Crackers in the Glade is a visually stunning account of bygone days in the Everglades. The largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades hold a unique place among all the world’s wetlands. Through his writings and illustrations, fisherman, guide, and self-taught artist Rob Storter transports us to the remote, half-wild frontier of southwest Florida in the early part of the twentieth century. There, the events of a day could range from a hurricane to a face-to-face encounter with a panther to the arrival of the latest packet from Key West.As Storter recalls his travels through the great swamp and its estuaries, he imparts an old-timer’s grasp of the fantastic array of plant and animal life the Everglades once supported. Looking back over a life closely linked to the water, he chronicles how mechanized methods eclipsed the more sustainable approach of fishing as the livelihood of locals who were attuned to natural cycles and worked by necessity on a small scale.
Crackers in the Glade is also a story of family and community, of daily joys and setbacks. Here, Marilea Storter’s recollections, some of which are included in the book, add depth and detail. By turns the family doctor, cook, teacher, and moral anchor, Marilea held husband Rob and their children together through times when the best house they had was a tent and medical care consisted of castor oil and prayers.
Rob Storter knew the Everglades before commercial fishing, real estate development, drainage projects, and tourism changed the region forever. Through his illustrations we can celebrate its wonders; through his writings we can contemplate the mixed benefits of progress and the responsibilities of stewardship.