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Date: 17 February 2014. The Fishing Boat.

Let us step back in history to 1956. That was a very busy year for one Massachusetts couple.  Ed Marois and his wife were building a steel fishing boat for use in local waters of New England. At least that's the story they spread around to friends and family. You see, not all see the advantages of life afloat.

There are the saboteurs who will do all they can to try convincing you their staid life is safe, secure and oh so much better than a life aboard a boat.  They are The Unknown Citizen spoken about so eloquently by W. H. Auden. And they are WRONG!
 

The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden

He was found by the bureau of statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the greater community.

Except for the war till the day he retired
He worked in the factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.

The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to poetry were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health Card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A gramophone, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire.

Our researchers into public opinion are content
That he held the popular opinions for the time of year.
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenists say was the right number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he Happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we certainly should have heard.


I know this to be true: For Christmas in 1955 my daddy gave Mother a set of plans to a boat. From that beginning less than one year later the boat splashed and my life began on that shake-down cruise. The launch was published in the Fall River, Massachusetts newspaper too. The following was printed on page two, 10 November 1956:

What struck me particularly is that the boat is called a fishing vessel. No where is there any indication that this was to be a home. But the part that really piqued my appreciation of the obscuring of true intent is the final sentence. "Her owner hopes to use her for many years in local waters." 
 

Old newspapers fascinate me and I did take a picture of the reverse side of the boat launching shown above. It's got a cool Navy airplane and I'd like to ask any website visitors who can identify it to please do so.  I'll add the information for others who might be fascinated too. And thanks!


The boat took eight months to build, however improvements happened as the years rolled by. You can of course meet people who take years (decades even!) to build a boat. Obviously to someone like me, there is the suspicion that the person enjoys building a boat more than using her.  And there's not a lot of sympathy from me when I hear about something else that has to be done first.

Was our 40' steel fishing vessel aka home done at launch? No!
However she was done enough -- and that's an important distinction.
 

 

Son enjoying crackers with clam dip aboard the boat.

 

Over the years the cabin was built, enlarged, carried back, windows added, doors to enclose, the fly bridge was put on, then extended, and a multitude of changes down below occurred too. Eventually she became quite a girl. Always she was our home and well loved. And a home does not have to be dirt-bound.

 


After ten years together my folks were certain there were no children in their future, so a life afloat someplace lots warmer than New England awaited. The chariot, at that time with a light blue hull had a small diesel and she was good to go. So she went.

In January 1957 they started south. And in the Dismal Swamp Canal on a particularly cold night... well, there was an oblique note in the ship's log about the cold.  And nine months later a reference back to that entry announced my birth. 

Less than a year after launch I arrived too.  Sure, they could have swallowed the anchor* but instead chose to continue, educating me along the way.  I've been to schools (dreadful places/boringgggg) and learned lots more from other boaters. Calvert (home school) too hasn't changed much over the years.

* Swallowed the anchor: Move off the boat and live ashore. 

That's my daddy, barefoot, following my duo up a dock. He's the one who made everything possible.

My children and I were blessed by the life Daddy chose, and now I'm following in his wake.

What you can take from this however is that two people decided boating was to be their life. Rather than listen to the nay-sayers, they opted to build a "fishing boat" for use in "local waters" and then, when the time came headed south. I am not saying you should lie, however I am saying that for most dirt dwellers this life is alien, and therefore wrong.

It takes a degree of fortitude to strike out on your own path, but know this: You're not the first nor will you be the last to make the journey.  And those of us out here appreciate the determination it takes to be a cruiser. Perhaps that's why we help each other so often?  Because we're in this together.
 


The family home. Our car is on the foredeck. A davit in the cockpit is for loading and unloading motorcycles.
It's also useful for man overboard retrievals. There are mounting points on both port and starboard for that davit.


It's about choices.  You, like all of us, make choices each day.  Some have a lifetime of consequences and others are virtually meaningless. It's up to you to decide where you want to be in one year, two, or five.  As for me, I'll be someplace around here:
 


I'd love to hear what your plans are.
And, what are you doing to make it happen?

COMMENTS:
 

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Fishing, Locations

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