Tuesday, November 13, 2007


In May of 1980, my marriage to the “General’s Daughter” was falling apart. I decided to quit my job and relocate to a different venue. It was a cooling off period, so to speak; a time to attempt to get my head back together again. So I left her and my three children in Maryland and headed for a safe haven; Chicago, “My Kind of Town”.

Chicago is a wonderful place to live during the summer months. It’s a vibrant city where there is always something to do or see. I moved in with my parents and got in touch with many close relatives and friends. I took a part-time job painting houses with my sister’s husband. The problem with that job was that I couldn’t climb up a ladder; I would get dizzy and the ground below would start to move (I have Vertigo). The running joke was that I had to stick with painting basement windows because I would get a nose bleed after the 4 rung of the ladder.

1980 was truly the Summer of George (my apologies to Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza). After being in Chicagoland for about 3 weeks, my cousin, the Admiral, invited me to go out sailing on a boyhood friend’s (The Captain) sailboat. It was a 32 foot Sloop moored on a can in Burnham Park Harbor (Northerly Island).

I had never been sailing before; I had been on sail boats but only in the harbor. This was the Captain’s second sailboat. Actually it was his third.

The first was a Dinghy that he and I converted into a sailboat in his uncle’s garage. I believe that this vessel now lies at the bottom of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The second was an old wooden boat that leaked like a sieve. I can recall going to the harbor with the Captain, to pump out the bilge and drink beer, in the frigid month of November 1968.

In 1980 the Captain had just been bought out of his managerial job at International Harvester and was receiving severance pay; therefore he was in no hurry to take another job. Not only was this the “Summer of George”, it’s also the “Summer of the Captain”. Two friends with nothing to do besides enjoy what life has to offer.

I spent most all of my free time that summer on the Valiant. The Captain attempted to teach me how to sail. He gave group classes to would be sailors/boat owners to help defray the cost of his mooring and Yacht Club fees. The best of his students were invited to crew aboard the Valliant, especially if they were good looking young ladies.

Now that the groundwork has been set, I will relate several Valiant sailing stories on my next Blog. They will be slightly embellished due to a lack of memory of the participants in these escapades.

The Beach Bum

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duke Zazz,
You are at your best. As ziobubba recently told me, "I can hear you tell the story." I feel that way about you with your talent, telling a story. Keep 'em coming good brother!
God Bless,

Tue Nov 13, 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'first boat' (the dinghy) was a homemade metal sailboat that 'The Captain' purchased in Decatur. It did not end up in the bottem of Lake Geneva, but spent its last days on Stash's farm as a lawn ornament with planted flowers.

The Admiral

Wed Nov 14, 10:26:00 AM  
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