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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

loose hay.

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

continental airlines.

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.

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