Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Story . . .The Widow's Walk

(This is not a photo of the O'Shea residence. . . )

GreginAdelaide said...
Sex, politics and religion.
What else do we talk about here?
I long for another feel-good warm Justy post on life, his life and life in general. Paint us a word-picture Justy....not now, but once in a while.
The other stuff tends to be depressing if taken in long lumps.
Coop said...
I'm with Greg :-} Tell us a story, Unca Justi.
JustinO'Shea said...
Aaaaww. . .OK, Greg n' Coopsta..cozy in. . .hehe. . .Now. .

Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in a big, old, old-fashioned white house, built high on The Dunes a bit outside the town of Chatham, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,and when the winds blew from the South from miles-away Long Island Sound and then the broad Atlantic Ocean, you could hear the long-ago, far-off almost forgotten voices of the wives of fisherman lost in terrible storms during the diffficult Winter months.

At the top of our house, high up on the roof there is the part called "The Widows' Walk" where the women would climb up to from the steep narrow insides stairs in the attic providing exit to this safe area, surrounded by railing, space where the women would go to look for their men returning from the fishing voyage.

The closer to the guestimated day of return. . .the wife had been marking off the days on the large calendar in the kitchen.. . .the more often in the day she would make the trek up the stairs to the attic, and then up and out onto the roof to stand and walk looking out in the direction of the hoped-for return of her Man and his fishing crew . . and, sometimes as the children grew, often the oldest son would sail away with his father, she would feel the tugs at her heartstrings from her husband and her first-born son, praying in her strong womanly faith for their safe return.

Sometimes at night, in the late Autumn grey November days and darker black nights, you could hear the keaning of the wife and her children crying under the eaves for the husband and father feared lost in the storm somewhere far away from the outer banks on Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. . . . the moans and cries carried in the wind. . .

And everyday she was there, when the work was half-done, she would be there searching out to sea for the special flag her Man flew on his ship for his beloved waiting at home. . . and, from miles away when her heart caught sight of that special colored flag. . her flag. . .she and her Man had chosen the strong bold colors and she had hand-stitched the pieces of cloth together. . . she would sing with joy and know deep in heart that HE was safe and coming home. . . . ;-)



13 comments:

Gary Kelly said...

That's a lovely story, unca Justi, and I've learned something. I never knew those things were called a Widow's Walk or what their true purpose was.

J said...

I'll bet we can correctly guess the colors of the flag you fly for your fisherman

JustinO'Shea said...

And. . .J. . the colors are. . .? ;-))

JustinO'Shea said...

Glad you liked it, Gary. . . says a lot about our roots and traditions, formed and shaped by the necessities and sometimes harshness of our culture, locale, employments, lives in general.

This fenced in, roof-top perch is variously called "The Widows Walk" or "the Widow's Watch". . . where her heart kept vigil as her eyes searched the sea and looked for ships emerging from the chilling fogs. . ..

RADICALJOE said...

Justin,
You know how to tell any story.
For such a young man, it seems
that you have a gift that few
of us have. It is not just your
Irish Heritage, but the handed
down good and kindness of your
parents. You are Blessed. We
all thank them for you.

J said...

The rainbow flag of gay liberation, of course. (Unless Peter thinks you should fly the skull and crossbones.)

JustinO'Shea said...

Hahahaaaa. . . .no. . .no. . .Peter is not a swashbuckling pirate. LOL

Bold, basic colors work just fine. ;-))

Coop said...

Thanks Unca Justi. Y'kept vigil for Peter in his fishing days, eh ;-)

Telling an Irish Cathlick not to worry is a waste of time. We will anyway.

GreginAdelaide said...

"The Ghost and Mrs Muir"....thanks to film and the later TV series I do know what a Widow's walk/watch is indeed.
No idea how common they were/are though.
Sad things I guess, but they do look neat.
When I was a kid I read "Captains Courageous" ... I can only remember parts now. Hmm...I think I still have the copy. I saw it at a street fete in our small country town when I was a kid and my Granny bought it for me...along with a ship in a bottle that I still have. Our little port town had quite a strong maritime history. The surrounding areas gew wheat and other grain which were brought to the Goods Yards for storage before being shipped out on ketches to the waiting wind jammers in the deep water a few miles out in the gulf. I recall seeing photographs of the busy bay and wharf. A horse drawn train brought the grain in along a 10 mile line to the yards at the head of the main street then a track went right through the centre of the wide main street (lined with Pepper Trees at one end) to the T-shaped wharf. The lines were still on the jetty when I was a kid and there was still the turn table at the head too. Big tall Norfolk Island pines lined the seafront.
More great memories Justin.
A pity my written picures are not as good as yours.

GreginAdelaide said...

But I bet Peter looks good in pirate's garb, eh!

GreginAdelaide said...

...and I note the disclaimer on that pic of the house too Justin...haahaa!

Stew said...

I'd heard that the WidowsWatch was so she could see her man returning home and new that the Bakerman had to go.

JustinO'Shea said...

NOT in MY story !
hahahahaahahahaha