PUBLISHED: 4:48 PM on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Through the storms of life
Author describes arduous childhood in new memoir

Carol Feller Brady has endured her fair share of heartache, but she has continued to push through difficult years to find contentment. In her new autobiography, "Through the Storm and Towards the Sun," she chronicles both fond memories and painful ordeals.

A native of Sitka, Brady paints a picture of her childhood in the extreme Northern Hemisphere. Just six of her parents' 11 children were still living, and Brady was one of two remaining daughters.E She describes life on the beaches of Alaska, the annual fishing expedition they would take to catch fish for canning and the preparations the family would make for winter. Her early childhood was filled with happiness, a deep love for her older brothers and an affection for the breathtaking scenic beauty of her surroundings and the historic landmarks of the Russian era.

After three of her sisters succumbed to illness, Brady's father also fell ill. Even through eight bed-ridden years, her father provided strength and wisdom. His death was just the beginning of more traumatic episodes. Her brothers and two other close relatives went on a hunting trip and all drowned. The despair that washed over her family never subsided. Her mother fought anguish for years before her death, and Brady's most difficult years were just beginning.

At 11, she was forced to live with her sister, Flora, who had shown disdain for her throughout her life. Flora and her husband treated Brady like hired help and loaded her with mandatory chores each day. Her health suffered, and she dropped out of school. The work and frustration nearly killed her. Later, she went to a strict government school, and only when she reached adult age was she able to have some control over her life. Marriage and children brought her the happiness she had longed for all those years.

A heart-wrenching story, "Through the Storm and Toward the Sun" is a telling collection of memories from a woman whose strength propelled her through unbearable times. Written primarily for her children, her memories teach all readers about the power to endure the worst circumstances and etch out a place in the world that brings peace.

Brady was born in Sitka during the Great Depression. Sheldon Jackson School and Totem Park, her childhood playground, were at the location of the battle of Sitka in 1804. After her graduation from the Wrangell Institute, she worked at the school for many years.