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"For years," Sally said, "I'd been getting this stuff: 'You don't have a job; you sit around letting your nails grow, letting your fingernail polish dry; you're rich; you don't have to work.' So I went out and got a job."
"I worked hard," she said. "For two years. Assistant publicity manager for the Boston Opera Association and the North Shore Music Theatre. A six-sometimes seven-day week. Hours and hours. And I worked cheap. And the same people called me up and said, 'You're working? How awful! Why aren't you off climbing a Swiss Alp or something?' "
Sally put down her fork. "Have you gathered from all this that I was searching for something I couldn't find?" she asked. "Well, it's true."
Some time after her 29th birthday, Sally was suddenly shocked into the realization of the passage of time by the unexpected gift of a friendship ring from a schoolgirl friend she hadn't seen in years. "I looked at that ring," she says, "and I suddenly thought, 'For 29 years I've been trying to do what other people wanted me to, and I'm getting old and I haven't done a blasted thing I wanted to do myself.' For once, I decided, I'd do something for me. So I went out to buy a boat."
Sally found her boat—and her dream—in the form of the schooner Constellation. "It was horrible," she said. "I was so in love with that boat I couldn't stand it." Two months later Constellation, with Sally in the cockpit, went charging past Diamond Head at the end of the 2,230-mile Transpacific Race. "So as long as we're in Hawaii," she said, "let's go to Tahiti." Sally Ames was on her way.
Her wanderings since then have led her to the South Seas, where she found the seawise, barrel-chested TV character of a seaman, Don Matthews, who, along with a loyal company of able crewmen and shrewd skippers, has been guiding Sally's boats to victory ever since. Her wanderings have led her back to Beverly Hills where she found and married a man who says of sailboats, "Ugh! cold, wet, dreary things," but who is content nonetheless to wait fondly ashore till his wife has had her fill of them. But mostly her wanderings have led her to something like home.
"Coming back from Tahiti one time," says Sally, "there was a sunset and I was steering. There was blood all over the sky and everyone on the boat had to come up and look. And they couldn't say a word. Just stand and look. I guess it sounds corny, but at that moment I was never happier."