March 10, 2010

An author needs your help to tell the story of changing lives on the coast

 “A way of life on the North Carolina coast is disappearing. Most of the old stilt houses are gone. Giant mansions take their place.

Local places to eat with seafood you knew had just been caught have been replaced by chain restaurants selling shrimp and fish from God-only-knows where. A leisurely drive along Hwy 12 on a summer Sunday afternoon today is more like being on Interstate 40 in Raleigh at rush hour. Hanging around the fish house shooting the breeze with neighbors and maybe sipping on a beer or two is a thing of the past. Fish houses, like many charter captains and most commercial fishermen, are almost extinct.” 

This is a quote from a new book about people who have worked and lived along the North Carolina coast and how their lives have changed. The author, Tim Hatcher, is writing the book because, he says, “A way of living, working and raising a family has changed for the people who have deep roots in the sands of the North Carolina coast. People who have for a long time called the coast their home have a story to tell about the way life used to be. It’s that story that needs to be told”. 

A professor at North Carolina State University, Hatcher says he wants his book to tell people’s real-life stories and explain a way of life that is just hanging on by a thread. 

When asked about other books about the coast, Hatcher replies, “What I have seen and read are some really good books, such as ‘Hatteras Blues’ and, of course, all of David Stick’s books. Many of them include old photos. But I am more interested in the stories that go with the photographs.”

He added, “For me to tell the real story of the North Carolina coast means that I need to find and sit with local folks who have stories to tell.”

Hatcher is asking for help to find people or their relatives or friends who have stories and photos of life and work on the water all along the North Carolina coast, from Corolla to the sounds to Wanchese to Oregon Inlet to Hatteras to Ocracoke to Portsmouth Island, Harkers Island, and Morehead City and south to Southport and Ocean Isle and all points in between. 

“Help me tell your story,” he asks. 

Hatcher says he will be visiting the coast often this spring, starting in March. If you have stories, photographs, or both, please contact Hatcher to set up a visit. He can be reached by mail, phone, or email.

The contact information for Tim Hatcher is:

•    Post: 310M Poe Hall #7801, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695
•    Phone: 919-602-8390
•    Email: [email protected]

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