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Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Day My Parents Disappeared

By Marcy Belson

My father bought a boat, a big boat, big enough to live on for short periods of time. My parents did exactly that one summer in San Diego.

The cruiser - I guess that is what it was called - was docked and they lived aboard, using the facilities on land.

We were invited to go fishing with them one fine day. My dad took us to a spot near La Jolla Cove but far enough out in the ocean to see nothing but sea in every direction. The water was rocky and we braced ourselves along the sides of the boat, everyone with deep sea fishing gear.

A bet was made - first fish caught, biggest fish, lots of laughter and fun. Unfortunately, it was not to be on that particular day. No fish came calling to our bait.

Our party consisted of the four of us, two adults and two children, plus my cousin Hayden and his wife Faye and my parents. The boat was big enough to accommodate all of us without crowding.

As my dad announced we would be moving to another area to try our luck, Faye cast out and screamed in delight - she had a "big" one on the line! She reeled it in and the fish had been "caught" because she had snagged it in the eye.

Now there was a lively conversation as to whether or not she won the contest of "first fish, biggest fish.” Was this a fair win?

Well, it was the ONLY fish caught that day so she won, fair and square. I don't remember what she won - it might have been a small wager or possibly just bragging rights. But she won.

At the end of the summer, my parents and their boat went home to the desert. The Salton Sea was a short drive away and the fishing was good, corvina being the type of fish the locals enjoyed catching and eating.

We lived in a nearby town but I left my car parked in my parents driveway each morning, walked to work and my mother used the car for errands in town.

One morning, I parked the car, went to the door to say hello and hopefully be offered a cup of coffee. The door was unlocked, the house had the unmistakably cold feeling of being unused. No one had fixed coffee or breakfast, the bed was properly made and the house was empty.

I was vaguely intrigued but I knew my parents were liable to go places and do things without checking in with me. I went on to work.

At noon, I went back, expecting my mother to have something good on the table for lunch. Again, the house was empty and cold.

Now I knew something was wrong. I called the family, various members including an aunt and uncle, plus grandparents lived within a block of my parents. No one knew where they might be. I called the police. they told meto call the sheriff's office as they patrolled the county and the Salton Sea area.

By that time, I knew the boat was gone.

It took a while but later in the day, another fisherman came upon my parents, on board a disabled boat floating on the Sea. They were towed to dock and arrived home tired and disgusted before dark. No fish on that trip, either.

My father loved that boat. It had a jet engine, whatever that means, and he was proud as could be. I have no idea when he sold it; I was busy with my own life.

Too bad, I should have paid more attention to the things that he loved. No dad to offer me a day trip on the ocean now.

Fay and Marcy Belson

(Faye and I 50 years after she won the fishing contest.)

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


You had me holding my breath there for a while. Never been out on a boat. Too much water.

Which one is you?

The one with the white hair.
I dog paddle, and I float like
a balloon! Never had to prove it.

Something about the love of boats...I don't know where it comes from. My husband is originally from Iowa, a land-locked state, but our boat (and his diving in the cold waters of Alaska) is his joy. Glad your parents were safe...had me wondering!

Good memories of your parents. Wish we all had saved more of them.

By the title of this, I thought they were gone for good. Sure glad to hear they were all right.

The title took me on a little trip other than the one you shared...so glad you had those parents a good long time..and sounds like they had a good time with life and together..This column sure has added to my life each day..thank you all, Writers and Readers...

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