it's a lovely long ride and likely to seem timeless to a
six year old boy. the hemp hung down from the rafters
about thirty feet. so the swing described an arc and
lifted off the ground at least twenty feet. "hold on
tight" cautioned his careful father s., as he pushed
and pushed to reach the limit. then he would stand back
and wait until the pendulum stopped swinging.
jonathan used to just sit there swaying gently lost in desultory
thought. the hay barn is enormous with two foot beams.
the old tire hangs in the very middle over a mound of
it's 1971. night highschool is finished. s. has a
scholarship and a few grants to attend columbia
university to get a degree in architecture. jonathan
has just arrived by plane from san francisco to spend
the summer at grandma nancy's farm. it's a nice old
house in maine near the ocean. it had been a thriving
dairy farm but of course nancy wasn't a farmer. but
land was cheap then in maine and it was a good house for
bob thompson to fix up when he wasn't flying for
wherever the company relocates them s.'s mother and
step father bob find a rundown house, buy it and over a
couple of years of free time fix it up. then when they
move again, they make a large profit on the house. this
was about the sixth house s. had visited them at over
the years. the last one had been in cotuit,
massachussetts, also near the ocean. nancy loved the
ocean and never would live anywhere far from it.
s. and son had a great time all summer. but s. had to
give jonathan a good spanking once and jonathan had
screamed through his tears, not from real pain but hurt
pride, "you can't spank me. you're not my father." s.
didn't argue with him just then. fitzgerald had given
the three boys a name and as far as the boy knew he was
his father. but they were separated now. julie was in
san francisco and bob fitzgerald was in new york.
apparently it hadn't worked out.
on the last day in maine. s. took jonathan to a field
of grass. they sat crosslegged accross from each other.
s. waited about ten minutes in total silence and the
little boy felt the seriousness of the moment.
"i am your real father."
the boy just accepted that and began to ask a lot of
questions. the whole history of meeting julie in the
village, their life in vermont and then the time in new
york and winter park, florida, where jonathan had been
born, the 'hegira' to the west coast and back and all
the rest was told. and jonathan accepted it all with
the natural grace of the young.
to save money on plane fare jonathan hitch hiked back to
san francisco with s.'s trusted friend marty ravitzsky.
but he was to come back in three years for good. s.
didn't know that yet.