A BRIDGE TO WISEMAN’S COVE BY JAMES MOLONEY
ESSAY AND CHAPTER BY CHAPTER REVIEW OF THE BOOK
A woman gets on board a bus…destination unknown… she waits out of sight and sneaks on when the driver is pre-occupied. She does not have a ticket and no-one knows she is on the bus.
Kerry. Chapter 1.
In this chapter we are introduced to the Matt family. 3 kids, Sarah 19, Carl 15 and Harley 9. Their mother is Kerry. She been married 3 times and each child has a different father.
Kerry did not handle things well and would disappear sometimes for days on end, the kids called it “Mums holiday”. Carl is described as very big and overweight He is self conscience about this.
Harley is out on his bike all the time. Kerry disappears again. Sarah looked after her 2 younger brothers and worked in a travel agency.
Sarah. Chapter 2.
Kerry has been gone for 2 months. Sarah is selling all the furniture in the house. Carl knows something is wrong when Sarah announces that she is going overseas for a holiday. Said she had it planned since before Kerry left. She said that they would be staying with “Aunt Beryl”. Beryl lives at the beach so Harley loves the idea.
Carl overhears Sarah on the Phone to Beryl that night at first begging her to take the boys and later insisting, she said it’s only for a few weeks. “I will put them on a bus whether your there to meet them or not.
Sarah packs their clothes and puts them on the bus. She gives Carl a large sum of money. Carl knew it was the boys share of what Sarah made when she sold everything she is quite upset after the bus leaves and keeps saying “I’m only 19.
Aunt Beryl Chapter 3.
The boys arrived at Wattle Beach but Aunt Beryl was not there to meet them. Carl knew where Beryl lived and managed to get their bags to the house. Harley took off to explore the beach. Beryl arrived later in the afternoon in a tow truck.
Driven by a man (Bruce) the truck had “Wattle beach 4 wheel drive recovery” printed on its side”. Beryl remarked about how many clothes they had brought. Carl hoped she would not suspect. She showed them their room. No beds just mattresses on the floor. They had tinned spaghetti on toast for dinner. Beryl asked about her sister Kerry and remarked that this was the longest she had ever been away. She told the boys they would have to pull their weight.
Wattle Beach Chapter 4.
Late December and very hot. Harley takes off early on his bike. Carl checks out the town. Lots of holiday makers. Carl sees a girl he likes and follows her to the beach. He watches the girl and her friend and gets badly sun burnt.
Harley. Chapter 5.
Carl suffers from his sunburn and can’t take his mind off the girl. The next day he puts on sunscreen and goes looking for her. Local policeman tells Carl that Harley has been stealing from a local shop. They find him and Harley is given a warning. He was stealing chips and things to try and impress some kids he had met. He wants to know when his mum is coming back and starts crying.
Beryl is at the bowls club playing the pokies. The policeman confronts her there and tells her about Harley. Beryl takes it out on Carl and says she can’t afford to pay any fines so Carl gives her most of the money he got from Sarah. Beryl is trying to make him feel guilty because she is keeping them and feeding them.
The Café. Chapter 6.
Carl waits at the bus stop each day hoping his mother is one of the passengers. His time is now spent looking out for Harley and looking for the girl from the beach.
He finds her at a local Café with her friend Justine. He does not know her name yet. She has a boyfriend, Nathan, who is all over her in the café. He gets up to leave and trips over a chair. The group all laugh at him. He heads to beryl’s house.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Chapter 7.
Beryl is upset that Sarah has not returned by Christmas. Carl buys Beryl a coffee plunger from a second-hand stall. Beryl likes her gift and gives the boys $20 each. Nathan turns out to be Bruce’s brother. The boys are left alone on New Years Eve. Beryl starts picking on Carl for being a bit of a loner; she keeps ringing looking for Sarah. There is a bonfire on the beach and a party at the surf club. Harley is at the fire and Carl goes to the surf club. He sees the girl and her friend. Nathan and his mates have got her drunk. He finds out her name is Maddie and he carries her to Justine’s house to sleep it off. She throws up all over him. He goes back to the bonfire but can’t stop thinking about the girl.
Birds of Prey. Chapter 8.
Carl did not swim much; he was ashamed of how he looked. 4 wheel drive vehicles used the beach. A land cruiser got stuck in the sand and Carl along with some others pushed it out. Bruce turns up in his tow truck and gets angry with Carl for helping the guy out. He said you’re taking the food out of my mouth. Bruce gives him a lift and they pass the café. They wait for beryl and Bruce shows him pictures of the vehicles he has rescued from the rocks.
Everyone seems to know the story about Maddie throwing up. Bruce says her surname is Duncan and they live at Wiseman’s Cove. He calls her father a mongrel. Bruce tells him to find another girl because she is Nathan’s girlfriend.
Holidays End. Chapter 9.
Carl knew it was coming. Beryl had had enough of them. In mid-January she told the boys they were going home at the end of the month. Harley asked if Sarah was home.
Beryl said it did not matter you 2 can look after yourselves she has to back soon. Carl finally tells Beryl that he thinks Sarah expected her to take care of them and that she won’t be back for a long time. Beryl rings and finds out there are new tenants in their house. Beryl now knows that the boys have been dumped on her. She throws the boys out. She takes them back in the morning. Carl figures out that she only took them back because of the social security money. Beryl has been getting Kerry’s cheques
Birthday. Chapter 10.
The boys are enrolled in school. Carl has to attend Hendon High school meaning a bus trip every day Maddie and Justine take the same bus. There is a sort of pecking order on the bus, the cool kids at the back and kids like Carl at the front Carl is starting to see Beryl as a sort of mother figure but she puts him in his place.
“ I’m not your mother Carl” He has his 16th birthday She tells the boys that Kerry is their mother, Harley wants to know if she loves them since she keeps going away.
Joy. Chapter 11.
A letter arrives saying the social security money for Carl is being cut off because he is now 16. Beryl cant do anything about it because she has been cashing Kerry’s cheques.
She tells Carl she cant manage without the money and if they want to stay with her he needs to quit school and get a job. Carl does not want to leave school but Beryl pressures him. She says that Harley has been skipping school and that’s Carl’s responsibility not hers. If he does not get a job she might have to put Harley into an orphanage. Carl gets a job for 3 weeks as a groundsman at the bowls club. He started to look for work again and each morning made sure Harley went to school.
Wiseman’s Cove. Chapter 12.
The Duncan’s lived at Wiseman’s Cove on Bede Island. You had to go across by barge. There was no bridge. There were 2 barges in competition with each other. A modern one called “Wattle Lady” and an older one called “A Bridge to Wiseman’s cove”.
Joy drives onto the old barge which is operated by her husband Skip Duncan who has a limp. Skip is complaining about “Lovell” who runs the other barge, he keeps lowering his prices to try and put Skip out of business because of a future big development on the island. Skip really needs someone to help him but cant afford proper wages. Joy finds out that Carl is one of the ‘Matts” and does not seem happy about it. Carl says he wants to be with her when she releases the Osprey back into the wild.
Skip Duncan. Chapter 13.
They cross back to the mainland on the barge. Carl wants to work for Skip on the barge even for low wages, he insists and Joy tells him there are reasons why he can’t. Skip is willing to take him on until he finds out he is a Matt. Then all hell breaks loose. Seems that Carl’s grandfather Dessie Matt worked with Skip at a timber mill 20 years earlier.
Dessie was given the sack and blamed Skip. He tried to scare him by driving close to him on the beach with his ute. He lost control and hit skip that’s why he now limps. Joy talks to skip and Carl gets the job.
The Barge. Chapter 14.
Carl starts work on the barge. Early morning Joy is crossing and Maddie is in the car. The other barge was getting twice the traffic because his prices were lower. Carl bought a cap much like a ship’s captain. He went to work next day with his wearing his school pants and shirt. When the cars were lining up to get on the barges he put on his cap and directed them onto skip’s barge. They made a lot of money that with Carl acting as some sort of “official’ on the ramp. The next day “Lovell” beat up Carl, Skip tried to intervene but was no match for the younger man and was knocked down.
A Pump and a Long Black Hose. Chapter 15.
Work on the barge reverts back to the way it was with the other barge getting most of the work. Carl discovers a hose and pressure pump on the barge and comes up with another idea to get more business.
He started to rinse the salt water off cars coming back from Wiseman’s ferry…Free car wash. Business soon picked up but it was hard work for Carl but skip was impressed and seemed to be getting closer to Carl.
The Curse of the Matt’s Chapter 16.
Life goes on. Maddie is on the barge each morning; her mum drops her off at the bus stop for school. Carl is still very shy and self-conscience and sneaks looks at her. Harley has a fight with another kid at school and rips his ear ring out of his ear. Harley is suspended until next term.
Joy goes with Carl to the school and the principle is not impressed with the fact that the boys are staying with Beryl. It seems that everyone was saying that this type of behavior is typical of a Matt. Carl tells the principle that Harley does not have a guardian. The principle says” except for you”.
A Piece of Cake. Chapter 17
Joy took Carl and Harley home but Beryl was nowhere to be found so Harley went with Carl when he went to work on the barge. He kept giving Carl a hard time and using the hose on him. Skip was not impressed so Joy said she would take Harley home with her. Carl was worried because Harley was a very wild kid but at the end of the day he came back with Joy and had a chocolate he had baked. He was very proud of himself and shared the cake with everyone, even the passengers on the barge.
Dreams of Escape. Chapter 18.
Beryl hears about the fight when she gets home from the pokies and stays home the next day to look after Harley. Carl goes to work but comes back later in the afternoon and Beryl says Harley had taken off on his bike.
She chains Harley’s bike up. Harley gets hold of some spray paint and graffiti’s half the shops in town. Beryl has beaten Harley and threatens to put him into foster care.
Carl tells her that id she does she won’t get any social security payments for him and that he will stop giving her the money he earns on the barge. Beryl lets them stay.
Chains. Chapter 19
Carl comes home and sees Harley’s bike on the veranda without the chain. He goes into the house and finds that Harley is chained up with handcuffs around his ankle. Beryl and Bruce had chained him up to stop him from stealing and running amok in town, they had then gone to play the pokies.
Carl could not find a way to get the chains off. Harley vows when he gets free he is going to take off. Carl confronts Beryl at the bowls club and demands the key for the chain. He has had enough and gives Beryl heaps and tells her never to touch him or hurt him again. This is in front of everyone and is probably a turning point in Carl’s life. The first time he has stood up for himself and his brother.
Good Friday. Chapter 20.
The next day Carl does not want to leave Harley with Beryl and takes him with him to see skip. Skip says I need you to work today as it is busy…good Friday…Skip takes both boys over to the island to stay with Joy for the day. Carl hopes Maddie is there but learns she has gone to stay with her sister. Justine is there and has a baby possum which seems to take a shine to Carl. The osprey is recovering well and Harley seems really happy around Joy.