"When the sun set on North Manitou Island on September 26, 1979, it marked the end of community life on the island. My husband Ken and I watched 'The Glen Shore' depart the island dock, loaded with farm equipment and one passenger, the last employee of the Manitou Island Association. For the first time in at least 125 years the island would become unoccupied for year-round residents.
"Having spent eleven years as a year-round resident and thirty-three years as a summer resident, I was compelled to write about living on the Island and the lives of early settlers from the 1840's to 1999.
"Living on the island was a challenge. A frozen Lake Michigan once prevented the mail boat from reaching us for forty-one days. There were tragic accidents with no doctor available. There were wonderful times such as Christmas programs in the one room schoolhouse, parties and dancing in the lodge and a Grand Celebration at the end of the cherry harvest with a parade to the island dock carrying the last load bound for the mainland.
"'God and nature made the island beautiful.' The lives of its people make it interesting. These pioneers should not be forgotten.
"For me, the island was home!"
Rita Hadra Rusco, a North Manitou Islander for nearly fifty years, has turned her love for the island into a warm story reflecting not only the island's history but the character, romance and determination of the people. Her writing is rich, frank and full of life as she relates the island history from wilderness to thriving community and its return to wilderness. Her own adventures are intertwined with historical fact. This charming book bears the unmistakable stamp of a perceptive observer with a tale to tell.