The rest of the night, we dozed. Quiet. I cried. No one said a word.
At about six thirty a.m., there was a rustle in the Harbormaster’s Office. We all trooped in and stood before his desk.
“What is it? Have they found them?”
The Harbormaster had taken a phone call. He looked around at us then looked at the phone. He said, “A body has washed up in Nahant.”
“From the ‘Can Do’?”
He nodded, “Still in his survival suit.”
The Yard Crew came in and told us that it was safe to go back to our boats
and survey the damage. I walked the dog while my fiancé went to the yawl.
He joined me at the Shower Building. It was a beautiful, clear, cold morning.
Sunshine 100%. We went back and straightened everything that had fallen onto the cabin sole. We replaced our food in the lockers. We cleaned up the engine oil soaking the teak beneath our feet. The dog stayed in the covered cockpit, curled up.
That afternoon, after the plows had been down High Street and Water Street, we walked the dog down to the public landing. We walked past the Jubilee Yacht Club and onto snowdrifts and sand dunes mixed together. The signs of seastorm were all around us; the oil drums, seaweed, pieces of wood and trash. And in front of us, serenely sitting in the Bay, like a skyscraper on its side, was the “Global Hope” - as though a giant had tired of playing with it and had put it down and strided out to sea.
I was, at one time, going to write a screenplay, about our life on the boat. It was going to be an autobiography of the old yawl of it’s life, owner by owner, ending with our stewardship. But I gave up the idea and raised a child instead.
When people ask me where I was during the Blizzard of ’78, I tell them I was in Beverly, having the worst night of my life. And I tell them what happened.
© 2003 Adrianne Balcom