The name denege rhymes with beige. Many years ago in upstate New York, Denege’s career-preference test indicated she might be an Author, and she thought it was a mistake. At the time, she was a math major. (A semester of differential equations convinced her otherwise.) She switched to psychology, and after a most interesting career as a family therapist, she moved to Bokeelia, Florida where she explored art, archaeology, and authorship. Today she belongs to the Pine Island Writers, the Pine Island Sketch Group, the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society, and the Friends of the Randell Research Center at Pineland, where she leads weekly tours as part of their partnership with Captiva Cruises.
Her 2010 book, Edisonia Native Girl, the Life Story of Florence Keen Sansom, Artist Born on the Edison Estate, Fort Myers, Florida, is an authentic oral history as told to Denege by the daughter of Thomas Edison’s groundskeeper of 1917. Florence’s award-winning art illustrates this beautiful book, which may be purchased at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum Store, or ordered from their website. It is also available from Amazon.com and locally on Pine Island at Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery, Koucky Gallery, Wildchild Gallery, and Randell Research Center. Denege is currently writing three more books. You may read about them on her website at denegecreates.com.
I was born in 1917 in the Caretaker’s Cottage at the Edison Estate in Fort Myers. Dad worked as the caretaker of the property. Mother worked for Mrs. Edison.The Caretaker’s Cottage was also called the “Summerlin House.” In the mid-1800s it was built by Samuel Summerlin for the Cracker Cowboys who drove herds of cattle through Fort Myers. My Dad was a Florida Cracker from Arcadia. Mother was an elegant Swedish lady and I don’t think that she’d ever lived in a Cracker House before, but she really liked Dad. You may visit the Caretaker’s Cottage today at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.