susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday 30 May 2006

By Acela, the express train from New York, to be met by Jack – “Hello, Soo-zee!” at Providence, Rhode Island. This is our first meeting – two strangers – how will it be? We have only corresponded by email, couple of phone calls, and are setting up to sail round Newfoundland. Jack is a sturdy chap, not tall, very friendly, with a slow, lilting way of talking, dragging out some of his vowels. He is maybe a few years older than his photograph, but as I later find out, age means nothing in his family. We shake hands and he offers me lunch at a deli in part of old Providence. The old buildings are painted clapboard and now scrupulously preserved. Again, an American tells me they aren’t very old, compared with those in Britain – but they’re well over 200 years old. How old is old, then? It would seem quite a few Americans think we live in thatched mansions of extreme antiquity. I think of John Prescott and his plans to demolish large swathes of Victorian England. I think of the tower blocks of the 60s.

We are staying at Jack’s mom’s house at Warwick – War-wick – at Cedar Tree Point. Most of the houses are small, wooden, shingled, painted, adorable as doll’s houses. Once they were summer houses, but Dell (J’s mom) has had hers updated and now lives there – and it’s directly on to its own private stretch of beach. J’s boat floats at its mooring a hundred metres offshore. It is perfect.

Dell greets me, welcomes me, makes me at home, tells me I am now one of the family. She’s 95, plays bridge, drives, does all her housework and shopping and cooking. She is French Canadian and impeccably a lady.


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