Home Again #Writing 101, Day 2, A Room with a View

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever gonna make it home again. It’s so far and out of sight. I really need someone to talk to and nobody else knows how to comfort me tonight. Snow is cold, rain is wet. Chills my soul right to the marrow. I won’t be happy until I see you alone again. Till I’m home again and feeling right.” Carole King

When I was a little girl, my Grandma Lorraine on my father’s side used to send care packages full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and beef jerky. No matter when she sent the cookies or how long they sat at the post office before we could pick them up, when you opened the Ziploc bag the cookies were be round, golden, fresh-from-the-oven soft, buttery perfection. And the beef jerky, which she slow cooked for days in her dehydrator, would never be stale or tough but chewy, flavorful, and smoked to a thick maroon hue.

Growing up on a boat, you don’t have a lot of hiding places. So my parents always hid the goody box from Grandma in the galley “closet”. And I use the term closet loosely here, but when you think of a closet now, you probably imagine a space deep enough to store lots of items hidden by the clothes hanging across a parallel rod. Well, this closet was so narrow it barely held a shirt and a jacket on the copper pipe that probably connected to the propane tank on the other side of the galley door. It was so small that you probably only reached mid forearm before you touched the back of the closet, and the height was maybe about 4 feet.

But that was my favorite place in the entire boat. I would climb in there on top of the industrial cases that held my father’s mobile phones—you know the kind that only came in black, about the side of basketball player’s tennis shoe (in height and width), with the uber long antenna that you had to screw into the phone before it worked? I’d sit in the corner of the closet (which really spanned the entire closet) and sniff the sea salt from my father’s work jacket[; smelling the layered smoke from his Marlboro Reds.

I’d sit in that closet, eating Grandma’s cookies and jerky, relishing the pungent tang of the dried meat and the sweet escape of her chocolate filled cookies. When I was tired I’d pull the Carhartt jacket from its hanger, wrap the fleece lined warmth around me and snooze, rocked in the lulling motion of the ocean hitting the hull, the comforting smell of diesel fuel filling the air as barges passed through the estuary.

Eventually someone would find me, the evidence of my transgressions clear as day, from my chocolate smudged face to my oil stained hands. And yet they never picked a new spot for the loot.

If I could go any place, I’d go back to that boat, back to that closet, and back to that carefree girl. 



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