Thursday, July 20, 2017

Remembrance of Moon Day and Slipshod Island

For many, today is Moon Day, the day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin took one giant step for mankind by being the first humans to walk on the moon. But for my good friend, and children's book author, Francis S. Poesy, it is the day that no one remembers. Because while the entire world was focused on the amazing achievement of the moon landing, no one remembers how his home off the northwest coast of Ireland, Slipshod Island, slid back into the ocean after a microseismic event shook it to pieces.


The approximate original location of the now lost Slipshod Island.

Luckily, most occupants of the island were on the mainland to watch the moon landing at a local pub or through the windows of Gilmartin's TV repair shop. But those left on the island were lost to the sea in the geologic convulsions. And this would have been a great tragedy worthy of news headlines except for the fact that all those who stayed behind were selkies and simply transformed back into seals and swam off into the encroaching waters to be with their brethren. But that does not soften the loss of what had been Francis' family's home for centuries.

Francis' mother, Frances Slipshod-Poesy, was the last descendant of the original tribe of Celtic people who settled the island in the 9th century. The Slipshods came from the mainland seeking respite from marauding Vikings. They came with a contingent of monks who built an abbey surrounded by a rough fortress next to the small settlement. The island of Slipshod was virtually a wasteland. However, through hard work, suffering, and reciprocal cooperative relationships with selkies and mudstone sprites, the Slipshod people tugged a living out of the desolate land and the savage waters, while the monks spent their days as scribes, copying ancient texts and histories which they sold on the mainland for profit.

The smartest of the Slipshod children were educated in the abbey where many became monks or nuns. Over the centuries Slipshod Island became known for it scribes, its manuscripts, and its highly educated writers. Francis was educated in the Abbey School until that day in 1969 and he hails from a long line of proud Slipshod writers.

But, to be true, Slipshod was a little and little-known island in the modern space age, where classical learning was no longer valued. By the time the newspapers and reporters found out about Slipshod Island's disappearance, the world had moved on and it was not considered newsworthy. Francis is one of a dwindling few who know, or care, about what happened that day. So, if you raise a glass today to the moon men, please also raise it again in remembrance of the lost island of Slipshod.

Or you could also go to Amazon.com and buy Francis' Kindle book, A Rather Round Alphabet.