Adam Bolonsky writes-
I remember when the Unification Church (the Moonies) arrived Gloucester in the late 70’s and started bluefin fishing. It was a complex time, and thinking about it recently, I came across these reminiscences from Colleen Christian, a Moonie who moved to Gloucester to fish on one of the two dozen or so Gloucester bluefin boats the Moonies brought to the waterfont. Moonie crews fished with handlines for bluefin. Some crews were made up of only women. Anyhow, I got a kick out of the anecdote below, especially the part where a moonie from the Bronx teaches a Gloucester bluefin moonie crew how to respond to Moonies suck!
My first assignment in Gloucester was on a bluefin boat that went to the Northwest Corner, this huge bank, a rise in the ocean floor, where the water is about a hundred feet deep, ideal for bluefin tuna fishing. Soon after we we got there, there was a strike on one of the boats in there. When you hook a bluefin, first thing you do is, the first mate releases the anchor – attached to a big orange buoy ball – so that when you land your fish you can retrieve your anchor. In our fleet, it was permissible for any of our boats to come over and take the anchor of a Moonie boat that had just hooked up, the reasoning being, if one boat caught a tuna in that spot, another boat would, too.
So that’s what we did. Soon after we moved to the other boat’s mooring ball, I heard the snap of one of the clips holding our handlines. Our captain barked out orders to release the anchor and to pull in all the our other lines.
It was pandemonium and utter confusion, and so another boat in our fleet motored over to help. This big German guy jumped on board with us to us. He and I pulled in the extra lines and our captain took the fighting line to the bow. After a half hour, I took the fighting line, and that’s how it went, back and forth, for over two hours. , and it went on, like that, for two hours, his turn, my turn.
The fish we landed weighed 550 lbs. When we got it within a few feet of our boat, I gaffed it, and we inserted one line through its gills, another around its tail, and we tied it off alongside low enough in the water to keep cool for the trip home.
The big thing to do in was moon us. People in Gloucester knew us and knew our cars, and they would drive by us and pull their pants down and show us their butts. They’d yell,
“Moonies suck! Moonies suck!”
But there was a brother in our church who was kind of a bad dude before he joined the church. He was from the Bronx, and he knew how to answer Moonies suck. He said,
“When they yell Moonies suck, you yell, Your mother sucks! Your sister sucks!”
So we did. They yelled Moonies suck at us. And we yelled back, Your mother sucks!! And they yelled, My mother sucks?! You suck! and from there it would escalate.
Photo: Nancy Breyfogel, Susan Fox, Jane Rees and Lois Ramunnihad stand with a Moonie bluefin they landed in Gloucester in the early 1980’s. “Like anyone else,” Lois said, “I wanted to try it because it sounded exciting. It was something new.”