I was extremely nervous to go visit Irene, I had briefly laid eyes on her the day before, but then again I don’t think my eyes will ever function properly again after a full day of looking at the microfilm. I got to her house around 10 am. It was a small, old, but well kept house set back in the woods. I was afraid she might be at church, but fortunately she answered the door right away. She was a small woman around 60 years old, with soft, short white hair and a warm smile, the kind that instantly puts you at ease. She reminded me of my own grandmother. I introduced myself, but before I finished she interrupted me with a smooth southern accent, and told me she knew exactly who I was. She remembered me from pouring over the microfilms the day before. Also, the girl who had given me her address, had called to warn her I might stop by in the morning.”I’ve been expecting you,” she said with a knowing smile.
Irene invited me in and asked me to sit down. She asked me if I wanted anything to eat, I politely declined. She just said, “That’s nonsense,” and proceeded to being me a huge piece of apple pie and a glass of milk. “My grankids love my apple pie.” As I soon learned she had 5 of them, and they all lived in Gloucester. In fact, I learned a lot about her, an hour’s worth of information, about how she met her husband (childhood sweethearts), about her children and grandchildren, all while I shoveled pie down my throat, which I’ll have you know was delicious.
It was almost noon by the time she asked me what I came to speak to her about, even though I was convinced at this point that she already knew what I was going to ask. When I told her she just chuckled. “Yes, yes, I know all about that.” The story of the pirate was well-known to the older generations in the town, it used to be extremely popular, it was a joke among the parents to warn their kids if they did not behave then the pirate was going to come and steal their allowance. But it had gotten lost in the folds of passing generations, as people moved away from the town and new ones moved in. Over time it became less fact and more fiction as people added their own twists to the tale. Now no one is sure if it’s real or made up. And no one thought much about it to actually investigate it. Though she is still convinced it was more than just a folk tale. She could not remember the name of the pirate off the top of her head …”That’s the problem with growing old.” She looked deep in thought as I got up to leave. I thanked her for all her hospitality. I gave her all my information and a few copies of the fliers to pass off to her friends. She said she knew “Just the people to give it too.”
Once again I had just enough information to keep me going, but not enough to actually prove anything. When I was almost halfway back home, I got a call on my cellphone. “Edward Owens,” Irene gleefully shouted into the phone. “That’s it!” I thought I was going to die. I actually had to stop my car, because I thought I was going to crash. (A bit dramatic, but this is a month of hard work, with one dead end after another). Irene has saved my project. All is not lost!! I can finally try and find some kind of a birth certificate or a deed to a house. The other plan is to look for some kind of insurance documents, but I am not sure I’ll be able to find anything on that end.