Saturday, August 23, 2008
March 16, 1932
Had my first real session with Mr. Lincoln today. I've decided to keep all notes from him in this journal since I'm not quite sure how to classify the material he'll be imparting to me. Although I intend to treat this as a class I attend twice a month, I'm still not exactly sure what I am going to learn under his tutelage.
When I arrived at the top of the spiral stairs to his hidden office, I could smell the cherry wood from his pipe wafting up the stairs. Before I could even announce myself, I heard him shout, "Ms. Graydon, come down." So I cautiously crept down the stairs careful not to fall as there wasn't much room to move. "You're a morning person. I figured that about you. Early risers are extremely disciplined folk. I can smell your discipline."
"I have a class in the afternoon," I said arriving at the bottom stepping into a haze of smoke.
"Modern Dutch Grammar."
He grimaced, "With Gerdi, I presume."
"Yes. He's the only Dutch professor on staff."
"And German as well. Did he tell you that? He teaches German over on the men's campus. I'm sure he didn't. He tries to hide that now."
For some reason the news hit me as strange. "He did not tell me that."
He puffed on his pipe. "My advice to you, Miss Graydon. Keep both your eyes open at all times. And follow your instincts. They're usually right."
"Is he involved in something bad?"
"How am I to know? I spend most of my days locked up in this cathedral poring over old books. Besides, we're not here to draw conclusions about people. I'm merely telling you to watch those around you. Dr. Loockersmans is one of the top three Lightkeepers. That is not a position that is just handed to you. And of course, he found you."
"I just find it hard to trust him."
He smiled and puffed his pipe. "Well, ok, here we are. I see you've brought your notebook. Good. My first question to you is, how have your dreams been of late?"
I could sense my face flushing with blood at his question. Did he know the types of dreams I was having? "Very strange."
"Same dreams over and over?"
I was getting more anxious. "YES! What is that about, Mr. Lincoln? Do you know?"
"Have I offered you a pipe yet today?"
"No. And no thank you."
"Are you sure?" He said puffing so much on his that the room seemed to fog over.
"I'm very sure. Thank you."
He stood up, which for him didn't look much different from him sitting down. He went over to a basket full of rolled documents. He fiddled through a group of them and finally settled on one. From what I could tell it was arbitrary for they all looked the same. It was tied with a green ribbon, like the rest. "Green," he said. "My favorite color. Yours as well, I should think."
At first I thought he was some sort of wizard for knowing that, but then I realized I had my green satchel and was wearing a green dress. "Yes, it is."
"Green, Miss Graydon, is the color of the Communipaw which is what we're learning about today." He unrolled the paper to reveal an old surveyor's map of what looked like a riverside. The paper was brittle and faded. "This map dates to 1633 not long after a small band of Dutchman and their families, after crossing weeks of unwelcoming seas, roll into New Netherland. They sailed by the hilly island which looks, to them, a bit unsuitable for settlement. They forge up the wide river mapped out by Hudson, known to them as the North, and settle in small lowland region known as Communipaw. At first and for many years, they thought Communipaw sat on a small island which they called Oyster Island because of the abundance of oysters in the surrounding river beds. These Dutchman were like no other before and like few after. They were known for their incredible simplicity, their love of the pipe, their keen power of perception, and their incredible ability to commune with nature. I am one of only a few that are alive today and I being the only one left alive who knows of their ways. My mother's father, a Hooglant, carried on the traditions from a long line of Communipaw descendants. He was a man of the sea. But all that will come later."
"Where is this Communipaw located?"
"It was wiped off the maps many years ago to make way for the City of Jersey."
"You mean across the river?"
"In 1855, with Manhattan burgeoning in all directions, the land that was once the seed of New Amsterdam was carved up into city blocks and now all that is left is a street bearing its name."
"What do you mean by seed?"
"You see, Miss. Graydon, it was a select few Dutchman who launched from Communipaw and came downriver to settle New Amsterdam under the watchful eye of St. Nicholas." He went over to a book shelf and pulled off a dusty black leather-bound book. The gold embossed letters read, The History of New-York from The Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty by Diedrich Knickerbocker. "Read it, it will explain more to you."
"May I ask why this is important to me, Mr. Lincoln?
He laughed and puffed away on his pipe. "Simple, Miss Graydon, you, along with myself, are one of the few Communipaw descendants left."
Was he playing a trick on me? Was he out of his right mind? I had never heard of these people ever. "That can't be right, sir. Both sides of my family only have English and Irish heritages."
He wobbled over to a shelf full of disorganized paper and once again seemed to arbitrarily pull one out. "According to this tree here, your great great great great grandfather was a Van Hornes who went on to marry a Wynkoop, who then had seven daughters, one of which married a Knickerbacker, and one of their daughters married a young man by the name of Phillips who brought her and his family back to England where another daughter was born who married a one Thorton Graydon of Greenwich who beget a son, a merchant marine who settled back in the wilds of the New World, in a spot known as Saratoga, who went on to beget a son who took to horse breeding this man's name was Jonathan."
"Who went on to beget a son named Joe, a daughter named Grace, and a lastly a another son, very late in his life named Richard. Who went on to have a daughter named Velma and a son named Henry." He handed me the paper.
Truth be told, I knew very little of the Graydon family history. Unlike Granny Elie, who told me all about the Morgans, father's parent died before I was born because my father was the youngest and born late in their lives. "So Miss Graydon, if Gerdi didn't find you, it was only a matter of time before I would."
"Yes, but I have cousins on that side. Why aren't they here listening to all this?"
"Because Ms. Graydon, they are not you. You for some reason, have the mind the instincts of a Communipaw. You are special and will have to accept it. Now, stop taking notes and tell me all about these dreams you're having."