Why was this story so difficult? Reporting and writing August Gale tested me more than any other story in my newspaper career.
A journalist for many years, I had reported on corrupt cops, bad politicians and mothers who lost their children to cancer or car accidents. But I had never written about family.
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How does she recreate a past that he never wanted to talk about? But I later learned that I agonized for nothing.
My father loved the book and he is one of my biggest fans, relentlessly selling August Gale at book stores, the golf course, airports, pizza parlors and even to telemarketers. What do you mean when you talk about the two storms in the book?
August Gale: A Father and Daughter's Journey into the Storm, First Edition -
The book is divided into two storms: the gale and the tempests that my grandfather created. The hurricane was the worst tragedy to strike Marystown, a small Newfoundland outport where my grandfather was born. Every home lost a dad, an uncle, a brother or a son.
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Many grieving mothers had no choice but to place their children in orphanages. My grandfather Ambrose Walsh created his own heartache.
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After leaving Marystown in the mids and settling in Staten Island, Ambrose abandoned my father, uncle and Nana twice only to start a new family in California. There were a lot of similarities between the children who lost their fathers in the hurricane and my dad whose father abandoned him.
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They both shared a sense of loss and grief. Yet, I wondered which was worse: To lose your father in the roiling sea or to be deserted on a cold November night by a man who was your hero, your idol for the first 11 years of your life? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walsh Sammy in the Sky, explores the ties that bound her own family despite death and desertion.
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