There’s a scene in my mind I obsessed about most of my young life: pine trees on a rocky coast, a lighthouse, a keeper’s cottage. I envisioned it from the many stories Dad told me about where he lived as a child into his teens.
One night in the autumn of 1987, I put the image from my imagination to paper as a pen and ink drawing. I liked it enough to have it professionally framed.
A few months later, Dad called to say his father, my grandpa, had ended his life on Christmas Eve.
As I packed a suitcase for the trip south to the funeral, I included the picture to show Dad my rendition of his home place.
During some alone time with Dad, I showed him the drawing and watched his face for a reaction. Instead of a compliment, he searched his pockets and pulled out his checkbook. He flipped through the decorative blank checks and stopped on one in particular.
It was eerily similar to the scene I had created. It was of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Where he grew up. Where I’ve never been. Where Grandpa’s ashes were eventually scattered.
This is the 32nd story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.