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Dreamseeker's Daughter: A nautical memoir about an eccentric family living aboard an old schooner boat on the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast in the 1950s Paperback – January 7, 2013
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About the Author
Carole Ann Borges, author of Dreamseeker’s Daughter, was raised aboard a schooner on the Mississippi River in the 1950’s. Her first book, Disciplining the Devil’s Country was published by Alice James Books, Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Bardsong, Soundings East, Kalliope, Motif, and many other literary magazines and anthologies. Ms. Borges' essays and newspaper articles were published in a variety of periodicals. Nationally, her work has appeared in The Change Agent, Pacific Yachting and Rudder Magazine. Traveling through the heartland of America via the Mississippi River with her family aboard the schooner Elizabeth, Borges' coming of age story provides an interesting view of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast in the 1950s. She currently lives in North Knoxville, Tennessee, with Karma and Krishna, her two dogs, and a handsome cat named Mr. Dunwoody. She spends most of her time writing or playing in her garden.
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Top customer reviews
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This book, Dreamseeker's Daughter, is about my family, the Goodlander's , who left Chicago on a 10 year adventure down the Mississippi River and across the Gulf of Mexico.
It is written by my older sister Carole. It is a treasure.
Carole manages to bring alive all the places and all the people who were once a part of our everyday life. Resurrecting them from the past to once more bring them to life as the flesh and blood people they were. I love the colorful descriptions of life at that time aboard the Elizabeth. Oh how dear that ship is to me.
Just reading the description of our little world in the fo'csle, with our two little shelves, made me long for those intimate days with my family.
What may seem like fiction characters; Pug Renter,Stanley the Undertaker. Hempy, Walter from the French Quarter, and Joe Borges, are all true people, who once lived and breathed. Carole captures them as only someone who has lived with them can.
So if you've ever doubted that Dreamseeker's exist, if you've ever wondered if a person can cast off the lines to a leaky sailboat with $ 50.00 in his pocket and a Sign Painter's kit in his hand, and have three children and and a hesitant wife depending on him to make the dream come true, then this is the story for you.
Thank you Carole for all your gut-wrenching honesty, and heartfelt description of our family. You did us all proud. As Dad would have said, "Hip Hip Hooray, Hip hip hooray" for Carole.
"Scores of young, homesick, horny sailors swarmed around us like gulls around a trawler unloading fish guts."
After four years living on the Elizabeth under repair in a Chicago boatyard, Carole Ann Goodlander and her family begin their long-dreamed-of voyage down the Mississippi, with Tahiti their destination. Tahiti! The land of dreams, where anyone can lie around with friendly residents and dine on freshly-caught fish. No regulations! No Dreamcrushers, as Carole Ann's dad Edward calls landlubbers. Carole Ann's mother, Marie, is nuts about him and the rollicking, hardscrabble adventures he promises. The kids are crazy about their dad, too -- Carole Ann, the oldest at fifteen when they finally get going, her sister, Gale, a few years younger, and little brother Timmy, born in 1951. As they proceed south, Edward makes a living painting signs; by the time they reach New Orleans, Carole Ann is around sixteen. They stop for an extended stay to repair the boat and their bank account, long enough for Carole Ann to get engaged to Hempy -- "with his bronzed skin and sun-bleached crew cut, he looked like one of those seasoned sailors featured in National Geographic." In response to Marie's offer of ice tea, he cackles, "Never touch the stuff! I'm a beer man, or bourbon and water." Edward is so charmed by Hempy's salty language and adventurous spirit that he fails to notice the chemistry between Hempy and Carole Ann, complicated by the fact that the chemistry may only be one-way, Hempy to Carole Ann, and not the reverse, though Carole Ann isn't sure. The sparkling engagement ring helps convince her. Hempy is probably at least fifteen years older than Carole Ann, which bothers Edward, but what can a dad do?
Back at the beginning of the voyage, in Chicago,
"The day of our departure dawned bright and sunny. After Mom rustled up a hearty breakfast on the Shipmate stove, we all hurried on deck to watch Dad untie the Elizabeth's dock lines. As she slipped quietly into the current, I walked forward to the bowsprit. It was six feet long and a foot wide, so I could stand at the end of it holding onto the forestay or sit with my feet dangling above the water. As the Elizabeth moved into the current and headed downstream, Rentner's Boatyard fell astern. It looked smaller and smaller. Then there was a bend in the river, and that part of our lives disappeared forever."
This is Emily Dickinson territory. Emily Dickinson, with all those dashes giving glimpses into eternity, the oceans, the insects, the charts!
Wild Nights - Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile - the Winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the Compass -
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden -
Ah, The Sea!
Might I but moor - Tonight -
Emily Dickinson, 249
Carole Ann Borges is a published poet. This memoir is an act of poetry as well as of memory. Read it to find out how one goes about following a dream, and the price that is exacted. At the end, we know what Carole Ann will be doing, but we aren't told what happens to Marie, Edward, Gale, and Timmy in the short term. Will Marie's dream of living in a house ever materialize? Marie is a mystery figure and a non-swimmer, her head popping up between meal-making long enough to form an objection but not enforce one. Edward's dream makes do for everyone, but is it fair for one person to impose his dream on others? Does a dreamer really have that prerogative? These are questions raised by Carole Ann's story, told from a viewpoint we don't hear very often. Decide for yourself if you are a Dreamseeker or a Dreamcrusher, or a little of both.