Friday, May 31, 2019
THE TRIP TO PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND 1964.
I'ts taking me forever to pack in preparation for moving out of Illinois to Iowa next week... I'm going down memory lane as I find old photos, clippings, memorabilia, greeting cards...have to read everything...then I came across this short writing, I do not recall when I wrote this.
I hadn't seen my Father since I left my country in 1945. Shading my eyes, I anxiously scanned the ocean at the peninsula of Prince Edward Island as did the whole family.
Delbert, I, and our seven children; Del, holding four-year old Tim, Marian, Peggy, Chris, Jonathan, and Myra were standing on the pie in the town of Souris, waiting for grandpa's new trawler, Iceland II.
The picturesque fishing village reminded me of Iceland, even the pier, with the usual assortment of barrels, ropes and net clutter. The air had the same salty, fishy smell. The screaming seagulls and other seabirds were just as greedy and noisy as the ones "back home."
Here I was, almost twenty years later, a mother of eight (Della and Heidi were as yet not born) and getting ready to tell my father that he was now a great-grandpa! We had left home (Illinois) a few days before Lucille - our first-born - was expecting Joel two weeks later, but he decided to come a little early so we were traveling out of the country when we became first-time Grandparents!
"There it is, there it comes!" We all shouted. We watched the ship sail closer and closer. Then we could read the name ICELAND II on its side and saw Father standing at the rail waving his white Captain hat as the kids jumped up and down and waved exuberantly. We saw several of the crew
waving as their families had also gathered on the pier.
After a short tour of the ship (fish had to be unloaded quickly) we waited until Father was free to join us for a supper.
"I'm stooffed" Father groaned as he pushed himself away from the table. The kids thought that was the funniest expression and for years used the same words to indicate that they had enough to eat!
Just eight months previous, January 1964, horrible ice-storm hit Prince Edward Island. The ICELANDI was anchored at the pier in Souris. The crew battled for hours, chipping away eight to ten inches of ice that accumulated on the deck house, cables and rail. But to no avail, the trawler slowly listed to one side under the weight and rolled into the sea. The ship was lost but the crew was safe.
In the summer of that year, Father, "one of the better known Souris skippers" (Charletteown, Souris Newspaper) commanded the new MV ICELAND II, built by Bathurst Marine Industries, Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada.
Three years later, 1967, on New Year Day - Father went to Iceland for the Holidays. While he was there the ICELAND II shipwrecked in another horrendous winter storm, off the coast of Nova Scotia, near the village of Fourchu. All ten men perished.
Father retired after this. He had spent his whole life on the ocean that can be so good to fishermen and at the same time their merciless enemy.
(More can be read in my Memoir - GROWING UP VIKING )