Sassea Sails



October 2020

Loneliness, Inspiration and Boredom

Writing my autobiography is more emotional than I considered. I began this project as a means of moving out of denial into acceptance. From childhood to old age, I felt the need to document my life’s experiences. Like Jimmy Buffet said about making his music for him, I write for me. Since my girlfriend JoAnne went away to college, leaving me behind to fulfill my parents idea of how my life should be, I wrote profusely. For two years I wrote to JoAnne every day.

When a guy, I thought was my boyfriend, went to Korea to serve our country, I wrote to him everyday, too. My unknown claim to fame was a story I wrote. It was about 20 hand written pages. Every sentence had the title of a song. One day, I hope to recreate a similar vignette.

What surprises me about writing my autobiography is how emotional it becomes. It seems each experience leaves me laughing so hard I feel silly or overcome with grief. Alone in my loft, alone in my house, alone to live out the rest of my life, an outsider might think I am ‘nuts’ if they suddenly walked in and saw me laughing like a fool or huddled in a fetal position.

My writing coach reminded me that Sally Fields spent 7 years writing her autobiography. I can see why it takes so long. Aside from getting the grammar correct and the order of things in order, the emotional response by putting events on paper, takes its toll. After each experience is documented, I need to take a break, go for a walk or call a friend. 

Still I find writing an effective way to deal with three things. Loneliness, inspiration and boredom. Loneliness, with its negative connotation goes against my usual sense of humor and carefree lifestyle. Inspiration aggrandizes hope. It allows me to think of what experiences lie ahead. Boredom, something boring people indulge in, just isn’t for me. I crave something to do. Something with a bit of a challenge. Whether it be shopping for a piece of furniture, landscaping our yard, or fixing my vacuum cleaner, writing is the perfect escape from tedious chores, and negative thoughts.  

Hell, I’m only 72 years old. I got a lot of living to do and new experiences to write about. 

Meet Ted and Toodles

Inspired by my sailing friend Suky Cannon’s facebook page of her buddies Margie and Doris, I decided to introduce Ted and Toodles. Ted, aka Teddy, has been with me since my first birthday. This makes him 71 years old. Santa brought Toodles to me when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Both Ted and Toodles have had an adventurous life. More than anyone else, they are the ones who know everything about me. From as far away as Jeffreys Baai, South Africa, to life aboard my 35 foot tri, these guys have been my calm in every storm and my joy in every day.

Ted, recently had a make over. In a future blog I will compare his original 70 year old look. I was determined to preserve him. His fur and material was so frayed I could pass a sewing needle through it without piercing a hole. Just passing the needle between the threads made it fray more. An acquaintance suggested I use baby socks to cover him. It worked like the charming bear he is. Stitching buttons from an old collection, to stitching his tiny smile took patience. One of these days his ears will be perked up. The original bell inside his left ear was replaced. When he has his ear implant his bell will again ring.

Toodles, is pretty much the same. Her skin is a hard plastic. Her dirty face is as clean as bleach will get it. Her left eye is sometimes sleepy. She used to wet her pants. Her worst accident was the result of rambunctious play. Her head popped off when she was only a day old. Inside her body was a red tube that connected her mouth to her hi knee hole. Changing diapers was never my thing. I was just as happy to throw the tube away. (Actually, I don’t recall what happened to the tube.) Feeding her fake food and pretend water has been my preference.

I have a great video of Toodles riding on the forward crossbeam of SPRAY while cruising the Bahamas. Ted was destined to stay below on cabin duty. He is too frail and small to risk riding on the deck. Even the cockpit is off limits.

Now, living in rural Colorado, as bizarre as it may seem, Ted and Toodles give me a sense of security, that despite the loneliness, I crave. Stay tuned for more in the lives of Ted and Toodles. You will eventually meet their brothers and sisters, and even their pets Bunny and Bear.

We Don’t Know

Before you tell me, “at least he died peacefully,” please consider what you don’t know. 

The mind is made up of complex mental processes, thought and consciousness. While we 

We caan speculate on what someone else is thinking. we can never know for certain.  The sad clown is a classic example. Laughing in front of people, painting an exaggerated smile on their face, and even playing practical jokes are characteristic of the funny circus clown. Do we really know what is behind the mask? Mental, emotional pain can be as frightful and horrific as physical pain. I know people say things to ease their own discomfort when talking about the deceased, I just wish they stopped making assumptions about things they know nothing about. 

Sure the thought of someone peacefully asleep is more pleasant than the vision of someone mangled from a head on car collision. Moments before the car crash the now deceased could have been the happiest in their life. It sounds gruesome but whether a person dies in a horrific crash or at home in their bed snuggled with their loved one, we don’t know what really goes on in the mind of someone else.

Maybe I have been alone too long causing me to think these thoughts. It just struck me when the other day someone said, “At least Danny died peacefully.” For some reason, I questioned whether or not he died with loving thoughts of his dad, his grandma or even me. Maybe the guilt he carried because he wasn’t home when his died was haunting him when he laid down for a nap.

I don’t know. I may never know. I just hope other people realize there is so much we don’t know about the mind and about death. Assumptions may help the living cope. We don’t know for certain. I certainly don’t know.

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