It was a full-spread illustration across both pages. Giant waves crashing over frantic people clinging desperately to the few visible mountaintops. Most were half-clothed or naked. One woman is clawing the side of the Ark with one hand. Her other is raised over her head holding her screaming infant up toward the implacable bearded man standing, arms crossed, staring down at the drowning people.
Each time I was sent to vacuum the church auditorium, I would find a niche between the row of seats, and while the vacuum ran, I would open to that page and stare. I obsessed over that picture for hours, my 6-year-old mind fascinated and terrified at the idea that human life was so expendable. At the back of the small auditorium in the vestibule area was a large sign, the lower right corner broken off, with a verse painted on it: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” These two images are a few of the earliest impressions I can remember as a child.