- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
It was the beginning of the Great Depression. A successful writer gives up her career with one of the legendary reporters of the 20th century to be with her husband on an island at the Jersey Shore, trading her exciting urban lifestyle for a drafty house on a lonely beach. Their funds quickly dwindle, and she finds herself pregnant in a harsh environment while her husband struggles to make ends meet as a commercial fisherman. But what they ultimately gain is far greater than the comforts they sacrificed: an ...
It was the beginning of the Great Depression. A successful writer gives up her career with one of the legendary reporters of the 20th century to be with her husband on an island at the Jersey Shore, trading her exciting urban lifestyle for a drafty house on a lonely beach. Their funds quickly dwindle, and she finds herself pregnant in a harsh environment while her husband struggles to make ends meet as a commercial fisherman. But what they ultimately gain is far greater than the comforts they sacrificed: an appreciation of hard-won values, respect for the forces of nature, and a resurgence of true love.
In this poignant story, the failing economy of 1931 forces a successful young couple to give up their cosmopolitan New York City lifestyle for a simple but rewarding life at the edge of the sea.
For Jo, the "fisherman's wife," the relocation turns out to be more than she bargained for. She had been a globe-trotting writer and researcher for one of the legendary reporters of the 20th Century. Soon pregnant, she and her husband struggle to make a home and live frugally as he tries to meet expenses as a commercial fisherman.
Yet, they find true happiness. First published during the Great Depression, this timeless story reveals how sacrifice, hardship and trust can create a common bond of love; how there is a deep sense of fulfillment in working together and discovering that, as the author writes "...something much finer was welded between us than we found in the first prosperous days of our marriage."
Beautifully illustrated with traditional woodcuts by contemporary printmaker Julie Goldstein, the story includes an epilogue by New Jersey shore history author Margaret Thomas Buchholz. (A 2009 finalist in the Benjamin Franklin Awards.)
The wind off the Atlantic is raw at four o'clock in the morning, even in summer, and I pull my sweater closer about my throat as Tom and I walk down the sandy road between the tarpaper shacks where the fishermen live. The long, low fish shed on the dock and the high round shaft of Barnegat Lighthouse are beginning to take form out of the darkness. The slightly sour smell of Barnegat Bay salt marshes is strong in the air.
The waves lap softly against the fishing skiffs tied in orderly rows along the breakwater. The fishermen, awkward in rubber hip-boots and stiff yellow oilskins, shuffle clumsily past the piles of wooden boxes and wire baskets to stow their gear and tin lunch cans in their boats.
They make their preparations swiftly and with little to say beyond an occasional speculative comment about the weather.
"What you think about it, Axel?" The names one hears are like that — Axel and Olaf, Sven and Hans. Except for Tom and two or three native Barnegaters, these men of the fishing fleet are Scandinavians with the blood of seafaring Norsemen in their veins.
Axel scans the sky, the stars overhead, the faint pinkish glow on the eastern horizon. "Looks all right to me."
The other is getting the feel of the wind. "I don't think she shift before night."
Tom climbs down into his skiff and does something with a monkey wrench. There is a staccato sputter, and the motor starts with a roar. As it warms up, he pulls on oilskins and boots, and listens to the speculation about the weather. Axel, the acknowledged weather prophet, takes another long look at the sky.
"I think she is a good day. I shove off," he announces.
When one man starts the others follow. Tom kisses me good-bye, and Olaf Svenson in the next boat looks embarrassed and nudges his partner. These Scandinavians would rather lose a day's catch of fish than be seen in a public gesture of affection toward their wives.
Lines are cast off, motors throttled down, and one by one the huge gray sea-skiffs slip out of the dock basin. Tom's boat leaves a scimitar of foam in its wake as it rounds a bend in the channel and disappears behind the low sand dunes, and I have my last glimpse of him as he stands at the tiller, fastening his oilskins more securely. It will be wet going through the narrow inlet where the tide is running swiftly out of Barnegat Bay and meeting the big rollers of the Atlantic.
The last boat is lost in the early morning grayness, and inside me is the dull emptiness I feel every time Tom puts to sea. I walk back down the road to where the flivver is parked, beside the little lunch room where two fish-truck drivers are going in for early morning coffee and fried potatoes. They glance at me curiously as I hurry along, and one asks the other a question. The answer comes to me clearly in the still morning air:
"Her? Oh, just one of the fishermen's wives."
Copyright © Margaret Thomas Buchholz. All rights reserved.