Robert E. Clarke reflected his book series character
By Sharon Wass
It is coming on to the first anniversary of my father’s death. So many times, I have caught myself either reaching for the phone, or looking at a view and thinking I must share this with dad. I am sure I will have many more such moments.
Robert E. Clarke a.k.a. Big Bob was a wanderer and a raconteur much like his fictional character Trig Carlisle. There were other similarities as well. Both loved maps, I remember more than one family home with a wall full of maps. An avid interest in history also motivated both.
While Trig found maps and journals in old trunks auctioned off on the wharves of England, my father got them from his monthly subscription to National Geographic, from Canada’s history magazines and from the many places he lived and visited. Although both Robert and Trig tried to treat everyone they met fairly, they shared a bit of a paternalistic attitude at times. That being said, the seven-book series tells an entertaining story set mostly in Alberta and south central B.C.
Trig ventures from Ireland to England then across the ocean in the late 1800s. It was the tail end of the fur trade and the middle of the push for settlement in the Canadian West. While Trig and his companions try to ‘settle the wild west’ the reader meets a cast of colourful characters. His series ends in 1905 with the formation of the Province of Alberta and it brings Trig full circle with a trip back to Ireland.
Although dad is gone, his love of literature lives on in us, his children. His daughter Rose is the Indigenous Outreach Specialist for the Marigold Library System. Rose has written many stories and articles, has completed a junior novel and is working on her second novel.
His late daughter, Daphne was a journalist and publicist with CKUA Radio and One Yellow Rabbit Theatre.
His youngest daughter, Stephanie became a journalist, worked for many years at the Invermere Valley Echo, and she continues to submit freelance articles for various publications (including e-KNOW).
His son, Robert has also integrated writing in his health practice writing articles on healthy living. Although working mainly in various positions in non-profits, his daughter Sandi found she enjoyed writing grant applications, year end reports, newsletters and press releases.
I work as an educator, has published a fairy tale, two biographies, historic plays and is working on some short stories.
Many bookstores and gift shops carry Robert Clarke’s books. Anyone who would like information about purchasing books can email [email protected] .
I think of dad every time I travel to a new place. I think of him as I soak in Canada’s boundless natural beauty. I am glad I inherited his wanderlust. I am proud that he passed on his love of learning to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.