Book Review: That Went By Fast

That Went by FastFrank White wrote a remarkable autobiography, That Went by Fast: My First Hundred Years. A Canadian born in 1914, White spins a lively, event-filled story. His life was far from ideal or genteel–it was full of hard work, grit and the kind of knowledge you learn the hard way.

When his mother is widowed, White, still a young boy, works to help the family. By age thirteen he has two professions: butcher and truck driver. He marries Kay when he’s 25 and soon goes into the logging business.

White describes the early days of British Columbia’s gyppo logging, and his descriptions are harrowing. Raising a family in logging camps, learning various types of logging, moving logs on water, surviving logging camps in the dead of winter—the stories of sheer survival are incredible.

As his family grows, White becomes owner of a gas station in Pender Harbour, B.C. which proves to be non-stop work and worry. They ride the tide of 1970s hippies which causes a lot of local friction. In White’s view, while the hippies seems hopelessly inept, many of them find their way into worthy occupations. After several years, the Whites sell the garage and White travels first to Alaska, and then eventually abroad. Typical of White, he travels the back roads, sees the countries and people with fresh inquisitive eyes, always open to learning new ways.

White has a piercingly honest way of describing people, situations and places. He’s a tough man with low tolerance of flakiness and frills. I loved this book, the honesty of living a full life, of owning up to wrong-doing and living with regrets, but generally attempting to do the right thing. He’s lived from the horse-and-buggy days to jet travel, from scratching notes on paper to computers. White says “living to the age of one hundred is not all it’s cracked up to be, but it has some pluses.” He’s taken it all in and put his own mark on it. It’s an amazing story.

A Logger’s Daughter: Growing up in Washington’s Woods

Joan Rawlins Husby’s delightful memoir, A Logger’s Daughter: Growing up in Washington’s Woods gives readers a poignant view of the life and times of growing up in Washington’s wilderness in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Joan Rawlins was born just months before her parents, Delbert and Marie Rawlins’, moved from North Dakota to Washington’s Robe Valley, at the foot of Mt. Pilchuck. The Rawlins lived in a tiny cabin until Joan’s father could build a larger cabin of scrounged material. Eventually, the Rawlins had five children who played in the great outdoors with other loggers’ children.

Husby shares with readers a life of growing up in Washington’s forests, the daughter of a logger. Although her parents didn’t have a lot of ready cash and worked hard for every advantage they had, there was always food on the table and love to spare. The family was years in getting electricity and running water. Their “bathroom” was a two-holer a distance from the house. Heating fuel was wood, hand-cut and split. They raised chickens for eggs and meat, and rabbits for meat and skins to sell to Sears, Roebuck and Company.

If logging was shut down by fire, strike or snow, Husby’s father earned money by making roofing shakes, or taking on any job that would put food on the table.

Equally interesting is Husby’s writing of the area’s history. When they arrived in Robe Valley, most of the timber was virgin. Many of the cedar trees were as wide in diameter as her father was tall. In the early days, timber was cut by hand-saw. Raging rivers changed the lay of the land. The purpose of railroads evolved from mining to tourism.

Husby creates vivid pictures of family and landscape, giving the reader a taste of yesteryear and a glimpse of a childhood in a pre-tech age.

I highly recommend this memoir of a simple life in a simpler time. Many will relate to at least parts of this book, while others will marvel at the grit it took to simply survive deep into Washington’s woods.

To purchase a copy of A Logger’s Daughter, visit or contact the author, Joan Husby <>.