Time marched on and by 1961, my narrow view of the world could be described by that which appeared through the windshield of my boat. In hindsight, it was a million-dollar view. My older brother Steve graduated from school and went on to serve in the United States Navy, but I would enjoy the "good life" for at least four more years.
By now, I had become a "regular" at Seymour's Boatyard and our young boat-crazy crowd just couldn't go fast enough. Newer horizons to conquer would include trips to Connecticut, a challenge that would test our seamanship. Norwalk was the beginning; our 10- and 12-footers would soon become high-speed express vessels on the Long Island Sound crossing into another state-- a thought that today shakes my sense of reason to the core, knowing that the sound has easily swallowed up 100-footers. Soon, trips to Rye Beach's "Playland" by dead-reckoning, a 23 mile sojourn became a favorite destination, allowing us to visit the amusement park for the whole day.
Soon, more friends who had their own boats joined into the fray and we formed a club called "The Cavitators." Our boats were all painted the same powder blue color with white topside trim and the "Cavitators" club emblem near the transom.
Our mission statement was to generally be "hot rod" boaters, making fast tight turns in and around other boats and straightening out quickly, a maneuver that would cause the propeller to "cavitate" in a pocket of air, pressing the motor into an immediate RPM spike. It was the aquatic equivalent to "leaving rubber." In truth, we were hooligans and very much impressed with ourselves.
To support our gas-guzzling habit, we dug clams. One afternoon, after a clam-digging day near the airplane hangar, we fired up two boats and entered into a race. At full bore, loaded with clamming gear and kids, we were stem-to-stem only a few feet away from one another when the driver in our boat made a hard left (for some unknown reason) cutting off the other boat. The resulting impact severed our boat to the keel and we sank immediately. All gear was lost, no one was hurt. God does watch over fools...and hooligans.
The cruise that never happened was a week-long junket that would take our flotilla westbound on Long Island Sound, into the East River, north to the tip of Manhattan at the Bronx and on into the Hudson River for a trip into the Hudson River Valley. We were becoming students of real-time geography and seriously set this plan in motion, but we couldn't come up with an excuse to be away from home that long.
Our parents gave us miles of slack, but I'm sure that one would not have passed muster. There were some restrictions in growing up on the harbor, but not many. We danced in defiance of the establishment in a misdemeanor sort of way. Our parents tried to discipline us, our teachers tried to teach us, the law tried to control us, but to condense it, we were after all, young teenagers. We were Hell on water but it wouldn't be too long and we square off with the Altieri the "low-plains drifter" in a different arena. This time, it would be concrete and asphalt.