GRANDPA'S BOAT

3-a-m-pizza

PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST – Chicago Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into


For the first time in my life, I’m working remotely from home.

It’s been months, and I sit here alone, except for listening to WXRT Radio as my companion:  Fittingly, Beck’s Uneventful Days is on today’s line-up.

The advisory comes through each hour:

Stay home as much as you possibly can.”

Staying in place.  It’s getting more difficult each day.

The isolation is getting the better of me.  Plus, I need to distract myself from the pervasive news.

I call my mom.

As usual, she has good advice for me:  Stay Busy.

She relays a story about her own father, who found himself relocating himself, wife and five children to New York in 1942.

His mechanical expertise was needed at LaGuardia Airport, where he spent long hours working to support the war effort.

To decompress during those stressful times, my grandfather set to work on a venture of his own.

He garnered all the excess lumber he could find in those days, recycling wooden pallets and the like, in order to start his project.

He devised a plan in the backyard of the family home.

What are you building out there?” 
his wife asked the next afternoon.

I’m building you some kitchen cabinets,” was his reply.

My grandmother looked out the kitchen window the following day, shaking her head.

What she saw looked nothing like the cabinets she had requested.

To be sure, the project looked more like a boat.

The secret was out.  My grandfather spent his leisure hours designing and building a wooden cruiser cabin in the backyard of their rented home.

Looking toward the future, he knew, once the war was over and his family was back home in Illinois, he would use that watercraft to cruise the blue waters of Lake Michigan.

The time came for my grandfather to move his family back home.  With the help of his buddies, they removed the panels of the backyard fence,
allowing enough room to push the new boat out of the yard and onto a trailer hitch to be taken to the railroad yard.

Grandpa paid to have his prized possession sent by freight car to Lyons, Illinois – its new home.

vintage-boat

 

My grandparents enjoyed their cruiser cabin for years by taking excursions on Lake Michigan.

The craft even survived damage from a fire – started when my uncle was careless with holiday fireworks.  My grandfather and uncle repaired
the beloved boat back to near original condition, ensuring its capacity to act as a source of recreation for many years.

Decades later – 1969 to be exact – my grandparents trailed their cabin cruiser by car, down to their newly built home in Lake Placid in central Florida – a tranquil location for their retirement years.

lake-june-in-winter

Why did my mother tell this story?

… to remind me to search for a healthy diversion.

… to remind me that it’s time for a project of my own.

My venture won’t be as large.  Nor is it likely mine will last 30 years.  All I need is a task to occupy my time, alleviate my stress, and influence my imagination.

It’s time to make a plan.

Grandpa with my mom (Urban and Dorothy)

Grandpa with my mom (Urban and Dorothy)


THANK YOU FOR READING – PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST

 

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