I was living in Boston and working at a bank downtown. I loved working and I made such good friends at the bank, all the other girls, we were all about the same age and none of us was married, and we all used to sit together outside on nice days with our bag lunches and we’d talk. The war was over, and it felt like the world was wide open. Like you could do anything now, do you know what I mean? So we planned to save our money and go on a wild weekend in Provincetown—though I don’t really know what we thought constituted a “wild weekend” back then!
We got on the ferry and all my girlfriends wanted to listen to the music and get something to drink and maybe dance a little. There were all sorts of young men around, some of them recently discharged from the service, wanting to find someone to marry and to settle down, and so it was easy as pie to get a dance partner. But you have to understand, I’d been born near Atlanta, and I couldn’t get enough of that ocean. I would have stayed out on deck for the whole trip by myself. And especially once we sighted the whale.
It was a humpback, but I didn’t know that then. I didn’t know anything about whales. I’d never seen one before in my whole life. And I think I gasped, or I screeched, or something, because then suddenly there was this man standing next to me, asking me if I was okay. And if you think the whale was something! That man was something else, I can tell you. He was in uniform, he was in the Coast Guard, don’t you know. Stationed in Provincetown.
Can you believe it, that first conversation, all we talked about was whales? I think that I would have gone on forever but we were rounding Long Point and coming into the harbor before he even asked me for my name. I told him where we were staying and, sure enough, don’t you know that a dozen roses showed up there the very next day! Imagine that all my girlfriends wanted to find themselves a husband, but I was the one who did, wasn’t I? Because Fred and I were married, and you’ll never believe this, but we got married on that very same ferry at the end of the season. He looked so fine in his uniform, and his best man, too, and some of the girls from the bank got all dressed up to be my bridesmaids. I wish I still had the pictures to show you, they were lost in a flood we had in Boston.
Oh, yes, we did move to Boston once he was discharged, and don’t you know, I went on working at the bank until Katie was born. And all the girls used to tell customers about the man whose ear I talked off about the whales and who married me anyway. And we stayed together, too, which you don’t see so much these days. Forty years, until Fred had his heart attack and that was that, wasn’t it? But it was all due to the ferry, dear, so make sure you put that in it.