Waiola moored at her slip in La Mariana Yacht Club
I can’t believe it; 50 years ago this month we launched the sailboat my wife, our son and I built. It was a red banner month because not only did we launch our boat after 2 years of building, but I also signed a contract for my first novel sitting in the cabin of our newly launched boat, the Waiola, moored in Dana Point, Calif.
It all started with a dream; a little boy’s dream.
I don’t know how or where that wanting came from. I do know that there in Central Africa, without a stream or pond more than ankle-deep, a little kid dreamed of owning his own sailboat.
When I was a kid, back in the 30s and 40s, General electric used to give away free calendars. They were big things; 36” by 18” with a full color picture on the top and the days of the month on the bottom.
One year they came out with all twelve months with sailing vessels. There were sloops, yawls, schooners, dinghies and full-rigged ships. I traded my little bit of candy with my 2 brothers for their pictures at the end of the month when it was their turn to get the torn off GE picture.
We came to the United States in 1944, just before the end of WW II crossing the South Atlantic aboard a British freighter. It was my first exposure to the sea and I loved it. My novel Desperate Voyage is based on that crossing.
When I got out of high school the draft was still in effect and when my number came up I joined the Navy because I didn’t relish the idea of sitting in a foxhole in Korea in the middle of winter eating K-rations and being shot at.
At least in the Navy I would have a dry bunk and warm food. And lucky, lucky me, after boot camp I was assigned to a little destroyer escort; USS Eaton DDE 510, which pitched and rolled like a small ship should rather than on some great big floating barn like an aircraft carrier.
After 4 years of sailing all around Europe doing the things 18 to 22 year olds do in France, Scandinavia, Italy, Holland, England and the Mediterranean etc., I took my discharge and did what society expected me to do; attended college, got my degrees, even became head of a department and then marvels of marvel, I was sent to a conference in Honolulu.
I attended the opening session and decided I no longer gave a damn about innovative education, so spent the rest of the week driving all over the island; climbing mountain trails and sampling the water and sand of various beeches. I had a contract for the following year with the university, but in the spring I resigned, cashed in my annuities, sold everything I owned and moved to Hawaii.
That was the beginning of a little boys dream coming true, but not right away; that little boy, now in his mid-thirties had to go to a whole new kind of school. Next time, learning about storms, smooth sailing and other fun.
May every day be smooth sailing for you and if you get bored you might try one of my books. – Thank you and Aloha – pjs/
In the paper department I have signed a contract for another novel with Second Wind Publishing. The title is, A Short and Futile Life. Have no idea when it will be released, but you can bet your sweet boots I’ll let you know when I know.
It is a near future novel about life in the United States when most, if not all, the personal rights stated and the Bill of Rights have been revoked for the good of the whole.