“and just like that, she took off her shoes & returned to her mermaid world.”
On The Road!!!
It doesn’t seem real, but we actually got to go somewhere!!! We all took our Covid tests, which are nasty and sting (in case no one tells you) but thankfully quick!
We had never been to Cape Cod and I’m so glad we went. Charming houses, everyone is wearing a mask (even kids). Gorgeous huge bunches of hydrangea bushes. We stayed at Chatham and it is an easy walk into town for ice cream, dinner and the like. At the beach were tons of seals frolicking in the cold water. Supposedly because of the sand bar in front sharks do not come into this area. Still I wouldn’t go far out (for many reasons, least of one being the woman who brought her screaming daughter with a swimsuit FULL OF POOP to the water’s edge to clean it!!!). I hope you can find a way for a little respite, it was quite cleansing of the soul, and great family time, basically off devices playing UNO and poker (using huge Smartie candy chips from the local candy store). So very grateful for the time.
So much has been cancelled (again) this month; the Old Spanish Days Parade, Tempsst and I were supposed to be in it, Hawaii!!! On and On.
Widow’s Walk or Fire Station
So many widow’s walks in Chatham. It’s a New England kind-a-thing. The widow’s walk is a variation of the Italianate cupola (which is enclosed, these are not) Very often they leaked which, like our house, is under constant maintenance (don’t get my husband started!)
There are many theories as to how these walks came about, one being wives of mariners would climb up to the top of the home to gaze out to sea looking for the return of their husbands after months, years sometimes at sea. All that gazing out at blue was often in vain, as so many sailors lost their lives, especially along the Cape which is supposedly treacherous. These structures are similar to a crow’s nest, which is (was?) a platform or shelter that was basically a lookout near the top of a ship’s mast. I don’t boat so can’t vouch for terms, etc.
These walks might only have been to monitor shipping activity in nearby harbors and have nothing to do with women in crinoline pacing back and forth as the fog descended, crying a tempest looking for a love that remained out to sea.
A less romantic reason for these walks, might have been merely to fight chimney fires from above. Widow’s walks have been featured in many books, one good one that comes to mind is “House of Sand and Fog.” If I’m remembering correctly there is a widow’s walk in the book, if not, it’s still a great read.
In James Michener’s book “Chesapeake” (God I loved his books, epics which just aren’t written anymore) he claims the name widow’s walk “derived from the romantic tales of those loyal women who continued to keep watch for a ship that had long gone to the bottom of the coral reef.”
Working in Santa Barbara
I did work. Another modeling job locally. Few on the set and crew with masks all social distance. Proud to work and represent my city.
A Dream of Death
I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand,
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land,
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
She was more beautiful than thy first love,
But now lies under boards
And so, begins the beautiful book “The Indifferent Stars Above” a harrowing saga about the Donner party. I didn’t know much about this history beyond they resorted to eating each other. I didn’t know some made it, I didn’t realize the tragic mistakes that caused so many to die (not from their own fault).
There have been other incidences of groups of survivors forced to eat their fellow man (woman/child). I think what made it especially hard for the Donner party was the fact religion played heavily on their conscious so even if their fellow friend was dead and resembled breakfast, they had a hard time.
The book (loosely) follows Sarah Graves, a young woman, newly married and setting out with her parents and siblings for California in 1846. The first mistake the party made was starting out so late in the season. They had been warned winter was coming. Three heavy wagons pulled by oxen, stuffed with everything they wanted and could bring to their new world and new life.
The group eventually joins up with George Donner and his party. Some of the group would split off going separate directions as there was a difference of opinion as to which path was the safest and quickest. Sarah, her family and the Donners stopped in the foots of The Sierra Nevada Mountains, which loomed, covered in snow. They could not cross through the now impenetrable pass and so built a few small cabin-like structures where they all pile in. There is little warmth, food or privacy. It wasn’t long before they began to starve.
Sarah and fourteen others strapped hastily made snowshoes on and set out by foot for California. It is unthinkable to us today with the luxuries and knowledge we have at our fingertips. They didn’t have satellites, phones, engines, endless gadgets that make our lives both more complicated and safer. Including maps. They had to trust the anecdotal evidence of those that went before that the path they were taking was correct and passable. The maps weren’t always truthful and the men holding them either, which lead to disaster. Most of them were wholly unequipped for the journey, eventually selling, eating, losing their cattle, horses and oxen, leaving behind wagons and walking. Walking, trudging through waist high snow and slipping on ice and pulling themselves up granite walls. How anyone lived is a miracle.
These were brave, hardy people. Those that survived would never be the same.
The book is gripping, harrowing and heartbreaking. Actually, quite surprising. Just makes one wonder, what am I made of? Or who would I eat first?
Adela Rogers St. John (a personal inspiration)
My latest article about “A Woman You Should Know” was inspired by HBO’s “Perry Mason.” It is about journalist Adela Rogers St. John who I am just realizing influenced by writing. She was the first of many things, a cub reporter at 17 or 18, she profiled all the stars of her day. They became her friends, such as Joan Crawford, Mary Pickford, Clark Gable and on and on. Her father was arguably the world’s greatest criminal trial attorney and the inspiration for Perry Mason. Here is the link.
If you can give it a comment and a clap or a share that would be swell.
Burlesque and Pinup Emojis
If your BOOK CLUB would like me to visit via Skype, I’m available. It’s been fun coming into your homes, sending specialty FAN cocktailrecipes before for you all to try. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to join in. A questionnaire is on the website to download for your Book Club.
Another beautiful read from Lisa Wingate (also on my Write for Success). It is a book about family, who and what makes family. The past and how it informs the generations who come next. It’s a great read! I also read a few books set in Chatham, in Cape Cod, which I like to do when I travel, but nothing I can recommend. Feeling violent during Covid, I read another best-seller from Meg Gardiner “The Shadow Tracer” and I loved it. I’m on book 70 for the year! What are you reading?
And what I’m reading or recently read
for complete list, I have everything on Good Reads
as I can’t remember them all!
See ya between the pages next month. . .. it’s back to school . . . whatever that means.