S

ometime in the 1970s my father decided on yet another project; it was to be his last, his finale: he was to build a boat on which he and my mother—both of whom had only recently seen an ocean—could live out their final years in comfort, buoyed by the newfound pleasures of the sea, a distinct change from the sea of cornfields within which they had spent the majority of their Midwestern lives.

It was not to be an ordinary boat; he designed it from scratch; it was to be built the same way.  It was an enormous effort for an old dog, one that would take three years or more.  At this time of their lives, they did not have much money but, as  usual, they persevered.  You can read something of the effort undertaken here.  This is a pictorial of that struggle.

Even during construction, rust was an ever present enemy.  Temporary coats of paint, as construction went on, attempted to alleviate this problem but, as you’ll see from these pictures, they did not achieve much success.  Yet finally, with the help of the young man from Pittsburgh and his family, on “vacation” one winter in Alameda, the boat took on a beautiful white sheen.  I wish I had pictures of this final stage of development; the reason I do not is probably because we were so busy trying to finish the job and get the boat launched.  It seemed to me an enormous undertaking.

So these pictures don’t show her at her best, yet in a way they bear witness to the struggle undertaken—a difficult one—and perhaps they are better for that.