Friday, December 23, 2011

The Big "G"

He had a pretty good sense of humor.
You've heard of the "Big Kahuna" before, right?  Well - let me introduce you to the "Big G".  My Grandpa, George.  I've written about him before.  He is pretty much the reason I sail because it was his crazy idea to buy a 60 foot boat and sail it from the East Coast to Chicago (with zero experience I might add) and dive in to this whole "sailing" thing.  He figured things out (he was also pretty smart in that fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of way), taught my dad and my uncles to sail, and next thing you know - began what would become a boating family.  Or should I say empire?  He and my amazing grandmother Marge had twelve kids (6 boys, 6 girls).  Can you imagine? Needless to say, family parties are more like conventions and it actually took my brother until he was 13 to get all our aunts and uncles names right.

My Gram and Gramps covered a lot of ground in their day.  From Africa to Antarctica they literally traveled the world together.  Their favorite mode of travel was by boat, of course (they had a total of 6 over course of their life together) and one place they loved more than any other was Staniel Cay in the Bahamas.  It became their playground 'back in the day' and many of my aunts and uncles recount those days vacationing in Staniel Cay as some of the best in their lives.   

My Gramps was a "larger than life" sort of guy.  When he walked in a room, you knew it.  He laughed loud, he partied hard, and had that special je ne se quois that not many people are blessed with.  He became such a mainstay down there in the 60's and 70's that they actually made him the very first commodore of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  He took his responsibility very seriously, as evidenced by his Napoleonic hat and sword worn in the photo above.  He was also loved by the locals (particularly the children) because not only did he bring with him an arsenal of Cracker Jacks every time he visited, he also brought down a swingset.  Swingsets in the Bahamas in those days (and still) were about as foreign as astronauts.

The Yacht Club recently contacted me looking for old photos of my Gramps from that time, and I was so pleased when my aunts and uncles obliged.  There's something magical about old photos...I don't know, I just love them and thought I'd share them with you as well - to honor the legacy of my Grandpa, "Big G".
Because who doesn't have a full bather on board?
That's my beautiful Grandma with the headband on, my Gramps is next to her.
"Ya gotta have equipment, baby."  He loved his toys.
Now I know where I get my ability to tan (he's the really tan one, Grams is on his right).
The Staniel Cay Yacht Club, back in the day.
My grandpa is second from left, my Grams is on the far right.  Stunner!
Brittany & Scott


Geoff said...

Love the article and the pictures. I agree with you, the old photos are the coolest. I just ran across a bunch of my folks in Hawaii back in the 40's. The color, hair styles, clothing and just how rustic everything looks is the best!

I really enjoy your blog and the articles in Cruising World. For the last couple of years we've been looking for "just the right" boat and reading everything I can get my hands on regarding sailing / cruising. You guys help keep the dream alive even when friends tell us we've lost our minds.

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