My manager at the hotel shared the story of her neighbor Herman with me yesterday, a shaggy seaman who spent his life in a cottage in Barnegat,  New Jersey. Herman would wade neck-deep in bay water each day, scooping up clams with his toes, up his legs into a clam-y bucket. After he shared his days’ catch with neighbors he would retreat into his humble abode where he enjoyed the rest of his findings alone. When Herman’s distant relatives came to collect the deceased man’s belongings after he passed, they found hundreds of thousands of dollars that he had inherited buried in mason jars in the lawn and beneath a layer of newspaper on his walls. Throughout his life my manager would donate used clothing and various goods to Herman, oblivious to his small fortune. And he would accept graciously and continue feeding his neighbors with all that he had.

Where are these people hiding? I want to know their stories. I want to sit with them and learn everything there is to know in the world. What an invincible spectrum of people here, the island’s ongoing identity crisis unveiled.

Advertisements