the town librarian; at one time, she even worked for an island business that preserved and prepared star fish for scientific research.

Brenda remembers her first trip out to Isle au Haut, when her husband Bill first became interested in moving to the town. “I had walked out to the light house, and was looking around- it was so beautiful. And I just had this moment, when I thought ‘yes, I can do this.’” Those moments happen for a lot of islanders: “We get so busy. In small towns you get out of a community what you put in, and you often have to do a lot of little things, so the wheels are always turning. But then you look around, and it’s peaceful, like turning the clock back… I feel very content here. I don’t mind working hard. I like that Bill and I are working together to make it work out here.

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