The Girl Who Dreamed Of Ships
Perfect Bound Softcover
This is a tale about a girl�s dream and how she makes it come true through her own actions. She is brave, she is undoubtedly bolder than is good for her, and she achieves incredible rewards for the risks she takes. Her success is linked irrevocably to how she relates to the people who surround her�and without them none of it would have been possible. Samantha Jones is a girl with a passion for ships, and she has always dreamed of going to sea. Fed by stories her uncle told since she was a little child, her dream takes her into adventures little girls rarely get to experience. Against all odds, she braves repeated rejections until, by dint of her own ingenuity, boldness and wit, she wangles a job as cabin boy on The Lady Leeward, a clipper ship engaged in trade with the Far East. The book is not an account of day-to-day life aboard ship, of the command structure or even how the sailors perform their tasks. Rather, it touches mainly on events as they involve Samantha, such as her visits when the ship makes landfall and the people who make each stop memorable. It is clear from the start that Samantha might be in over her head, though she doesn�t understand this point at the time. Each day of the voyage brings her up against something thought provoking, and puzzling them out is her main occupation. At times she stumbles, for instance, over how it feels to go against so many of her mother�s prohibitions. At others, her attempts to figure out how to relate to her new found shipboard friends bear confusing fruit. Always and in everything she tries to do, her deception looms over her, threatening impending discovery and the end of her dream. The tale of her adventures is a multi-layered account of a young girl�s transformation. Right at the beginning, she changes, almost before your eyes, from a mid-19th century girl into a rather tough-looking young sailor and manages to maintain this charade for an entire ocean voyage to China and back�well, almost all the way back, but that comes later. On the way, she struggles to deal with the guilt of leaving her family, even though she rationalizes that they will be better off without the extra mouth to feed. She also feels guilty for deceiving the people on the ship, since she lives the lie every day, and for her actions when she leaves her friend Michael wondering why she behaves as she does. In the process, she learns that there are consequences to be lived with from these decisions, and the lessons transform her from the child following rules laid down by others into a person of understanding who chooses responsibly for herself.Samantha dreams, She�ll always have dreams, And the ship will still fly with the wind.
Encountering the seamen aboard ship, entering new places and situations, meeting people with different cultures and languages�all these events change Sam Jones from a na�ve, unsophisticated city girl into an awakened, enlightened, world traveler. As important as it is, the physical transformation that turns a girl into a woman is almost lost to notice amid all the adventures she experiences.
At the end of her adventures, Sam, her dream fulfilled, is happy to be Samantha Jones once again--and more than ready to meet whatever life brings her way.
Life has been an adventure, a journey and a dream for author Beverly "SilverBee" Scofield. She has said more than once, "I am a lucky woman." Beverly is a Tennessee resident now and is finding the beauty of these eastern scenes to her liking. Her life began, though, in Santa Maria, California, a small town at that time in December 1936. Set in a broad flat valley, remnant of a wandering river that flooded during rainy seasons then dried up, the town was a center for farming and cattle ranching. This made Beverly decide she was a cowgirl. She asked her father if they could move out West. He said, "Bub, if we move any further west we�ll be out in the ocean!" Yes, her childhood nickname was Bub, short for the original Bubbles given by her teenaged cousin Norma. She much prefers the current one�SilverBee. Horses have always been near to the author�s heart. Even though her adult life has not made room for a horse, the dream is still alive. She envisions a wide pasture spreading away from her front porch, with Clydesdale or Shire or Andalusian horses roaming there. These days, her nieces and grand nieces, whose lives are filled with horses, carry on the dream. Sometimes she visits her niece Sherrie�s boarding and training farm to renew the joy of being near horses and to watch Sherrie and her daughters Hilary and Haley getting their horses ready to show. Once, to help her Aunt Beverly relive a long ride she once made with a group of her father�s friends--a long trek through Nipomo, California streets, across railroad tracks and onto Oceano Beach--her niece Lori gave her a horseback ride along that same beach in order to celebrate a birthday. Life on the small strip of central coast California stretching from Cayucos in the north to just below Lompoc in the south and Solvang to the east was what writers like to call idyllic. Behind it lay the Santa Lucia coastal mountains and minutes away to the west the Pacific Ocean. How her parents, immigrants from Arkansas during the Great Depression, managed to settle in the spot Beverly describes as heaven will always remain one of the great wonders of her life. She says, not quite embarrassed to admit it, that she and her siblings sometimes thanked their mother and dad for such amazing foresight! Life so near the ocean added many chapters to the story of the author�s life�long weekends with cousins and friends, playing in the tall sand dunes, climbing to the top and rolling all the way to the bottom, over and over again; running along the shoreline, in and out of the water; screaming with childish exuberance. Afterwards they could join all the parents digging for Pismo clams, giddily daring the rush of foaming waves that, just at the last moment, smoothed out to flatten onto the hard-packed sand. The author tells of the family ritual of opening the clams. On one side of their small kitchen, her father Bud stood at a sink piled high with the huge clams while on the other side her mother Lois waited with a hot skillet. She can still picture her dad�s huge work machete slicing open a clamshell with one swift motion. After a quick rinse, he would take a small knife and deftly free the meat from the shell, passing it across to her mother so the frying could begin. That is--he passed over the clam but kept the small red button of firm muscle that had once held the shell halves tightly together. Those he fed, one after another, into the open mouths of his young children. Those delicious morsels went around, in turn, until the last clam was empty, the shells set outside to become toys, and an unforgettable dinner on the table. And then, the author remembers the abalone feasts�but that, she says, is enough for now! On weekends that were not spent at the beach, the family camped in a small canyon with a year-round stream�Lopez Canyon�and the author�s love of all things wild was born. She was lucky enough to spend two summers in the canyon at Camp Talaki with Campfire Girls, swimming, hiking, frying eggs on top of tall fruit juice cans and baking biscuits wrapped around sticks, singing at night around a big campfire. In more recent times, Beverly has thought a lot about the many threads woven throughout the fabric of her life, and canyons have played a cardinal role. The family vacationed in Sequoia and Kings Canyons National Parks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Beverly and her young brother Jacob spent happy hours exploring Tepesquet, Bull and Suey Canyons close to home. She and her newlywed husband Anthony backpacked into Grand Canyon on their first anniversary, and later on they lived for years in a cottage on the Sowle Ranch in Alamo Creek Canyon. The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships did not have a role for canyons, but no doubt future books will. Besides the ocean, the beach, the woodlands and horses, the author traces her love of books and stories to a family that read together. She tells of her mother preparing dinner while her dad read aloud from a story in The Country Gentleman and of another memory where the whole family sprawled across her parents� bed of a lazy Sunday afternoon, taking turns reading aloud from a Zane Grey novel. But her love of books undoubtedly had an early beginning in her memory of big sister, Betty Joanne who learned to read and came home from school to share stories with her baby sister. A few days before her seventh birthday, Beverly lost her big sister. She recalls suddenly realizing, while sitting beside her Aunt Juanita at the funeral, I�ll never see my sister again. Shortly afterward, a kind aunt and uncle, Alma and Everett, gave Beverly the first book ever to belong to her alone�Pinocchio�and a new theme became part of her life. She didn´t understand it then, but the task of transforming herself into a fully realized human being had begun. This theme remains an important part of her writing, and is one of the main underlying themes of The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships. Beverly�s younger sisters Nancy and Nina say that the author was the teller of tales, creating stories for them after the lights were out. This practice continued throughout childhood, with the nighttime inventions growing longer and more complex as she became a teenager. Notebooks grew fatter with her early scribblings but eventually, when the author left home to start work in Sacramento, they all disappeared, as such things often do. It would never do to ignore the influence music has had on Beverly�s life and work. The misfortunes of California�s people of Japanese descent brought a bounty her way when they were interned by a presidential order during World War II. In 1942 a Japanese church, disposing of its property prior to relocation, sold the family an upright piano. Unaware of the human suffering involved, Beverly admits to being overjoyed when she was given piano lessons. About the same time, she began playing violin with her school orchestra and soon also took up the drum. How her family stood the noise is still a mystery the author cannot fathom. The piano lessons ended that year, and the fling with the drum was over soon after the first parade down the main street of Guadalupe. After the move from the ranch back to Santa Maria, it was a while before the family could afford one more year of piano lessons, but the violin continued to sing through the house all the way through high school sounding, one would hope, a bit better each year. Music was not through with the author, though. For her eighth-grade graduation, she and a classmate, Patsy Mounts, made up lyrics to the tune of Now is the Hour, and the entire graduating class sang it for the families. About this time, Beverly happened to attend a neighborhood church one evening. The pianist was not present, and someone in the congregation spoke up, "Beverly Siratt can play the piano." Little did the woman know what a boost she gave a twelve-year-old girl that night! Not having played the songs before, she stumbled through each song and the congregation sang lustily as though every note was perfect. After the service, Beverly asked the minister if she could borrow a hymnal. No doubt he was glad to give her one! At home, she began on Page 1 and practiced until she had the song down. Then she turned to Page 2 and on through several more. All the while this was happening, her father sat reading The Santa Maria Times and listening. Finally, he rose and went to the closet to retrieve the guitar he had long since put away because his work worn fingers no longer fit the strings easily. Coming close, he said, "If you add this note [playing it on a string] right there [pointing to the note on the page] just as you change from one key to another, it�ll sound a lot better." He played string by string, teaching her about 7th and diminished chords. She repeated the notes until, after a few examples, she understood the concept, though not the names of the chords. In that one moment, she climbed from one musical level to the next. She knew, even then, what a gift he had just handed her. Singing was a big family activity. On long drives her mother would begin Row, Row, Row Your Boat or I Will Make You Fishers of Men, or her father would teach them to sing I�m Sittin� High on a Hilltop or Along the Navajo Trail, and the little bright blue Ford would fill with song. At home someone would sometimes start a song and Beverly would pick it up on the piano; her mother would sing soprano from the kitchen; one of her sisters might sing alto from the bedroom; and maybe her dad would be home to add a few bass notes. She retells these stories with special feeling. About this time, all the children began to attend a small church in town. It wasn�t long before the girls were asked to sing and Beverly became the church pianist. A member of the congregation loaned her an accordion, and along with a smattering of guitar, that finally rounded out the instruments she learned to play. She sang and played music with her family and church until after the move to Sacramento. And what about her musical dreams? Beverly admits to hoping a talent scout would happen down the sandy little alley behind her house and make her a star. Once she knew a boy she thought she�d marry--a boy with music in his heart--someone she would have a life of musical ministry with. But not even the best of dreams always come true. To speak so much of the past is not to say Beverly�s writing has stopped, or even slowed down, for she promises to bring to light a wealth of short stories, a few novels, and even a screenplay or two, written during the past decades. Now that The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships is out of the file cabinet, the loves and dreams and joys she had in childhood will continue to color and enrich this author�s writing.
More than just another high-seas adventure, Scofield’s captivating storyline, vivid detail, colorful characters, and an endearing young hero with a secret combine to make for a wonderful, page-turning read. “Girl” should appeal to a wide range of readers—young to old—with a message that’s always relevant. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And while you’re finding your way, don’t forget about the power of friendship which can come in handy should you get washed overboard.
Thank you, Greg. I treasure every word and hope that others feel the same.
Beverly "SilverBee" Scofield
Perfect Bound Softcover