My memories of the sea are book scented and sing of hammers promising treats. Weird? Of course, it’s weird. I’m a weird woman, and I was a wonderfully weird child who, on Fridays, fed a hammer to her schoolbag.
But don’t fret for me—I grew up in a time and a place when the thought of metal detectors in school would probably brew riotous, disbelief-infused laughter. So, I smuggled (well… perhaps “smuggled” might not be the right word for it, since no one ever said to me that I could not bring a hammer to school or to the Biblioteca Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña for that matter).
My hammer waited patiently in my schoolbag, through math with señor Gustavo, through natural sciences with Sor María de la Piedad, through social studies with a teacher whose name I can’t recall (but everyone called her Sor Mumm-Ra).
After school, on Fridays, I would take two buses and a motoconcho to the library. Then, I would delight in books (mythologies and fairy tales and garden grimoires were my favorites).Once the book fun was had, my hammer and I would head to El Malecón—not just a pier but a whole street that glances into the Caribbean Sea. Between the street and the beach, out of sandy soil, grew palm, coconut, and sea almond trees. I would sit on the ground, not caring if the skirt of my uniform got a bit dirty, and I would take my hammer out of the bag, reach for the ripest almond, hold the fruit against a flat rock, and hammer it until it split in half to offer its nutty treat.
sea almondviathe wee notes…- motoconcho: a motorcycle (often a rather small model) used for public transportation in the Dominican Republic. If you are curious, follow this link for a glimpse.- follow this link, if you wish to see the sea almond hammering process. The hands (the hammer and the almonds) in the video aren’t mine.- for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #3: Salt-water poems, where Sanaa invites us “to write inspired by the sea.”)