The One That Fell Off the Boat

I’ve shared with you all that my family has traced their roots back to the voyage of the Mayflower. My 17th Great Grandfather, John Howland, crossed the Atlantic as an indentured servant, and my 17th Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Tilley, was only 13 when she lost both her parents that first harsh winter in the New World.

I take pride in knowing my family is full of survivors.

I also know we’re a clumsy bunch of buggers.

Those of you that’ve stuck with me for awhile know that I tend to get lost in the woods, a little overexcited when I go to the circus, and I recommend packing extra underwear on vacation. 😉

Well, it would seem the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in my case.

I am related to John Howland, who crossed the ocean in 1621. And that same individual is the pilgrim whose biggest notoriety is the fact: he fell off the boat.


Yes, it’s true. William Bradford wrote about it in his diary.

That gossip!

As the story goes, John became seasick below deck and ventured upstairs for some fresh air. Once on deck, the winds from the ocean storm were so strong, he fell overboard. As he was falling, he managed to grab hold of a rope that was trailing in the water. Because he hung on, the men on ship were able to hoist him back on board.

Pretty crazy to think I was one stomach ache away from not being here!

Thankfully, John did survive. He went on to become a well respected member of the community, and I can see his signature on the Mayflower compact today.

Plymouth CollageThat’s me visiting the replica of the Howland house at Plimoth Plantation.

I feel a kinship to John. I think both of us make pathetic look pretty dang awesome. Even if we are a scrappy lot!

5 Things I’m Thankful For:

  1. Even when I find myself in less than desirable situations, they always make for a good story
  2. Getting to travel to Plymouth, Massachusetts and walk aboard the Mayflower II
  3. A good sense of humor
  4. A never give up attitude
  5. Mederma – that stuff you put on to minimize scarring 😀

What embarrassing moments have you overcome that made you stronger?

Or at least made a good story?

27 responses

  1. Too many embarassing stories to name, but all have made me stronger. Not all are good stories, but a few. I believe you know about one. In fact, it’s how we met. So there’s that . . . 😉

    1. We’ll always have the 90’s Misty. We’ll always have the 90’s.

  2. I wish you taught all of my history classes, Jess. 😉 You’re such a fab storyteller! Hmm… Which embarrassing story to choose? I once used one of those stand-while-peeing stalls in the outskirts of Paris, which sent the stream flowing out the door and into the crowded restroom. I’m sure others are retelling that story, too. 🙂

    1. Oh wow! That is embarrassing. Lol

      But since I’ve gone a step further in public I’m still willing to be friends with you. 😉

  3. One embarrassing story is that I haven’t read your blog in a long time. I show to be following, but I haven’t been getting the emails. Just unfollowed it and then refollowed it. Maybe I’ll start getting them now.

    1. Aww no worries David. I’ve been a sporadic reader at best myself lately. Using all my time to edit my book, which is what I should be doing right?!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. I don’t have any klutzy relatives that I’m aware of, but just recently we were out wine tasting and I knocked over a loud metal jug that echoed throughout the tasting room, and brought a round of sarcastic applause from the other people drinking wine that day. What makes the story even better is the fact that I knew I was going to knock something over and cause a ruckus in there – I warned Tara in advance. Little good that did, though.

    1. I’m now picturing you two as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger all grown up.

  5. Oh, where to start? How about the time I was invited to my aunt & uncle’s housewarming party? I conveniently forgot that they were friends with my ex’s uncle – as soon as I saw Gary come in, I turned around to hightail it to another room, only to walk right into my aunt’s patio door with a huge THUD. You could have heard crickets chirp, and everyone stopped what they were doing. Sigh…my version of falling overboard, but at least it made me stronger. 🙂

    1. Lol. I’m guessing you didn’t get a nosebleed though! I had a gusher of one at my circus fiasco. Sorry they all stared. But I bet they invited you back just the same.

      1. Circus fiasco? What happened there? And yes, I’ve been invited back, and I’m hoping they forgot the whole thing!

  6. Where to begin? Most of my stupidities of late have been of the blogging variety. Like the time I “followed” myself on my own blog. Being a rather computer-ish nerdy type, I can write code, but I can’t manage an interface to save my life. Then, there is the time I was writing about gratitude and what I was doing for the homeless, as I had been homeless, which is another batch o’ tales right there, and when I posted it for #ROW80, it posted with a thumbnail of “Friskies” Cat Food. Blargle.

    Musically? Many, many stupidities. My favorite? When in college, playing Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme of Paganini,” the violas sat where the cellos usually sit, on the outside and I was playing 3rd chair, viola. Naturally, the whole audience could see me. There is a Grande Pause where everyone is supposed to come to a screeching halt, with a fermata, and it’s followed by a quadruple-stop, 4-stringer-fortississimo-bellow, by the entire string section. This was my cue to perform a little premature articulation and I whammed in there, full-throated, like a Tiger IV Panzer Tank. After the Penance Stare from the conductor, he invited the rest of the orchestra to join in.

    The upshot was this; my viola professor thought it was hilarious; if you’re going to fail, fail GLORIOUSLY! That pretty much is an element I’ve employed through out my wonderful music career! Thanks, Jess. 😀

    1. OMG. I love that!! Fail Gloriously. Fantastic motto. Fantastic.

  7. Whoops, you almost didn’t make it here girl. Wow, what a story. And what a great attitude! What embarrassing story can I share? Well, that’s sharable. When I married my hubby, I totally messed up on my wedding vows. I mean it was a disaster. When I get nervous, it’s scary what can happen. Thankfully, hubby still went ahead with the wedding. lol. But I was a total wreck.

    1. Awww, but that’s an adorable embarrassing story. How sweet. I’m glad he still went ahead with the wedding! Hope you caught it on tape!

  8. Your connection to the Mayflower and the fact that you got to visit is just amazing. As to Mederma: LOL. Lemon juice would be cheaper.

    1. I didn’t know lemon juice worked like that! Good to know!!! Thanks!

      1. The underside of banana peel, too. Except you should rub it about 5 min thrice a day and that’s not really feasible if you work. You’ll have a brown smudge that’s of course removable but you want the potassium to do its magic.

  9. I am thankful he was able to hold on. It is too bad he was born before Mederma.

    1. Me too! Lots of things to be grateful for! Including Mederma. LOL

  10. Hello, I think we are related! I’m a Mayflower descendant too- Tilley and Howland! My mother was Joan Chipman and my father Richard Phillips. Anyway, on my mom’s side they traced us back to the same people you are descenced from. 🙂

    1. Very cool! Do you know what child of theirs your family is descended from? Ours is the oldest daughter, Desire. We went to the Jabez Howland house this year and toured it. Sooo amazing to walk in the place our ancestors lived.

      1. I wish I could remember. One of my relatives traced our geneology but I don’t have any documents on hand. It is really amazing how many people have descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, distant cousin!

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