When I was six we moved from central Connecticut to a town right on Long Island Sound. I was thrilled because then I could go fishing.
I had never seen anyone fishing, and I wasn't interested in it as a sport. I was interested in it as food.
And I was really interested in it as free food. I could help provide for the family, if only I had a fishing rod.
My father had left because of Korea, so I was on my own when it came to fishing. But I was determined to get on with catching some fish for dinner.
I asked a lot of questions and found out that what I would need was a bamboo pole, such as I had seen at the hardware store, and a bobber and a hook. And some bait. I wasn't really clear about the purpose of the bobber.
By the time I'd had my 7th birthday and spring had come, I had saved my allowance about enough to buy all this equipment, I figured. So I headed out on foot to the hardware store, which was about a mile away, maybe somewhat less.
I put on my sweater and stuffed the money into my dungarees pocket, and set out.
At the store I picked out the bamboo pole. A nice man helped me to figure out what string I needed. (String? I had forgotten that part.) And a red-and-white bobber. And a hook.
He asked me about bait, but I didn't have a plan for going fishing yet, so we agreed to wait on that.
The pole cost $1.00. The rest of it brought the total to $2.00.
I headed home with the pole over my shoulder. It was longer than I had reckoned on and it was a slow trip home. Everything else was in a little brown bag.
I felt very satisfied with my purchase. Once I was at home, I had to figure out how to attach the rather heavy string to the skinny, very flexible tip of the pole. And how to put the bobber on, and the hook. I could just picture a wiggly garden worm on that hook enticing a big juicy fish, one that would provide a whole meal for our family.
I got it all strung up, and showed my mom. (My dad was still away at war, actually sitting at a desk in Virginia.) She was shocked to discover that I had gone on the whole adventure without her knowing about it. She told me I had to keep it outside because of the sharp hook.
I told her I was ready to go fishing. She said, "When your father gets home."
But meanwhile the war took our family to Kentucky, where my father was stationed at Ft Knox, and we couldn't move that long bamboo pole with us. I took the string off, and the bobber, and the hook, and put them in my father's toolbox. SOMEDAY I would go fishing, with him, and catch something for dinner, when the war was over and we got back to Connecticut.