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Angela (Tapper) Natho

Angela is the Daughter, Niece, and Cousin of fishermen. One of six children, her father was a crewmember on the F/V Mary Tapper and F/V Redstart. Her parents emigrated from Newfoundland in the 1940’s.

“On New Year’s Eve a big treat was that we could stay up to watch the ball drop on the black and white TV. I can remember my brothers and I sitting there and we’re all excited and happy. And my mom was in the kitchen, and I just have this vision of her with the ship to shore radio. It was just all static because it was a bad storm, and my dad was out. I can remember, I can feel it now telling you the story. I can remember knowing something’s wrong, because my mother wasn’t paying attention. I was so young at the time but I knew there was something wrong. I just have this vision of my mom, just so worried and so distracted. I think, how often did she go through that?”

When I was a teenager, sometimes things come up with the nets, my dad brought home a glass container that he found. It’s beautiful. It has a sand dollar and it was the first time I saw a sand dollar. He brought that home for me. It has always been my most prized possession.

When my father was coming home, it was excitement. I remember us driving to go pick him up over the Fairhaven bridge. When you drive over the Fairhaven bridge there’s the two grates and then you hear your tires go over them, and to this day, I can remember it. I was so little. She’d pack us in the car, “We’re gonna go get Daddy!” and it was so exciting: Daddy’s coming home.

Because wherever my mother’s kitchen is, that was home. She had six kids who had friends. Anytime anyone came into that house, there was always room for one more. No matter how many people came, there was always room for one more. We always had tea. My mom and dad, three o’clock was tea time. But if there was a crisis in the family, the tea kettle went on. If there was a celebration, whatever it was, there was always tea. The same thing happened when they moved to Mattapoisett. We knew that three o’clock you go and get tea. But wherever she was, my mother’s kitchen was a place of safety, of comfort, of joy, of sorrow. It all took place there in my mother’s kitchen.

In 1954 when my mother was pregnant with my brother Bobby, my dad stayed in from a trip because she’s giving birth. The boat, the Redstart, went down and everybody was lost. My dad was supposed to be on it. But he stayed in.

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