Take as a theme the wind and you will be surprised at what you will find drifting through the window behind the billowing curtain like a sail on the Old Biloxi Schooner the day we sailed out into the Sound with Pete and Sandra’s cronies for a picnic on the waves. The new schooner had been built by a craftsman in D’Iberville we visited a couple of times. He was using models to shape the hull that he had found dating from when the Covacevich family had their boat yard in Biloxi, or so goes my memory. I do recall the hull models. The wood could have framed the roof beams of a cathedral in Marseille. The boatbuilder was a dry, laconic fellow, totally intense in his work, his focus always on what he was doing, hardly even noticing our presence. I’m also remembering the day of the Blessing of the Fleet when the schooner had its maiden voyage (in public, anyway) and taking 8mm footage, which is gone, long gone. O lost! At the time I was reading Th. Wolfe and it’s infectious stuff, leading me to thoughts of writing a fictional family epic based on the Irish side of my ancestors versus the mixed-breed side, leading to the battle of wills in my household growing up, characters wily, ambitious, conniving, peaceable, generous, greedy, and human in every way. . . . Doctors and schoolteachers, entrepreneurs and laborers, storeowners and sheriffs, single mothers raising bastard children and patriarchs crushing the will to fight out of their wives and children. Whew! Would it be unbelievable? Certainly not. Begin with the mid-nineteenth-century immigrant from Cork, The Old Hugh, and go from there. Use what you know from family legends and fill in what you don’t with what you’ve learned about truth and lies.
Photograph by DC Young in 2020 with a Rolleicord using Kodak b/w film.