Something different. Several years ago I wrote a journal entry in an earlier blog at Diaryland. I put it there just to keep a record of what had happened to me at that pivotal time in my life, back in 1985 – before and during my courtship with Paul. So here it is, reprinted here.
11 August 2006
Departing from the usual yada-yada about daily life, I found a journal I had written back in 1985, when I first met up with Paul and we began our relationship. I wanted to put it down here, in case anything ever happens to the journal, and in case anyone wants to read about it, so here goes. I’ll do a few days’ worth, but they are longish.
July 9, 1985
At The Fort, at 6:00 a.m. Walking up the entrance, I met Paul – my lobsterman – and spoke with him for a minute. He’s just a beautiful person. Out there on his boat – preparing for a day’s work on the sea. How I long to be with him. He’s on his way out now. He waved back to me. I wonder if I dare ask to go with him some morning. I’ve got to do it or I’ll never rest.
This morning there is a beautiful breeze coming up from the southwest direction. The sun has risen, but an hour before, and has formed a light parade down the water from the horizon right to the rocks here at The Fort.
This place is so special. And each time I come here, it is more special. Old Boyfriend2 (OB2) came here with me yesterday at lunchtime and we had an ice cream cone. That was nice. I really like OB2, but there are so many complications about him that I must find a way out. So far I’ve been unsuccessful in that regard. Old Boyfriend1 (OB1) is feeling the distance. I’ve loved him for so long now that I couldn’t think what life would be like without his love. I’ve got to make some decisions though. I feel like a caterpillar about to make the change to a butterfly.
I have found a piece of heaven to hold onto right here in my home town. It’s been here all along and I’ve not seen it as clearly as I do now.
Seeing and talking with Paul made it all seem real. He said he can’t get away from lobstering, that you can’t make any money at it. I love that. He knows what he loves and does it, day in and day out. If only we all could be as true to ourselves.
More lobster boats are leaving the harbor for the sea. This is the most beautiful time of day. I do want to make it down here for a sunrise, though. I’d have to check the paper, but in the summer it’s pretty early. Maybe on the weekend I’ll do it. But I’d like to take a camera with me.
How can I stop liking OB2? I want him but I don’t want to want him. It’s getting my mind all cluttered. I could fall in love again, I know that. But is that what life is all about? Falling in and out of love? Am I destined to become a human yo-yo in the game of love?
The powerful sun is searing into my face, warming my bones. It feels so lovely.
So far, there have only been two other people here at The Fort. One had a dog and one was a runner. A man and a woman. And I just sit here with my coffee and donut, like an idiot, writing in this notebook.
Today I will get another lesson on my IBM PC at work. The day looks good so far. Starting it off early here at The Fort is good for me. It puts the important things up front in my mind – so all day I can draw on the memory of the time spent here. My photograph of the harbor from Fort Beach is hanging at work to remind me of this beauty all day long. When I need it, it’s there.
Another male runner just went by.
The birds are singing a lovely tune to me now. They must start to wake up around 6:30.
There is one thing which bothers me. When the sun is not out, when the clouds roll over the earth, when all is enshrouded in haze – will I still want to come here? Or rather, WILL I STILL come here? My first impression is that I will turn over in bed and say “forget it!” But I’ll not experience the harbor by mist, the birds waking up at 6:30, Paul motoring out to his traps as usual. All these things happen every day, whether I’m here or not. But I feel that I want to be here – to be part of it all.
Here comes another man and his dog. Sometimes I think dogs are just an excuse to come to The Fort. But why do we need excuses? Why not just come here for the sheer beauty of it because, without a doubt, this spot is heaven on earth.
July 10, 1985
So much to write here.
Since yesterday at this time, I got up the courage to leave a note in Paul’s truck, asking him if he’d mind if I went out lobstering with him some weekend. I left my work and home phone numbers and all day I hoped he’d call, but he didn’t. Then, at 8 p.m., he called me at home to say he’d be pleased to take me out. What a trooper!
I realize he’s the shy type, as I am underneath – and it was probably hard for him to call me. Anyway, we set it for Saturday morning at 6:30 at Fort Beach. I’m counting the hours.
Now, OB2 is going to Portland, Maine, today. I kind of hoped that I could have gone with him, but since it’s only Wednesday, I must stay and work at the office. He keeps promising to take me to Maine, but I think I’ll not count on that too much. Somehow, I must find a way to fall out of love/like with him, as I’ve mentioned before. Anyway, instead of going to Maine, he suggested we meet at the Driftwood for coffee at 6 a.m. this morning. I was coming to The Fort anyway, so here I am, like a school kid, waiting in the Landing parking lot for him (OB2) to show up. I thought, while I waited, I’d enter some of my news in here.
Somehow I am beginning to feel much better since I’ve been writing everything down. I suppose it’s not really a good idea to put all of one’s personal life onto paper like this, but I have been feeling really locked up inside lately.
He’s late, of course. Why am I always early for everything?
I realized when I woke up this morning that it was pouring rain and it didn’t exactly look like the kind of day to be visiting The Fort. But in the last hour, the rain has stopped, and now, here at the harbor, the sky seems to be clearing up somewhat. Of course, all the regulars at the Driftwood don’t care about the rain, and they show up no matter what it’s doing outside. I think I’ll wait til about 6:15 and then get my coffee and take a towel with me and go up to The Fort anyway. Yesterday I was just mentioning that I wondered if bad weather would keep me away from my favorite spot on God’s earth. Well, now we’ll find out!
It’s 6:08 already, and no OB2. Oh well. He probably thought I wouldn’t make it because of the rain – little does he know me, I guess. Though I’ve always felt that OB2 knew me almost as well as I do. We have always been totally in tune with each other.
I guess it’s getting late enough now that he’s not coming, so I think I’ll end this barrage of words and get to my business at hand, and that is to take advantage of The Fort. To make up for lost time spent away from the water and to start to enjoy life here in this little heaven known as Marblehead.
July 11, 1985
This is the way to live! Rising very early and getting down to The Fort in time for the lobstermen to be just leaving for their traps. Whenever I look forward to something a lot, something goes wrong with my plans. Yesterday, I almost thought OB2 would not show up for our early morning date, but after I finished writing here, I went into the Driftwood, got my coffee and headed back to my car, when OB2 came driving up. His alarm had not gone off, so he got up about the same time I had arrived at The Landing. Anyway, we had a very pleasant coffee hour together. We sat on the bench at The Landing, amongst the raindrops, exchanging various forms of chatter like we do always. When it began to rain, we sat in his car for a while.
So far this morning I’ve stopped to talk with Paul, “my lobsterman,” with whom I’ll be spending this next Saturday – out on the Atlantic, lobster fishing! He inquired about my new last name of “Meade,” wondering if I were married again and whether or not there might be a jealous husband to contend with. I set his mind at ease, explaining about the origin of that name (I changed it to Meade after I divorced my first husband who didn’t particularly want me living my life with HIS last name any more! – My hero was Margaret Mead, so I legally changed my name to Rebecca Meade in her honor) and he seemed pleased. I don’t even know if he’s married or not either! But I do know that same teenage crush I felt for Paul, back about 23 years ago, still lives in my heart. I can’t believe it’s been so long – 23 years! He’s so pure and untarnished still. I wish I had something to offer him besides friendship, and maybe love, but I’m afraid that is all I can offer most people these days. I guess that’s not such a bad thing, though – friendship and love. For what else is there in life that anyone would want?
I want to write another poem. My last one was just a fluke, I think. So far, everyone who has read it has liked it. It may even be published in the next Marblehead Magazine, if Bill’s word is good! Bill (husband #1 – divorced from him in 1977) called me yesterday to say he liked it. He’s a funny bird. He made me laugh yesterday when I was feeling particularly low and depressed.
OB2 was not feeling right and his moods affect me immensely. I wish I could be more of a strength for him, when he needs me most. I find myself in the same boat as he is in – mood-wise, that is.
(A dog is eating the donut I threw out for the birds.)
The time is 6:30 a.m. I just noticed that the birds are coming to life all around me. Each day they wake up at the same time, it’s really weird!
The sun rising over Cat Island is just beautiful. There is a little mist over the island, but it looks only temporary.
I really think that the caretaker here at The Fort should raise the flag earlier than he does. One morning last weekend he didn’t raise it until around 10 or 11 a.m.! It should be up with the Sun! When the lobstermen leave, they should look back on the flag as a reminder of what is allowing them to pursue their particular line of work that is so free and full of love.
Some morning I’m going to get a real good shot (photo) of Paul’s boat at sunrise.
Today, I’m having lunch with my friend, Barbara. I try to go out with her once a week and, so far, we’ve hit it about 99% of the time. When she’s on vacation, of course, we miss a week. But I need her friendship. She leaves me alone and yet she cares about me. I do love her. But I think she just thinks I’m crazy.
Gary Welsh (the computer guy who is training me on my IBM PC at work) told me yesterday “God bless your insanity!” What is insane about spending the most peaceful hour of the day in my favorite spot on earth? I’d say that is the most sane thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Here comes another dog walker. This one comes by every day with his beautiful white and brown female dog. I gave her a little piece of donut, so now I suppose I have a friend for life. I must get her name.
When I saw Paul today, before he went out, he said to me about Saturday:
“In your honor, I’m bringing the bait barrel aboard.”
(Aw shucks, Paul, you say the sweetest things!)
July 12, 1985
Hello, Marblehead! See you tomorrow, Paul!
The sun, that glorious star!
The star of the east.
Silhouetting Cat Island
Bringing its lines into crystal clarity
Sharply defining the multitude of clouds
Sitting weightlessly over the sea
Like brush strokes on the early morning sky.
The colors are right in vogue, all pastels –
Pinks and blues, grays and whites.
Isn’t it grand? The sunrise is in
style with the fashions.
A lone lobsterman motors out past
Beginning his day of heaving and pulling traps
Filled with jewels of the sea – lobsters!
The loud kisses of the sea
On the rocks
Have awakened the birds early this morning.
The sky seems like a canvas
Just painted and still wet
With shimmering sunspots
Sprinkled all across it.
The land and sea have very sharp
dotted lines today
Like the glass of one’s eyes
Has just been cleaned
And all the beauty of the harbor
Is surrounding me.
The Sun star slowly peeks from behind
A cloud formation
To first shine on the southwestern end of
The harbor, then the rays move back
And soon illuminate the whole
Panorama that is mine – each morning,
Here at The Fort.
[poem by Rebecca Meade]
Even the Sun star is good to me. Shining now on my body so warm and soothing. Making me wish these moments that I have here each day will stop, freeze, and never end.
The rocks below are like the aged body of a person, lying down before the sea to receive a laying on of hands – being lovingly massaged with nature’s oils, the salt sea water.
All in harmony. The sounds around me perform a symphony each morning. The birds begin, with the constant background of the waves on the rocks, never ending their concert here at The Fort. The halyards chiming in every few seconds to keep up a beat, and the low but continual rumble of a far-off lobster boat making its way out to the sea.
No sailboats out there today. The wind is very calm today. Maybe not such a good morning for sailing, but I’d love to be drifting out there – no motor – just a light breeze to pull the boat along, gently cutting into the ups-and-downs of the sea’s cover.
A friendly man and his dog just strolled by and spoke to me. People must wonder about my being here. Just now, a man named Paul-something (not “my” Paul) and one of my favorite dogs (“Missy”), strolled by and, after I said Good morning to them, this other-Paul stopped and said “Are you Rebecca?”
Well, imagine my surprise! It turns out he had spent last night with one of my bosses, Telly, and after comparing notes about this strange person who sits at The Fort every morning with coffee and a donut, they both realized it was me!
The dogs get all the donuts I throw out for the birds, so today, like a pig, I ate the whole donut myself. I’ve got to stop doing that!
I just discovered, I’m on the wrong bench! That’s why the grass looked different. And the world looked different. If anyone else can understand the rantings I’ve been committing to this journal, they are doing well!
I think I’ll sit back now, put my pen and paper away, and soak up the blessings of the harbor and the morning before I head off to work.
[That’s Paul, in the yellow shirt, bending over his crates of lobsters, at dead-low tide at Fort Beach. The Fort is just off to the left of this cove, up the hill. It’s a real old Fort where we fought off the British who chased us right into the harbor there!]
Sunday. July 14, 1985
It almost seems as though the sun moved. I thought it came up more behind Cat Island, but today it’s a little north of Cat. It must be my imagination.
Sunday. The day most people want to sleep late. It’s now 5:52 a.m. Here at The Fort, I’m just having my coffee. But to my surprise, there are already 3 other people here. I wonder if Paul has checked for cans yet. I get this strange feeling about today.
I smell cigarette smoke. Here! At The Fort! It’s nauseating!
Just as a reminder -the reason I didn’t write yesterday is that I went out lobstering with Paul!
What a great day!
The fact that I was somewhat seasick didn’t spoil it, though. I figure I’ve got to overcome that feeling if I’m ever going to really enjoy the sea. The bait fish kind of got me started. I’m not really used to all those horrible smells. It’s just part of the day to Paul, though. He’s been lobstering for most of his life.
Quote of the weekend: “5 cents for Harry” or “A nickel for Harry.”
Paul’s nephew, whom he calls Harry but whose real name is Patrick, is 2 years old. And Paul spends hours each week faithfully collecting cans and bottles from all around town. The money he gets for the refundable cans and bottles he saves to help send “Harry” to college. Paul is a true human being. He’s an even nicer person than I had thought he was!
I mean, back in 1962, when I first met Paul at church, I fell in love with him. I flirted with him shamelessly and chased him around, but to no avail. He was not to be caught. This was Paul a few years after high school:
All the years since then, 23 years, I’ve always had that crush on him. I’ve only run into him a couple of times in that period but when I did, that feeling was always there.
Then, this past week, I asked him if he’d take me out lobstering with him.
Well, it was one of the nicest days I’ve ever had.
He’s not quite as shy as I had thought. As far as personal closeness goes, he is – but he kept up a conversation with me for an entire 7 hours yesterday. We were all alone on his boat, the “Sunshine”, for all of that time. And I think in those 7 hours, we may have become friends.
I discovered, to my pleasure, that his interests all parallel mine – almost to the letter. When I mentioned wanting to go to England and Scotland, he flipped out! That was the only place he has wanted to visit, too! He’s as wrapped up in all the British shows on TV as I. He knows them all – all the ones that no one else I know watches – he’s a real fan.
Oh, how I’d love to go with him to England!
He’s very intelligent and has a real sense of humor and warmth that is lacking in most of the people I know.
The sun is slowly inching up the sky before me. How wonderful to have been out on the sea, looking back at this spot that I love – where I come every day to sit, to write, to think.
At this point, there are only a few things I long for. First and foremost is to live here in Marblehead (I currently live next door in Salem alone in an apartment), but to live here on my own. I realize it would be a lot easier for me to share a home, but something tells me not to do that, unless it were with a special person. I’d share one with Paul, but he’s so independent that I’m not sure anyone could get that far, and he seems to have been untouched by the sins of life. The sins I’ve experienced – he would be surprised if he knew all about me – but that doesn’t matter now.
A man and his son (an assumption on my part) are motoring by in what looks like a Boston whaler – going out of the harbor with a couple of fishing poles – actually they have about 8 fishing poles. They really plan on catching some fish! Out they go, toward Misery Island.
What a glorious sight it was yesterday when we were returning home to the harbor, around Lighthouse Point. It seemed that every sailboat in Marblehead was out in full sail – like the Southeast Expressway at rush hour! All those white sails heading out toward the open sea for a day of either racing or pleasure sailing.
A dog just came over with a can in his mouth and wanted to play. But I wanted to continue writing.
There are things I should do that are not getting done lately. My computer practice has slipped to nothing and I haven’t read anything in the book I have for my class. I take it with me to The Fort but somehow the two don’t seem to mix well. Computers and The Fort – two opposites. Yet two very prominent features in my life at present. One I can’t seem to live without by choice (The Fort), and the other I won’t be able to live without (computers), by necessity.
Computers and The Fort. Hmmm. A good title for a poem? Or maybe a short story. I should talk to Gary Welsh about how to go about writing a short story. Maybe one for the Marblehead Magazine.
Paul just breezed by on his can-and-bottle run!
I wonder where the other man is, with the slightly graying hair who always comes by and slows down almost as if he wants to stop and talk, but then he doesn’t – he just says “hi.” Maybe he takes Sundays off. But I doubt it. He brings his dog here and dogs don’t take Sundays off – only people do!
Tinker’s Island. I never knew about it before. It’s off Devereux Beach and it has a few summer cottages on it. Why have I never seen it? I all but grew up at Devereux Beach as a kid.
There goes Paul to do the whole thing over again. So much work, but mixed with love.
He starts up the boat –
He motors out of the harbor –
He always waves to me –
(I’ve got to remember to get some Dramamine for next time.)
He is so good. I don’t deserve a friend as good as he is, but by God, I’ll try to deserve him because I want desperately to be his friend!
He says he’s got the slowest boat in town. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, loves animals, has two dogs, loves the ocean, and he loves England and Scotland.
I think the only way is to encourage him a little more.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So, that’s how it all began with Paul and me. I still have to pinch myself some days to believe I am married to this man I had fallen for so many years ago as a young teen.
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Crowell – 1986
Cheers (again) from CC,
Bex and (the late great) Jazzy girl!