When I was growing up on Hatteras Island the two buildings I remember the
most were The Old Gray House and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Everyday after school I would run up to Dark Ridge Road. to the Old Gray
House to see Grandmother Gray. At the Old Gray House there was always something
cooking on the wood burning stove, cookies and a big hug waiting for me.
The other building that played a big part in my life was the Hatteras
Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was the Island's symbol of safety and security. It
was also a center for Island social life.
In those days before electricity, there were few lights in the night other
than the light from the lighthouse. This light was the one ray of hope shining
in the dark to warn sailors at sea of the dangers of becoming shipwrecked on the
dreaded diamond shoals. To the Islanders the flashes from the lighthouse across
the night sky served as a comfort and joy.
On weekends the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was a gathering place for the
Islanders. Children ran up and down the steps of the lighthouse. Ball games were
played in front of the lighthouse, and picnics took place not to mention
swimming and frolicking in the surf, and shell collecting. The lighthouse was a
happy place for young and old alike.