My love affair with Chincoteague began long before my grandparents moved there in 1961. In fact, it started with this book.
Marguerite Henry, born in 1902, had rheumatic fever as a child and was bedridden for six long years, between the ages of 6 and 12. For Christmas one year, she was given a writing desk, and with the help of pen and paper and a vibrant imagination, she began to write. “At last,” she said, “I had a world of my own.”
This prolific children’s author had her first story published when she was just 11 years old. What an encouragement that must have been. She went on to publish 59 books, mostly stories of real-life animals (like Misty) and books that taught about the geography of faraway lands.
She actually traveled to Chincoteague to research Misty, absorbing the “feel” of the island, and her writing conveys that well. Her 1947 “Misty of Chincoteague” helped Pony Penning become a tourist event and the island a beloved destination. I inherited my original copy of Misty from my aunt; the one shown here is a replacement.
Married at age 21, Miss Henry and her husband of 64 years never had children of their own. Still, millions have been impacted through her beloved stories. By the way, the real Misty died in 1972. Miss Henry lived to the age of 95, dying in 1997.