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Return to the Castle Ruins

Updated on October 14, 2016
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Castle Donovan, 2000Ashford Caslte in Cong Co. - blog.friendlyplanet.comHangar One, Moffett NAS, 1976.The Beara peninsula
Castle Donovan, 2000
Castle Donovan, 2000 | Source
Ashford Caslte in Cong Co. - blog.friendlyplanet.com
Ashford Caslte in Cong Co. - blog.friendlyplanet.com | Source
Hangar One, Moffett NAS, 1976.
Hangar One, Moffett NAS, 1976. | Source
The Beara peninsula
The Beara peninsula | Source

Ireland 1850

Bridget O’Connor, a 14 year old girl, is going to leave with her family tomorrow. They will be traveling to America. Bridget understands life is hard in Ireland and a better life awaits her family in America. Still she finds it difficult to accept she will leave Ireland, never to return. Bridget steps out of her house and looks at the castle ruins in the distance. She walks over a green hill and continues to the castle ruins. She remembers how she would play among these ruins when she was a child. She looks at the ocean. She knows she is going to the other side of the ocean. The ocean breeze blows through her red hair. She feels the sun on her freckled face. She turns around and looks at her house. She slowly turns and takes in the panoramic view around her. She knows she will never see this view again. She slowly walks back to her house.

Sunnyvale, California Present Day

Cathy MacGrew, the last living descendant of Bridget O’Connor, got home from another late night at work. She throws some leftovers in the microwave and watches as the microwave timer counts down. When the microwave dings she takes out her dinner and eats in the kitchen nook. As she eats she takes stock of her life. She had two failed marriages, gave up on two religions, and has a career that has gone nowhere. Despite this she knows she has to consider herself lucky. She is working and her finances are in good shape. She considers it pathetic she has to consider herself lucky. Then she muses to herself about the paradox of luck. People survive terrible accidents and say they are lucky to be alive. If they were lucky they wouldn’t have been in the accident in the first place. Then she remembers the phrase, “Luck of the Irish.” Then she laughs as she thinks since she’s half Irish, she’s half lucky.

She looks at the wall clock. She should probably go to bed but she doesn’t like the idea of coming home from work, eating something she threw in a microwave, and then going to bed. It makes it seem all she does is work and sleep. She notices the shamrock on the calendar. She turns on the television and flips through the channels. She sees one movie set in Ireland. It’s about a man who made a living by selling horse droppings. As she watches the movie she remembers stories her mother use to tell her about her ancestors. She laughs when she remembers the time her mother said to her father, “If my mother brought home a Scotsman my grandfather would have killed him.” Her father retorted, “Your grandfather and mine had a lot in common.”

An Aer Lingus commercial comes on the television. Cathy smiles, the only time she ever sees Aer Lingus commercials is around St. Patrick’s Day. She knows some channel will show The Quiet Man on St. Patrick’s Day. She hears “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” in her head, then “Oh Danny Boy”. Then she gets a feeling. She feels she should go on vacation to Ireland. She hasn’t had a real vacation since before her last divorce. Her mother always talked about taking a trip to Ireland, but she never did. None of her descendants ever went back to Ireland.

It’s Saturday morning, March 10. It’s a cloudless day. The weather forecast calls for showers in the afternoon. If all goes well she will be well on her way to Chicago by then. The taxi comes and she is on her way to the airport. The cab drives by Moffett Naval Air Station. Hanger One, the zeppelin hanger, dominates the area. She can’t help looking back at it until it is no longer in sight.

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An Aer Lingus Boeing 747-100, 1993.The Quiet Man Theatrical Release PosterCork County Ireland
An Aer Lingus Boeing 747-100, 1993.
An Aer Lingus Boeing 747-100, 1993. | Source
The Quiet Man Theatrical Release Poster
The Quiet Man Theatrical Release Poster | Source
Cork County Ireland
Cork County Ireland | Source

The Vacation

The seat belt sign goes off and the flight attendant announces everyone is free to move about the cabin but the captain recommends they keep their seat belts on when seated. Cathy is on the first leg of her journey. The plane is flying to Chicago. Cathy was born and raised in Chicago. She hadn’t been to Chicago since her mother died. Her grandparents moved to Chicago from New York. Her grandfather hoped to find work in Chicago.

Cathy waits in the terminal. She looks out at the tarmac. In the distance she sees an Aer Lingus jetliner. Its green paint job and shamrock logo on the tail tell Cathy her Irish vacation has started. She sits in her seat and a young female flight attendant with red hair and freckles demonstrates as the head flight attendant gives the instructions in a thick Irish brogue. The jetliner gains speed as it rumbles down the runway. It takes to the air. When Cathy feels the jetliner retract its landing gear she knows her next stop is Ireland.

Cathy maps out her route in her head like in the Indiana Jones movies. She spends much of the flight trying to get to sleep. She will get to say, “Good morning Ireland.” In between her cat naps her mind wanders. Her ancestors no doubt left Ireland for a better life. In school the party line was the American Dream wasn’t true for the immigrants, but was true for their descendants. Cathy takes stock in how the school teaching stacked up to reality. A member of their family was killed in the Civil War, another family member was killed in World War I and still another was killed in World War II. She was the only family member she knows about who wasn’t a homemaker or blue collar worker. She concludes the American Dream didn’t happen for her family. She knows most of the “Irish” songs Americans are familiar with are songs written by Irish immigrants who were homesick for their homeland. Cathy concludes the American Dream represents marketing at its finest.

It’s March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. She will leave Ireland tomorrow. Here she is on a bus tour of the Irish countryside. Her vacation has been wonderful. Ireland is a rich mixture of modern cities, quaint towns, and magnificent scenery. She has seen 1,000 year old castles and other structures that were hundreds of years old. Where she is they make a big deal out of a zeppelin hanger that was built in the 1930s.

The bus drives to where Bridget O’Connor lived. The house is long since gone. It is the last stop on the bus tour. Cathy steps off the bus unaware she is walking on the same ground her ancestors walked. The tour guide leads the tour over a hill with patches of green. The tour guide leads them through the ruins of an ancient castle. Cathy looks at the ocean. The ocean breeze blows through her hair. She feels the sun on her face. She turns around. She slowly turns and takes in the panoramic view around her. Cathy gets a strange feeling she has been here before.

THE END

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 2 days ago

      Thank you, I appreciate the FB post and the encouragement.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 days ago from North Texas

      Came back to check this very interesting well written story out again. This time I'm posting it on FB where it will hopefully get a couple more readers. I really think you should keep this in mind for a novel too.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 2 months ago

      I'm glad you enjoyed the story. At the suggestion of Peggy Woods I took the story forward with The Painting of the Ruins and then with The Giant Castle. I also made it into a screenplay which I posted on Amazon Studios and Zoetrope. Thank you.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I enjoyed this short story. I too feel you ought to take the story forward. It would be interesting to see if you can give a new twist here on. Thank you.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 5 months ago

      Thank you John for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • johnmariow profile image

      John Gentile 5 months ago from Connecticut

      Very well written. Excellent characterization. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 8 months ago

      I have 7 short stories out on Hub Pages. They have all been out there for a while. As of last Friday the highest number of hits one got was 46, most of the others got about 30. My Hubs in general don't get many hits, my tastes are a bit offbeat. What you may want to do is go to the most popular short stories and ask those authors what kind of traffic they're getting with them. You could also transfer 1 or 2 of yours as a test. I have posted many Hubs on WWII aircraft. The most popular got over 1,000 hits and the second most popular has received about 650 hits. Hopefully this information is helpful in making your decision. Good luck.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 8 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Do you find you get a lot of views on your stories? I have a World War II novella I started elsewhere but would like to transfer over to here. I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort to transfer them and then continue writing them. I enjoyed it when I did.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 8 months ago

      This is the first part of it. The 3 short stories are written so they can stand alone. I did write a screenplay titled "The Link with the Past". I have it posted to Amazon Studios.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 8 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I'll read that next. Do you have a name for the entire work yet? Was thus chapter 2 or chapter 1?

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 8 months ago

      Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. That is a good idea you have of using the Arabian Knights formula of stringing stories together. Thank you. At Peggy W's suggestion I continued the story with The Painting of the Ruins and The Giant Castle.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 8 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I enjoyed your story. I agree with Au fail in terms of trying to work toward complete chapters. Continue with with your plot but imagine every chapter as a complete short story. This will let you continue to move the plot forward toward a complete novel but take it one chapter at a time. This might make it easier to write for you since you just have to think in terms of taking the next part of the grand story but writing only the equivalent of a short story. It will also give you a definite jumping off point and end point for each chapter. I look forward to reading more.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 9 months ago

      I think you have a good point. My stories usually lack subplots. Thank you.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 9 months ago from North Texas

      Each chapter could have a subplot. One chapter would be about 20,000 words. One step at a time, one chapter after another and they all fit together into one story.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 9 months ago

      My problem is not the size of the project. I tend to be plot driven. So usually when I come to "the end" I've written about 25,000 words if I'm lucky.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 9 months ago from North Texas

      Take it one chapter at a time. Break it into doable steps. If you look at it as one huge project it will be overwhelming.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 9 months ago

      Thank you. I did combine this and the 2 continuation short stories into a screenplay. I posted it to Amazon. Amazon rejected it but I left it there in case anyone has any input. It is one of the screenplays I'm trying to sell. I tend to have trouble coming up with the 50,000+ words for a book.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 9 months ago from North Texas

      You really should flesh this out into a book. You have a great idea here and a good outline already to guide you.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

      Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the story.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 11 months ago from Minnesota

      There's something about descendants returning to places of our ancestors that can hardly be put into words, but you have done it, Robert! I love your writings.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 14 months ago

      Thank you for reading and the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 14 months ago from Texas

      Robert, I can understand what Cathy felt. I had many, many feelings of Deja-vu, and I know a lot about my ancestors except the Irish ones which included my grandfather. I enjoyed reading this.

      Blessings.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 17 months ago

      You convinced me. I have been thinking about how to write it a lot these past two days. Thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I can certainly see you moving forward with this story. It is open at the end leaving people wonder what might transpire next.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 17 months ago

      Thank you for reading. I'm glad you found the story interesting. I viewed the story as the last chance for a descendant of Bridget O’Connor to make Bridget's return trip. I didn't think about a 2nd chapter. Maybe I should now.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Interesting short story. It begs a 2nd chapter! Would she go back to her boring life in the U.S. or make a new life for herself?

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 20 months ago

      Thank you for reading.

    • RandaHandler profile image

      Randa Awn Handler 20 months ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing! Vivid narratives!

      Happy New Year.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 21 months ago

      a realistic narrator

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Thank you very much. Not so much, I grew up in Brooklyn, so there was the shoreline there. I've been to the New Jersey shore, and Virginia Beach. I have seen the Gulf of Mexico, from a Corpus Christi perspective. I have seen the Pacific from Inchon.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Very nice Robert. Good pacing and characterization. You could successfully run with this in chapters. I am thinking that two decades in service would allow you to describe a great many places that define the shoreline of our beloved Atlantic Ocean.