Ann Combs - Local Interest, Memoirs, Children's Books
Ann Combs' versatility as a writer is reflected in the variety of her writings. In her children's book How Old is Old (1987) Combs gently explains the concept of old age to young children. In the recently published Sunrise to Sunrise: Vincent Gowen’s Memoirs (2008), Combs and her co-author Geoffrey Gowen chronicle the life of their father Vincent Gowen. Gowen was the revered Bainbridge educator, author and vicar of St. Barnabas Church, and a Bainbridge island legend. However, Ann Combs is best known for the humorous accounts of her own life. Helter Shelter (1979) tells the hilarious story of fixing up a large dilapidated house on Bainbridge Island. It is, as one reviewer puts it, "a funny warm-hearted book that makes high comedy of domestic travail and takes family togetherness from the heights of a leaky rook to the depths of a faulty septic system." Along the way, Combs does not fail to highlight the idiosyncracies of some residents of our cherished island. In Smith College Never Taught Me How to Salute (1981) Combs recounts her life as a military wife, and in We'll Laugh about This... Someday (1983) she tells her story of raising a large and boisterous family. One critic says of the book "It is funny, sometimes sad, and frequently wise", a comment that applies to all of the writings by this gem of an author.