On Friday morning, I had the great privilege of delivering a newly published book to a client. My husband Bob helped me transfer thirteen boxes of Lest I Forget: The Wagner Family, Pioneers of Trellis Bay, Beef Island, BVI from the backseat of my car to the living room of the author, Mabel Wagner. Even Mabel’s little Cairn Terrier Mischief seemed to know this was a special day and danced and jumped around in celebration.
In Lest I Forget, Mabel tells the amazing story of how during 1949 through 1958 she and her husband, Captain Wladek Wagner, took Trellis Bay of the uninhabited Beef Island—one of the thirty-two islands which comprised the British Virgin Islands—and made it their home, built a boatyard, beach cottages, a clubhouse, a small airstrip, and opened this paradise to the world.
About this endeavor, Mabel says:
I admit I did not exactly share Wladek’s vision at the beginning, but his enthusiasm was hard to resist, and it was hard not to get caught up with the excitement of each tiny success. A novice at this kind of work, I became fascinated by what could be accomplished with next to nothing coupled with lots of ingenuity and hard work. This was basic training at its best, and I had the best teacher at my side.
Captain Wladek Wagner published his story of circumnavigating the globe under the Polish flag in a book titled By the Sun and Stars, released in 1986. He was the first Pole to accomplish such a feat and was only twenty years old when he first set sail on Zjawa. It took Wagner six years and three boats to complete his journey, but the outbreak of WWII prevented his return to Poland.
This past Monday, September 17th would have been Wladek Wagner’s 100th birthday—he passed away in 1992— and many places around the globe, including Poland, the United States and the British Virgin Islands, celebrated his life and accomplishments in re-enactments, regattas and festivals.
In writing Lest I Forget, Mabel believes the journey she and Wladek began in 1948 is now complete.