by L. H. Hall
was Memorial Day; the anniversary of the plane crash. Sarah
suggested that we throw some flowers into the sea as a memorial. I
discouraged it. I thought that would be a sign that we were
admitting our parents were dead. None of us wanted to do that.
Instead, we spent the sad day thinking about our homes and the good
times we remembered with parents. A lot of tears flowed that day
from all of us. I even let my feelings show, and cried
unashamedly. It was a sad day, but it was good for us. It brought
us all closer together, if that were possible. It seemed to relieve
us of pent up sorrow. I think we all cried ourselves to sleep that
night. I know Julie and I did. We only used two sections of the
bed. Julie crawled over the dividing pole to sleep in my arms, and
the other three crowded into Sarah's. We needed each other, more
than any time since we had been on the island. Sometime during the
night, it must have gotten too crowded because by morning everyone
was in a section alone, except Sarah and Debbie. Jamie lay in
We awoke the
next morning to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the anniversary of our
new beginning. We had decided earlier; not to mention anything
that happened before we awoke on the beach. This one day we would
only talk about our life on the island. There were a few references
to the past, but we lived pretty much by the rule of the day, and
enjoyed the holiday. In the morning we gathered around, as we did
on Sundays, and tried to recall all the miracles; we had seen on the
island. Things that we knew would not have happened without God,
and recounted them in detail. The preparation of the island, and
God's leading us when we did not know what to do, were the first
two. We cheated a little on the rule, but the miracle of the
dolphins saving us had to be discussed. It must have taken us over
three hours before there was a pause in the conversation while we
thought of a miracle we had not already talked about. When we could
think of no more we held hands in a circle and gave thanks for God's
Life went on
and so did the years. There were happy times and sad times. We got
hurt and the hurts healed. Each Memorial Day was less sad than the
one before it. Each Thanksgiving, we found it more blessed. It
took us longer to recount God's wonderful miracles. We even
established a new Thanksgiving day rule, to talk only about God's
love and miracles, and our thanks and praise. He was always given
all the credit for our survival. Even as the years passed, and
Sarah and I gained experience in leading and supervising the family,
we never got to the place we thought we could do it without Him. On
Sarah's birthdays we made our ritualistic trips up the mountain.
The kids always thought Sarah was dumb for wanting to climb all the
way up there and do nothing but look out over the sea. We never
told them what this place meant to us; or that after they were
asleep, we traditionally climbed to the Top of the World, and had
that one very special time with the Lord and each other. Puppies
were born, and some died. More baby dolphins came on the scene to
grow up and join in our frolicking. Over all, we lived a good life
and never wanted for anything, except our homes, and that less and
afternoon in September before our third Thanksgiving day, Sheba
raised herself painfully from the floor, and came to each one of us
to nuzzle us and whine. "Are you hurting, Sheba?" I stroked her
head. "Are you looking for sympathy?" She turned and walked to the
edge of the patio, looked back at us, barked twice, and disappeared
down the trail.
odd." Sarah gazed at the spot where she disappeared for several
seconds, "She hasn't been off the patio in months except to go to
the bathroom, and she doesn't disappear then."
She had told
us good-by. We never saw our beloved Sheba again, but she left us
in good company. She ruled to the end, and raised her children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren well. None of them ever
questioned her when she gave an order. She had obviously
established Little Sheba to succeed her as the Queen of the island.
Young Sheba had some challenges, both among our dogs and in the
wild, but within a few months, she was accepted as the reigning
queen. We all loved the young Sheba, and she was just as gallant
and faithful as her grandmother, but she could never replace the old
dog. We had nearly forty other dogs playing, swimming and traveling
with us by that time. Any one of them would have provided meat, and
died for us; but none, or all, of them could fill the loss we felt
for our beloved Sheba. We couldn't count the times she had saved
It was about
this time that Sarah noticed a soreness and a little hard lump on
each side of her chest. She was quite concerned over them for a
while. It was then, she and the other girls began to really need a
mother to help them through some of the problems girls have. Sarah
vaguely remembered some things she had heard older girls at school
talking about, but not enough to help much.
could also have used someone to help us understand the girls. We
went through some worrisome times over the next few years as the
girl's bodies began to change.
morning a couple years later Debbie and Sarah went to the toilet
before breakfast, but Debbie came back alone. "Sarah wants to be
alone for a few days. She took Prince and Laddy, Little Sheba's
litter mate, and three of the other dogs; and went to be by
herself. She wants me to bring some coals to her, so she can build
with you, but let's have breakfast first." I checked the meat on
the spit. It was ready.
spoke quickly and sharply. "If you care anything at all for her,
you will leave her alone, and let her come home when she is ready!
I was not
satisfied. I tried to get more information from her, but that was
all she would say. She would not even tell me where Sarah had
gone. I surmised that she had gone to the little cave by the pool
in the ravine. Jamie and Julie also tried to find out what was
going on, but Debbie and Sarah had a secret and they would not
breakfast, Debbie rolled Sarah's machete, bedding and some jerky
into a poncho, got a bucket of coals, and left through the goat pen;
which then, held Frosty and Orphan, and their kids.
She was back
by noon, as if it were a normal day. I tried repeatedly to find out
about the strange behavior. I was afraid I had made Sarah mad. I
had been teasing her the night before. I did not think I had teased
her that much, and Sarah always let me know when she was mad at me.
Debbie said it was nothing like that. Nothing was wrong. She just
wanted to be by herself a few days.
the longest few days of my life. Four--five--six days, she had not
even come home for Sunday School. On the afternoon of the sixth day
she came, happily singing a psalm, through the goat pen, as if
nothing had happened. We all, except Debbie, ran to find out what
was the matter. Jamie was the first to reach her. "Why did you go
off like that? Please don't ever do it again."
wanted to be alone for a few days. I'll probably do it again in a
few weeks, when I get fed up with doing all the work around here."
She knew we
would not buy that. We all shared the work when it needed to be
done, and we all played when it was time to play.
do all the work." Julie argued
like it. If I don't do it, I have to remind you."
been reminding us for the past week, and it all got done." Jamie
"I needed to
be alone. It was so much fun; I'm gonna do it again every three or
I did not
know what it was all about, but I let it drop. I would wait until I
was alone with Sarah. I was sure she would confide in me.
personal." She turned to walk away, when I approached her alone.
"I really don't want to talk about it. It's embarrassing."
caught her arm to keep her from leaving, and pressed her for an
answer. "We have been worried sick about you! All of a sudden,
without any warning or explanation, you take off by yourself, and
don't even come home on Sunday for Sunday School. Then you come
home nearly a week later, like nothing has happened, and say you're
going to make a habit of it. I want to know what's going on."
Timmy, let it be my secret. It's too embarrassing."
"No! If you
don't tell me, the next time I'm going with you whether you like it
"Try me and
see if I don't. You know you can tell me anything. I won't make
fun of you, or embarrass you."
to tell anybody else."
"I can't do
that. The others worry about you too, but I'll make sure they don't
tease you, and I won't tell them any more than I have to."
"I am a
is a woman too, but she never ran off by herself and left her
either if I could go to the store and buy things I need. I can't do
that, so I'll have to go away by myself for a few days each month.
Before long, Debbie and Julie will have to go too. We aren't little
girls any more."
don't understand it."
Timmy, I can't tell you any more, and there's something else you
might have trouble understanding."
we're getting too big for all of us to sleep in one bed. Would you
make us some more. Maybe you could make a little one for each of
understand that. I've been getting these funny feelings when I'm
close to you. I don't think they're the kind of feelings God wants
us to have 'til were married."
That's why we girls ought to sleep in the west room 'til we get
married. Do you think we can get married soon?"
"Not for a
long time, Sarah. We're only twelve years old. Besides, there's
nobody to marry us."
who married Adam and Eve."
"God did. I
guess. He used to walk and talk with them in the Garden of Eden."
could marry us. He talks to both of us lots of times."
maybe, but we gotta get a lot older. You gotta be at least
more'n two whole years!"
'At least,' it'll probably be four or five."
not be, Timothy Davis!"
really upset when we got the first little bed made, and I moved my
bedding to it. Except for the few times, once a year, when Sarah
and I had fallen asleep on the Top of the World, Julie had slept
beside me every night we had been on the island. She did not like
it or understand why we could not continue. Getting older was not
any reason for changing old habits. Jamie's bed was next. Since we
could not get the big bed into the west room, the girls continued to
sleep in the big bed in the main cave until we got the other three
made. It took about two days to make one bed. Within two weeks the
girls had their own room. It was lonely sometimes, not to be able
to reach out and touch Julie and Jamie, when I woke up at night.
said, on our first trip after bamboo for the beds. "Please don't
pester the girls anymore about why Sarah left for that week."
"Why not? I
wanna know what's going on."
become women, they have problems they don't want to share with
embarrassing for them, I guess. Girls seem to think differently
than boys do."
of problem is it?"
know." I answered honestly. "It's embarrassing to them, and they
can't hide it here on the island. Sarah said she'd need to go to
the store to buy something to hide it."
I never heard the subject mentioned again. I do not know how much
they shared with Julie, but they must have said something to satisfy
week after that on Wednesday afternoons, Sarah would complain of her
stomach hurting, roll up her bed, get some jerky and coals, call her
dogs, and head for the cave in the ravine. I even made a bed and a
chair for her to use in the cave.
Sarah cried one morning, as she checked off the date a week or so
before her thirteenth birthday.
matter?" I wanted to know.
is on the Sunday I'll be in the ravine camp."
I know when I'll have to go. I go every fourth Wednesday, and don't
get back 'til Monday or Tuesday."
"We can go
to the mountain the day you get back, or we could go early."
when I get back," she agreed, "but it won't be the same."
"I know, but
it's the best we can do."
morning a few months later, Sarah announced that Debbie would be
spending a few days in the ravine. She asked me to take her bed and
a lounge chair to the camp and make new ones for the cave.
approached the camp, she stopped us and ran ahead to see if
everything was okay with Debbie before we saw her; then, she led the
way to the cave.
"Are you all
right, Debbie," I saw her sitting on a cushion of grass in Sarah's
right. My stomach hurts a little, but I'm okay. It's something
I'll have to learn to live with." She did not get up.
We talked a
little, and Jamie suggested that we take a little swim before we
don't!" Sarah took our arms and escorted us out of sight of the
camp. "You had to come to help with the bed and chair, and we thank
you, but you know you're not welcome here. Now go home! Please!"
Sarah stayed with her dogs, but the rest of us hurried out of there.
another bed and chair made for you when you get back." I promised.
see nothin' there to be embarrassed about." Jamie complained.
bad." Julie, walking between us, linked her arms with ours. "I'm
not welcome either, and I'm a girl. They say my time will come soon
enough; then, I'll know how they feel."
didn't see nothing for them to be embarrassed about."
"I just hope
when my time comes, it's the same time as theirs. Sarah said its
awful lonely down there alone."
did come about a year later, but we were not caught off guard. We
had more furniture made for the ravine in plenty of time. Julie did
not have to be embarrassed like Sarah said Debbie was. After that,
Jamie and I got used to being alone several days a month.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.