May 5, 2010

Never Done... (Chapter Eleven)

As mentioned before, we kids were all enrolled in correspondence schools. We all learned the academic things through these resources. Mind you, this was long before "electronic mail" or home computers. Each lesson was handwritten, mailed (at a local post office), graded by the school, then sent back to us through forwarded mail, to a predetermined general delivery address at a scheduled island port. Lot's of time passed between finishing a test and finding out how you did...

Unlike learning the non-academic lessons, those were experienced immediately and we were graded by our parents or by the finished product swiftly, for better or worse. This included painting and varnishing without leaving brush marks, rebuilding a marine toilet and having it actually work when finished, carpentry work, electrical work, and so forth... We all also learned about "common sense" from our parents. Things like: if it smelled like shit, and felt like shit, it probably WAS shit... Some of the common sense lessons were somewhat less graphic, but the teachings were retained by all of us through the years...

As we grew older we also became more self-reliant. My older brother moved out, and then I got a job running other people's boats for them. Soon the dream became the past, to this day I have never considered our way of living as anything but normal, at least for us. Normal to some is unique and privileged to others; I guess it all depends on the viewpoint...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

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