Mar 19, 2005 – When Emy Thomas, author of "Life in the Left Lane," was born in Connecticut in 1933 nothing pointed her to spending most of her life on St. Croix, but there were some indications that she would be a writer. Both her parents were English teachers.
She said in a recent interview, "I had a good foundation in grammar and literature early in life."
Her father, who was also her English teacher in junior high, encouraged her to get into journalism, and after graduation from Wellesley, several years before Hillary Clinton went there, she did. She worked on newspapers in Connecticut and then moved to New York where she worked on the Herald Tribune and the World Telegram. Those were great newspapers in their days, but both are gone now.
After that she went to Puerto Rico. She worked on the same newspaper that Hunter S. Thompson, the famous gonzo journalist, worked on, but a couple years after he had passed through San Juan.
She began making visits to St. Croix in the 60s. She said, "I always thought I would like to end up here, and I did."
But she did not move directly from Puerto Rico to St. Croix. First, she spent 13 years cruising the oceans on a forty-five-foot catamaran with her friend, Peter. She said, "Sometimes, we would stay on an island for a day or two, or a year or two. It all depended."
She said that the islands in the Pacific are completely different in character from islands in the Caribbean, but added that she thought each island in the Caribbean was different in its character from other Caribbean islands.
She quit the roaming life in 1987 and settled by Salt River Bay where she still lives. She thought she might have some answers for people who were taking up the life she was leaving behind and her first book – "Home Is Where the Boat Is" – was born. It was published in 1993 and is still available in local bookstores.
Her second book, "Life in the Left Lane," a practical guide to living on St. Croix, was published in 2003 and is also available just about anywhere books are sold on St. Croix. She said, "Nobody is getting rich off the books," but she is satisfied that they continue to have moderate sales.
About a third book, she is not sure. She said, "I don't have a subject now. If I get one I will write the book."
In her home, overlooking the Salt River landing of Columbus, which has a pool for her to do her laps, and which is surrounded by flowers, she said her biggest contribution to the island is her book "Life in the Left Lane." She said that she has heard of many people using the book for reference and it has, on at least one occasion, been the reason a person has moved to St. Croix.
Right now, a person is likely to run into Emy if they get involved with activities of the St. Croix Environmental Association. The number a hiker, snorkerler or stargazer calls to reserve a spot at an event is usually Emy's.
She said she doesn't "get out on the street" to support initiatives like SEA's recent push for an ecological friendly sewage treatment plant, but she does support those efforts.
According to Emy, her winters of childhood were enjoyable – skiing, skating and tobogganing. But when asked if she missed them, she said, "Absolutely not. I went to work when it was dark. I came home it was dark. I was never warm. I was glad to find there was a place you could live that wasn't like that."
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