My family were once lighthouse keepers at Okracoke , place of ghosts, pirates and shipwrecks. It was also a place of refuge during storms, being on higher ground, and stories were told during long wild nights on watch, neighbors crowded in, while the howling wind lashed at the sea and a thin beam in the dark was all that might save a ship from the rocks. Ghost stories and long tales from the days before Virginia Colony kept written records, stories as long as a storm-filled night.
My great-grandmother in turn told those stories from her childhood to her enormous brood while they huddled over lamplight after the civil war, sewing for my great-grandfather’s tailor business, and when her children grew up and became, nearly to a one either painter or writer , or entered the theatre and later the movie business, those stories were almost lost to me, my grandfather, the story teller, seventh son of a seventh son, having died long before I was born, when my mother was only a child, and her side of the family bend sinister, uncoupled from connection.
Secrets turn keepers into ghosts.
I was a history major in college, long before I uncovered any of this, or understood yet that all history is storytelling. I have been on a hunt since, for the thinnest of threads that may link distant things together, the way old England and New England were once one handfast land. The molecules that are everywhere still remember.