Friday, July 24, 2015


Last week Lou Ann interviewed Della Gaskill for an Ocracoke Preservation Society "Porch Talk." Della operates a small gift shop on her property next to the Assembly of God Church. She was born on Ocracoke in 1937, and she has many stories to tell about "Growing up on Ocracoke Island" (that's the subtitle of her memoir, A Blessed Life).

Della's book is full of fascinating local lore, island history, first-hand stories, and vintage photos. Chapter titles include "Hotcakes, Turtle Stew and Other Recipes for Love," "World War II Comes to Ocracoke," "The Storm of '44 and Other Storms at Ocracoke," "School Days," "The Ocracoke Ponies," "Figs, Figs and More Figs," and much more.

Look for Della at her shop on Lighthouse Road, and take home a copy of her book for a glimpse into island life more than a half century ago. A Blessed Life is available from Della, at Village Craftsmen, and at other island businesses.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter tells the delightful story of the 19th century "Stovepipe Hat" wreck. It has been told for years in books & magazines, but it probably never happened. You can read the story (and my research) here:


  1. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Della is the gran dame of Ocracoke. So sweet and so charming. Plus the queen of the Fig Cake - won again last year. A visit with her will brighten any day. Her fig preserves will make your belly sing with joy!! Jude W

  2. Marie from PA11:48 AM

    With her ever present smile, Della is truly a gem of Ocracoke. I was fortunate to have been there for her porch talk last week and enjoyed every minute. A highlight of my trips to Ocracoke is spending time at Della's shop listening to her talk about her life growing up on Ocracoke. I always come away with some new stories, a piece of her handmade jewelry and lots of fig goodies - especially her cake! When reading her book, you can almost hear her speaking. What pleasure. As always, it is a delight to read your informative articles. Thank you, Philip.

  3. I would love to read this book! Is there anyway to have it shipped? I adore ocracoke island and would love to read her stories!-lindsay

    1. You can order the book by following this link:

  4. God bless our Della! I missed visiting with her when I came down earlier this year but got a sweet note recently and am glad to see she's out and about, sharing her wonderful stories. Love her dearly.