In early September of 1960 Hurricane Donna struck New England as a category 2/3 storm. The radio station WBZ announced numerous school closing. My primary school on the South Shore, Our Lady of the Foothills, was one of the first on the list following Beaver Country Day School in Newton. My older brother and I were happy to stay home. We were new kids in town.
That morning a raging gale howled against our split-level ranch house and the windows vibrated in their sashes. The electricity died at noon and my father lit a kerosene lamp, which he placed on the kitchen table. Our family of seven huddled around the flame like Neanderthals sheltering in a cave.
Several hours later the howling hurricane abated to a whisper.
“Where are you going?” my mother demanded with hands on her hips, her voice ringing with the authority of a woman, who had carried five babies in her womb.
“Outside to show them the eye.” My father loved a good storm and waves crashing over the sea walls.
“Hurricanes are not a joke.” My mother had experienced the 1938 hurricane. That tempest didn’t have a name, yet hundreds of New Englanders had died in its path.
“I know.” My father shrugged in weak surrender to the truth.
“You act, as if you don’t.”
Hurricane Edna in 1954 had destroyed his sailboat on Watchic Pond. The hull lay in our backyard.
Six years later he had yet to repair the damage to the mast.
My father was my best friend.
He’s been gone four years.
From this life.
But not from forever.
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