Jessie's story spans almost a decade, January 31, 1961 to July 20, 1969. I hope readers enjoy this excerpt. The beach chapter is one of my favorites. ~Rebekah Lyn
June 4, 1965
“Come inside to change,” Eleanor instructed. The sternness in her voice caused Jessie to look at her. He took in her red cheeks and Mrs. Maisey’s hand covering an embarrassed smile.
A quick glance at Sam, holding the waistband of his already unbuttoned shorts, and Jessie understood his mother’s concern. The boys grabbed bags from the trunk and ran into the house, following Harry and Jim to their bedrooms. Warm sand covered Jessie’s feet with every step and he relished the feel as it filled the space between his toes, slowing his movements. He watched Harry and Jim run out into the water, not slowing down until it reached their thighs and they fell forward into the water. Ricky and Sam were close behind. Sam dove into an incoming wave, his head popping up behind the rolling foam.
Max joined Jessie in the thick sand above the water line. “It’s good to be back, isn’t it?”
“We aren’t quite back, though, are we?” Jessie understood his brother’s lack of excitement. Max would never be able to visit the places they had known growing up. It was bittersweet for Jessie, knowing his home was now a missile launch site. When he became an astronaut, he could be launched into space from the very site where they used to hunt bobcats or from the clearing where they had camped every summer, but his brothers would never have that experience. Maybe it didn’t matter as much to Ricky and Sam. Maybe just returning to the beach with old friends was all they needed. Max looked to the north, along the stretch of sand dotted with fishermen, children building sandcastles, and couples lounging on blankets. Jessie knew his brother was thinking of the stretch of beach miles from here, where they’d found an old boat, battered and broken, washed onto the shore after a hurricane.
Max shook his head. “If you really do get to be an astronaut, will you find Smitty’s grave?” Jessie had forgotten about Smitty, a mangy mutt the boys had adopted ten years ago. Smitty had run with them in the woods, waited faithfully below the tree house, and collected the ducks the boys had shot down. He’d died three years before the move. Max had buried him near the dunes, with a whittled dog bone as his marker.
“Yeah, I’ll find Smitty,” Jessie whispered. “Race you to the water.”
Max smiled and took off without a count. Jessie followed, laughing when Max tripped in the sand, allowing Jessie to take the lead. He reached the water a second before Max, who rocketed himself onto Jessie’s back, pushing him down into a deep wave. The boys came up sputtering. Max grinned, looking more like the mischievous brother Jessie had known on the island. The hurts of the past year, all of the fights, the adjustments to life in town, washed away with the falling tide. When the sun sank behind the three-story hotels and the sky turned a pale purple, the boys slogged out of the surf, falling, exhausted, onto the hard packed sand. Harry rose first, running up to the dunes and gathering driftwood. Jim found a few broken boards that were probably once part of a boat hull. In no time, the Maisey brothers had built a fine bonfire. All that was missing were some hot dogs.
About the Book The four Cole boys suffer abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father, while largely left to their own devices by a heartbroken and overworked mother. Their adventures on their island home have become a welcome escape, and one of the only things in life the boys can truly rely on. Jessie, the youngest and a dreamer, becomes enamored with US plans for manned space flight and its race to the moon, stirring his own dreams of one day becoming an astronaut. In a strange twist of fate, it is the space program and the momentum it gains that abruptly brings their beloved island life to an end. The family is forced to move to the city and start anew. Life in town creates new challenges, financial pressures, news of the Vietnam War and the impending threat of the military draft for Max the eldest of the Cole brothers.
About the Author Rebekah Lyn is a popular indie writer with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of Faith, Adventure, and Hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books. Rebekah is a sandal-loving native Floridian, growing up in Titusville, Florida, within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. This was an exciting time to live on the Space Coast, with launches taking place on a regular basis. Growing up, the best place to watch a launch was at the edge of the Indian River, just blocks from Rebekah’s home. Fond memories abound of windows rattling and dogs barking as the big Saturn rockets or the Space Shuttles raced into the heavens. Sonic booms made everyone jump as the astronauts returned from space, and sometimes she could get a glimpse of their return in the skies above her home. She will always be proud of America’s space program. An eye witness to the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986, she and her fellow classmates watched with horror as the historic event unfolded before them. This event became a personal and lasting memory. An active participant in social media, Rebekah enjoys interacting with her readers, particularly at her her signature “Tea with the Author” events. Rebekah Lyn Invites you to purchase books and e-books through Amazon Barnes and Noble Smashwords iTunes
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