Monday, March 24, 2008

The fisherman from the Island came one day.

When I was a little girl about 4 years old, I lived with my mother and younger brother in a home that is like a town house. The neighbors were close together and the houses were in an association. When we walked into the front door, we immediately had to go up the stairs to the main floor. It was a small but open floor plan with the kitchen to the right of the living room. The bedrooms were behind the livingroom, down the hallway.

One day the doorbell rang. I ran down the stairs to see who was there. I was hoping it was AnneMarie, my best friend next door. It was a fisherman from the island. He was standing in the pouring rain when he asked me, "is your moth- ah home?". Knowing that I was not to let anyone in, I closed the door in his face, ran upstairs and told my mother that the fisherman from the island was here.

She looked confused, but I knew he was the fisherman from the island.

I knew it because he was wearing a yellow rain hat and raincoat. The kind of rainhat that is round on top with a large flap around it to keep water off of your face and a thin snap strap under your neck. The raincoat was long with the metal flip buttons down the front and sleeves that fall past your hand. I don't know why the color yellow was always so bright, I think it is in case you needed to see each other if you were fishing in the morning fog.

He stood solid and stocky like the fishermen on the island. He had a strong face that looked like it had been carved in wood. He had a familiar face with kind eyes and I knew he was one of the people from our island. I definitely knew he was from the island because he asked if my "moth-ah" was home. Those people on the island say things like that, "moth-ah". Here, we say "mother". We also say "car" but they say "cah". So you see, I knew that he was a fisherman from the island.

My mother went down the stairs and answered the door. She looked out, laughed and called up the stairs. "It is your grandfather".

"Yeah" I said. "from the island".

My grandfather moved in with us because my grandparents were divorcing. My mother was born on an island off of the cape called Martha's Vineyard. She met my dad at the Tisbury fair, his family long time descendents from up island; West Tisbury. The story goes that he was working the carousel at the county fair when she was riding it. He wouldn't let her off the ride until she promised him a date. That's how my parents met and planned their first date.

As a child, the island was simply; the island. We went every summer to see all of our grandparents and many relatives. Everyone on the island was related, it seemed. It didn't occur to me until I was older that the island even had a name as it was simply our island. I would be told, "we are going to the island to visit Ma and Grampy". Or, "Mikey caught some striped bass and is sending some up from the island". My favorite was when my great grandmother mailed us a care package from Oak Bluffs with popcorn bars, then I'd hear, "There's a package from the island!" Martha's Vineyard. That was "the island".

But this isn't a story about the island that calls to all of its descendents with a drawing that is super natural. I believe that even the saltiness of the water can be tasted in our blood.....and the seagulls cry out for us to return soon as we leave. Its a compelling relationship the island has on her children. But like I said, this story is about the day my grandfather came to live with us and the very beginings of spiritual abuse. The very early labor pains that would later in life prepare my personality to allow for abuse in the name of Jesus. See, abuse doesn't just "happen" but little things happen in our lives that slowly tear down our boundaries or teach us twisted messages about what is safe or "ok". It sets us up to be a person who allows for manipulative and controlling personalities to get a foothold in our lives.

I wouldn't know it at the time but my grandfather would marry a woman down the road. She had 4 children from her previous marriage and they attended the Assembly of God church in our town.

There was a lot more that came to my home that rainy day when a loving fisherman showed up from the island.

at the time I was too young and innocent to understand what would unfold. For me, that moment was simply marked as the day the fisherman came to live with us.


Tera Rose said...

This one is for Judy....aka JAWS.

Jayne said...

Very poignant story tera rose. Makes me want to give you a warm hug.

Sherry at the Zoo said... mentioned the name of the church and I felt that "Oh NO" in my heart. The Assembly churches around here are pretty scary. I'm so sorry.

Sherry from the Zoo