Hudson Catalina, Hero of “Hudson Catalina” by Linda Merlino

Who are you?

My name is Hudson Catalina — no, not the river but the car, a Hudson Jet, 1955 and not the car but the island, Catalina off the coast of California. The book titled HUDSON CATALINA, written by fiction author, Linda Merlino, is about me, my story and where I live, Ten Nettles Cove in Gloucester Massachusetts, that’s where we live, me, my family and our dog.

What is your story?

I am thirty-eight, a mother of four children, the wife of a loving husband and I have breast cancer. My story takes place in twenty-four hours during the worst blizzard that Cape Ann has experienced in many decades. This morning I lost all hope of surviving my disease. Depressed and cynical I went to my chemotherapy session while my family got snowbound at my mother-in-laws. I took the old pick up out into the storm after I was dropped off at home from the hospital by my best friend Kathy. I didn’t tell her I was going to buy all-occasion decorations for my daughter’s fifth birthday party tomorrow. I figured I’d be dead from cancer before Annalise turned six. Now I’m afraid that I’m dead before she turns five.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Readers will have to decide about the heroes in my story. What I can tell you is that the grocery cart collector that I met at Whales Market –he’s my idea of a hero. Some people might disagree. They might argue that Willy Wu, that’s his name, isn’t capable of being a hero in the true sense of heroism. Which to me, means giving up your life for another-pure and simple. See, Willy is autistic and no one really knows how much he processes, but Ruby Desmond, the market’s owner, she said that Willy was special. I believe that. Willy saved my life, I think, I’m still not sure.

What do you regret?

I regret that I gave my family such a hard time this morning. Most of all I regret not telling my husband, Jack Emerald, that I love him and not kissing him before I left for the hospital. Now I’m not sure whether I’m alive or dead and the thought of not being able to whisper…Jack like the beanstalk-Emerald like your eyes-Jack Emerald I love you, breaks my heart.

Who was your first love?

Jack Emerald is my first love, my only love and my one true love. He is my best friend’s brother. I had a crush on him when we were teenagers and he played high school basketball. Kathy and I would go to the games and root for Beanstalk Emerald. I never knew he loved me too. Not until later, after college, after his father died out on the ocean like so many fishermen who work on the sea.

What, if anything, haunts you?

I am haunted by my demon…death. He wears a hood and stalks the periphery. Since I was fourteen he’s been dogging my heels.

Have you ever failed at anything or failed anyone?

Today I feel like a failure. I could line up my whole family starting with my mother, Anna O’Malley and say yes I failed you all by giving up hope.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

I am bald, except for a few stubborn patches of hair on my scalp and the front of me is like the back of me and you can’t tell which end of me is up or down.

Do you like remembering your childhood?

Not really-my brother and I had an okay childhood until my mother got sick and my dad brought us to live with our grandparents on Cape Ann. My brother thought nothing of it, but I was a resentful fourteen year old.

Did you get along with your parents?

As a little girl I thought my parents were the best-they were so in love and they passed that on to my brother and me. When my mother got sick from breast cancer and our world turned inside out, I blamed my father for everything. Teenagers do that-they are selfish-I was the queen of selfish.

What in your past when you like to forget?

I’d like to forget my mother’s wake. The way the funeral home smelled of gladiola’s and old people’s stale perfume.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

My mother dying of breast cancer turned into a familial legacy. Later I found out that her mother died of breast cancer as well, and since I was Anna O’Malley’s only daughter I was sure the same fate awaited me and now I fear the same destiny for my daughter, Annalise.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

Yes, coming here to Whales Market changed everything. Willy Wu, Ruby Desmond and I are hostages of a killer named Buddy Baker. Nothing will ever be the same again.

3 Responses to “Hudson Catalina, Hero of “Hudson Catalina” by Linda Merlino”

  1. Linda Merlino Says:

    Thank you Pat-hopefully my fictional character will inspire hope in all HUDSON CATALINA readers…my best, Linda

  2. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Wow. You really pulled me with this interview.

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