David Mossman’s ultimate “who’s your father?” story of life on Hirtle Beach, The Legend of Gladee’s Canteen: Down Home on a Nova Scotia Beach is a Maritime tale of family success and love. And while this is his fourth book about Mossman’s own life and family, unlike some of his other titles, Gladee’s Canteen is a little more light-hearted and fun.
A retired geology professor, Mossman combines his love for family with his love for geology by exploring the life on Hirtle Beach and the surrounding Kingsburg area. His narrative interlaces historical facts about the area with anecdotal evidence, including storytelling from Hirtle family members and his own first-person accounts.
The success of sisters Gladee and Flossie and their determination to show their father that yes, women can be entrepreneurs is a riveting experience of learning not only family history, but geology and environmentalism. The passion for making sure that their story isn’t forgotten is clear in Mossman’s attention to detail. From the minutia of pricing information at the Canteen to the intimate relations of who does what, like Old John being the King of peeling potatoes and apples even in his later years, there seems to be nothing left out.
There were two things I had wished for while reading the book. 1) That I could’ve witnessed the operation of the Canteen in person. 2) And a family tree to keep up with who was related to who and in what way because as a true Maritime story of “who’s your father?” relations, bloodlines can get complicated.
History lovers should be sure to pick this one up off the shelves. Gladee’s Canteen is in the bookstores, now.