Totch: A Life in the Everglades
In the mysterious wilderness of swamps, marshes, and rivers of the Florida Everglades, Totch Brown hung up his career as alligator hunter and commercial fisherman to become, briefly, a self-confessed pot smuggler. Before the marijuana money rolled in, he survived excruciating poverty in one of the most primitive and beautiful spots on earth, Chokoloskee Island, nestled in the mangrove keys of the Ten Thousand Islands, located at the western gateway to the Everglades National Park. Until he wrote this memoir - recollections from his childhood in the twenties that merge with reflections on a way of life dying at the hands of progress in the nineties - Totch had never read a book in his life. Told with energy and authenticity, his story begins with the handful of souls who came to the area a hundred years ago to homestead on the high ground formed from oyster-shell mounds built and left by the Calusa Indians. They lived close to nature in shacks built of tin or palmetto fans; they ate wild meat, "Chokoloskee chicken" (white ibis), swamp cabbage, even - when they were desperate - manatee; and they weathered all manner of natural disaster from hurricanes to swarms of "swamp angels" (mosquitoes). His grandparents were both contemporaries of Ed J. Watson, the subject of Peter Matthiessen's best-selling Killing Mr. Watson, and Totch is featured with Matthiessen in the recent award-winning PBS film Lost Man's River: An Everglades Adventure. He also appeared in Wind Across the Everglades, the 1957 movie in which he and Burl Ives sing some of Totch's Florida cracker songs.
Author: Loren G. Brown
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Release Date: 1993-09-20