June 4th! The day my family, plus Nanny, set sail on the SS Mauretania across the Atlantic Ocean en route to India! It was 1957 and that morning my Grandpa drove us to the New York docks in his light blue Studebaker with its fancy electric windows. My sister, Margie, and I were wearing our crisp new white organza dresses with yellow and orange blossoms that Grandpa had bought us for this day. It was hot and humid and the underslips stuck to the part of our legs that were already stuck to the car seat. There was a nervous buzz in everyone’s conversatioon and gestures as we were heading off for an exotic, primitive land on the other side of the world. Nanny was going with us as far as England as she was sure that she would never see us again.
We climbed the gangplank and waved good-bye to Grandpa, who stood waving in his white buttoned up shirt and formal vest with the watch chain sparkling in the sunlught, and then we hustled out of sight to a tiny cabin below which was brim full of flower bouquets and notecards.. Nanny was like a twittering bird, Mom was organizing everyone and Dad was cheerfully trying to keep everyone on an even keel.
The horn tooted and we all scrambled up on deck as the giant ropes were loosened. Margie and I positioned ourselves at back of the ship, watching the wake and the gulls, as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and out into the open sea. The shore disappeared and the gulls dropped out of sight. There we were! Out in the middle of the ocean! A strange slightly unsettled feeling came over me as I looked down into the darkness of the water and imagined only sea creatures and a world that was totally mysterious.
That was the beginning.
How incredible life is! So many days that are beginnings and deeply significant in our own individual worlds. And here I stand re-visiting this moment of innocence from a vastly altered perspective. Thank you God for my most amazing life and this particular June 4th.