In the hands of a child, everything is magical. All things are meant to be explored and played with. Everything is spectacular, everything is new, no matter how old, and everything is exciting. In the hands of an adult, things are ordinary. A toy boat is empty, a chair is a chair, and a kettle is nothing more than functional, but sometimes grownups see that one thing. That one thing that makes them remember what it was like the have those little hands of a child. A toy car, a tree house, a book, a model ship, anything that brings the magic back into their lives, it’s those things that make them smile again. It’s funny how when they happen upon those simple little things their minds are filled with color and their eyes are jolted open with the readiness of a child. It’s those happenings that bring all of this about.

Daddy’s boat was wooden. Made from little pieces, all put together to make the model ship. At night I used to dream of the boat, pirates, always pirates, in the mind of a child how could it not have been pirates. The ship was filled with treasure chests. Like water out of a fountain, gold flowed out of the chest and onto the wood deck. The pirates laughed and danced around their caches of stolen money. In my dreams I was the captain of the mighty vessel. I wore a long velvety coat with gold buttons, a hat with large fluffy plumage, and leather boots not anything like those that I wore on the farm, real pirate like boots, ending right below my knees with big buckles. Then I got older and the sadness came. The cloud of dark depression that blackened the skies over the whole world, it started in Europe but soon enough it came to us and my life changed. In school all the boys talked of warships: aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, massive hunks of steel blasting rounds at each other. Yet all I could see was daddy’s boat, bobbing in the water the pirates had gone and big burly men in full naval dress had taken their place. The chests that once overflowed with coins had been replaced by seal crates of perfectly packed bullets. My perfect world had been corrupted by war.

After the war ended, daddy’s boat was still there, but daddy was gone. Now the boat was nothing in my mind, just a toy boat. I had grown up, faced the real world and it was no longer magical. Nothing was magical, so I left, went out to experience something more in my life, something real, something unlike the fake pirates and the formulated navy men. I wanted to move someplace big, someplace important, a city with lights and fast moving cars zipping down the roads at all hours of the day. I found what I had wanted, but still nothing was magical. I stayed and got a boring job, lived a boring life. For years I let my family keep living in that little house, in the middle of nothing, until the letter came, the letter announcing the death of my mother. I headed home for the great shores of Michigan, the waters that I had always imagined daddy’s boat in. Lake Michigan bright and wonderful, it had been the ocean to me all those years ago, when daddy’s boat was filled with life. Now it was just a lake, like any other lake, a beautiful sun and abundant piles of white sand, but nothing magical like it used to be. Inside, home was the same, as dull and boring as ever, as miserable and depressing as ever. The chair at the head of the table, were my father used to sit and the tea kettle sitting on the stove, with my mother’s initials engraved into the side; all the things that reminded me of them. On the mantle above the fireplace was daddy’s boat.

Covered with dust the wooden boat had gained a dull patina. I hated the boat. Virtually untouched by time, the boat had lasted while other things hadn’t. I picked it up, daddy’s boat. I touched it. Never had he let me hold it. Never was I allowed to feel the rough grain of the wood, but now I did. I held it eye level to me face. Laughing I set it back down. As a child I would stand on a stool looking at the boat, just in front of my eyes I could see right across the deck. Now on my own two feet I could do the same. I fingered the little disks on the side of the boat, painted with little X’s and stripes. Carefully I set it down. Magic sprang up around me. It was magical again, everything was magical again. It was as though I had walked into a trove of long forgotten treasures, frozen in time and waiting to be seen, waiting to be loved again, waiting to be happened upon.


My name is Anna Dornan, I am a sophomore at Rockford High School. I have always been fascinated by history and incorporate that love into my writing. In the future I plan on studying American history and creative writing.