Fisherman’s Daughter

A Memoir

by Alita Putnam
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As a father with a 17 year old daughter and a sometime, recreational fisherman on the relatively tame waters of Rhode Island, I found your story full of warmth from a wonderful daughter-father relationship, and it resonated profoundly. I wonder how those older and younger siblings could have been so oblivious as to miss out on the experience? Nature, spiritual mystery and bonding combined with the smells of rubber, diesel and fish, pipe smoke and the grip of a clammy sleeping bag: who could ask for anything more?

As it turns out, I write about the relationship with my daughter from the opposite direction, about our cross country skiing or building forts out of driftwood on the beach, since neither of us do well on rolling boats, we've learned from experience. It would be interesting to read my own daughters' version of our time spent on land, as she, too, is a very good writer. Maybe I will yet. I imagine Ms. Putnams' father must be very pleased with this story. I hope he had the chance to read it. Congratulations and thanks. CPW

I found Alita Putnam's story to be very close to my own childhood, with my father and his whaler out every Saturday and Sunday. Not being able to climb on the first step by myself, I had to stay home until I was old enough to bring home fish with him: the halibut with the haphazardly placed eyes, the sleek and delicious kings, and even a few choice sturgeon and leopard sharks.

They all had a place on my plate, and the color and the ecosystem of the ocean are still like gospel to me, beauty at its height. And I was gladder than glad to find that there was a soul who saw things in such definition as me. Thanks so much for the lyrical story Ms. Putnam! You're on my good list for sure.

What a beautiful, touching, and well-written story. I wish I'd had a father like Alita's.