Saturday, March 17, 2012
Memoir of a single mum
Often it is good to revisit past places of happiness. I remember buying my son his first small yacht. It was slowly dissintegrating on a stand at a local yacht club. Under the tutorship of three wonderful older men, this boat was stripped, repainted, re-sealed, patched and readied for sailing, proudly carrying the sail number 123 on a faded pale blue sale. It was a minnow named White Knight after the confectionary and we left it so.
She had a magnificent old polished wood mast whilst other newer craft had aluminium ones and this made for ongoing maintenance issues for an eight year old and his non-sailor mother. Another kind male mentor found us a free second hand alumnium mast and my son set sail amongst the red group of the sail training fleet at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron.
Each summer weekday, we would end school days here. Meeting at the school gate to collect him, rigging her up and him sailing happily until sunset. I set up and cooked the BBQ on the yacht club deck or lawns, whilst he showered and readied himself for home and night-time routine.
When we could not afford to purchase the next sized yacht, a Sabre (then $3,000, used and in need of TLC) we sold White Knight and my son never sailed from BYS again. They also changed membership fees at that time that I, as adult could not be a non-sailing social member without an adult sailing member. My son's annual junior sailing fees were worth every cent, just for the closeness we developed through these years.
The lack of sailing, the lack of access to a Sabre, then subsequently the lack of a Laser, meant a particular moment in mother son relationship was no longer able to be that special part of our shared family history. This is turn meant the reliance on cheaper , 'more macho' team sports which at least offered more male mentors... but from that moment on my son and I began the inevitable drift away from each other as he neared adolescence.A distance which remains today with even the hint of blame in my son's judgemental moments, the blame of being a non-working Mum with an income and being responsible for his infrequent visits from his father.
This brings me to the first year after my son had sold White Knight we strolled the lawns for old time's sake and he actually cried (not a young child) when he saw that the new owners had t-boned her and crashed her causing scratches and dents that remained unattended to as she sat on her rack, with the season drawing to a close. He and I could not cope with the lack of respect and love shown this craft that meant so much to us. We stopped going near BYS.
Late one recent Friday evening, I returned for the first time in over ten years. I found what I believe to be White Knight on a rack, still scratched, gunwall needing much TLC on under side. The proud BYS sticker and sail number no longer on her stern.
I felt tears welling up again. Money can buy kids anythings these days but it will buy back our days sailing White Knight (adults can but my son no longer wants anything to do with this rich person's hobby). Nor can I save White Knight. She is slowly rotting away and I am sad that I cannot buy her back, restore her again and keep her cocooned for any grandchildren I may (or indeed may not) ever have.
She did not deserve this after all the years of pleasure she gave the girl who owned her before my son (at RYC) nor now. I wish I had the money to buy her back. I know adults sail minnows but that is a part of my son's life he left behind when the reality of the Australian class system confronted him for the first time, face to face. I think I will post this thread on the BYS site... if they have a blog or at least link to it (which they do and I couldn't).
I felt the Board and Management needed to know how important a part this special place played in the youth of one small local boy and his full-time mother.