Digest>Archives> May 2002

Women of the Light

Sally Snowman’s Lighthouse “Soul Work”

By Jeremy D'Entremont


You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Photo by: Jay Thomson.

Massachusetts’ Sally Snowman is an educator, author, Coast Guard Auxiliarist, and lighthouse preservationist. She explains why she has put thousands of volunteer hours into lighthouse-related work by saying, “I see it as my soul work. Lighthouses have always had a spiritual meaning for me, like a guiding light for peace and inner guidance.”

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Photo by: Bill Farmer

Sally was born into a boating family in Weymouth on Boston’s South Shore, and her parents often took her to the islands of Boston Harbor. After graduating from college, Sally didn’t have the money to buy a boat, so she joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary. “This was great! Not only did I get free boat rides, but training as well,” she says.

Sally met Jay Thomson during Coast Guard Auxiliary training. Once when they were in a boat passing Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, Sally remarked that she had always fantasized about getting married there. Jay immediately replied. “Let me know when you want to do it.” A year later they decided to set the date.

On October 8, 1994, Jay and Sally went out to Little Brewster Island on a friend’s 32-foot sailboat named True Love. The 22 guests arrived on one sailboat and two powerboats. After the ceremony the tower was opened for guests to climb. “I think the tower tour was as much the highlight of the trip as the wedding!” Sally says.

Boston Light is now the only staffed lighthouse in the United States. Just a month after their wedding Sally and Jay went back to Little Brewster to do their first lighthouse duty as Auxiliarists. They now spend four to five weeks a year volunteering as “watchstanders,” or assistant lighthouse keepers. Sally says that life moves at a slower pace on Little Brewster. “Although the city skyline is visible just 10 miles away, we’re disconnected from its hub-bub. Things that were worrisome on the mainland shift into a clearer perspective.”

Researching Boston Light’s past became another passionate pursuit. The book Boston Light: A Historical Perspective, published in 1999, was the culmination of five years of research by Sally and Jay. The almost 300-page book is the most extensive ever published on America’s first light station.

Now, a 26-year veteran of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Sally owns a 20-foot outboard dubbed the SBLS (Sally’s Boston Light Shuttle). Appointed as a liaison between the Coast Guard and the National Park Service, Sally has developed an Interpreter Training Guide and a Watchstander Training Guide. In 2001 alone, Sally made approximately 70 trips on the SBLS from Weymouth to Little Brewster Island.

Sally has another career that includes her private practice, the Snowman Learning Center, where she provides services to individuals with learning challenges and consults for schools and educational organizations. She has written three books on learning issues including unique learning styles, learning disabilities, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. She is a part-time instructor at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, and has made presentations at conferences around the country.

Sally is the Chair for the International Lighthouse Conference Planning Committee. The conference, which will be held in New Bedford, Massachusetts next September, will focus on educating children to be stewards of lighthouse history. Sally explains why she got involved by saying, “If children develop an appreciation for lighthouses, then I believe there is hope for lighthouses to be preserved.”

This story appeared in the May 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.

to Lighthouse Digest

USLHS Marker Fund

Lighthouse History
Research Institute

Shop Online

Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Copyright Foghorn Publishing, 1994- 2024   Lighthouse Facts     Lighthouse History