Editors note: This story has been serialized into six parts which will appear weekly in The Wanderer and at wanderer.com
By Rudd Wyman
Across from Warrens, the Trefrey family summered. Charles ran a successful real estate business in the Boston area that involved Red Sox players. Vern Stephens and Billy Hitchcock visited Point Connett, resulting in my only fishing charter. Motoring off Angelica in my 14-foot skiff, I suggested to Billy that it is risky to stand in a small boat with a Budweiser in one hand, rod in the other, while smoking a cigarette. Later, at Dunn’s Field, I copied Vern’s “Face the Pitcher” home run stance, at hit long foul balls off of Crescent Beach Sox prospect, Jack McGonagle. As Andy Anderson said, “Baseball keeps the rascals outa the house!”
Young Chuck, my age, had a pretty cousin who visited the Trefreys, and I took her to New Bedford to see Strangers on a Train, with Farley Granger. After a bold, rejected attempt to kiss Clarissa goodnight, like a gentleman, I walked her to the door. On the following day, I learned that Jack Warren retrieved my date for a cozy moonlight cruise.
During one summer, Chuck and I enrolled in the Berlitz School of Languages. With a Russian threat and without constructive hobbies, we would study the Russian language. While Chuck learned to swear in Russian three times in one sentence, my welcoming motivation was`, “Hello Comrade” and “Have a Nice Day.” Dad and Andy Anderson knew me pretty good and summer school may have been a ploy toward establishing my new life.
To celebrate the end of World War II, Adrian Peck, whose house was split in two in 1938, sponsored a luau with an imported band, dancers, and chef. The well-attended affair happened between the Wymans and the Pecks, and featured lobsters and a pig roast. Jill Warren, Barbara King, Nancy Bearse, and June White performed a sensual hula dance in grass skirts, and I was old enough to pay attention.
About this time, Jill and I returned from a late-night party in South Dartmouth, and Mom’s Pontiac slid off Redman’s Pier.
“Kids will be kids,” Mom rationalized. However, she blamed Jill for the accident, and we both wondered why. Was it time for the kids of summer to grow up?
Facing the challenges of maturity, fishing was therapy and hopefully part of becoming a responsible person. Some lessons had to be learned before school would start. Apparently though, Andy Anderson thought that my new life was progressing irresponsibly when he stated that Point Connett is a summer refuge for descent folks with delinquent kids who fish for sharks. First, the kids had to eliminate the blowfish population, which was causing a swimming concern off of the stone pier. A blowfish chews on tiny toes, is prehistoric in ugliness and is an annoying bait stealer. After watching my Dad fire rockets from the stone pier, Chuck and I devised an extermination plan. When one tickles the tummy of a blowfish, it puffs up like a textured balloon. After prying open buckteeth, insert a cherry bomb, tickle tummy, light fuse, and boot subject, anticipating airborne explosion. Today, I am not proud of this activity, but historically, the blowfish eradication made more sense than stuffing dead eels into Crescent Beach mailboxes, where some residents complained to Oman about bad smells.
With the blowfish problem solved, four restless lads would become serious shark hunters. Jack, Randy, Chuck and I would pursue a nighttime challenge from the stone pier, usually with female companionship and a pail of iced beer.
A shark hunting career begins with several feet of quarter inch nylon line, about six feet of chain, coupled to a needle sharp hook camouflaged by a fish head. From the end of the stone pier, bait is rowed about seventy feet and dropped.
Each shark hunter has responsibilities. My job was to catch the bait, preferably a fresh, bloody bluefish. Randy, stickball champion of Norwood and eventual bank president, accomplished the rowboat maneuver with dexterity and compassion. Carrying a loaded .22 Woodsman revolver in case a frisky shark should become dangerous, Jack handled public relations, security, and entertaining the ladies. We voted our intern, Chuck, to maintenance and disposal. If the fishing was slow and the hour late, Dad would spot us with the searchlight, an invitation for shark hunters to retire. Chuck devised an after hour plan that he called “The Russian Rattle.” It became his responsibility to tie slack line to the AYC Flagpole, or to an anchor on the beach. When shark strikes and runs, pail pounds and rattles to waken hunters. On one occasion, a rudely awakened neighbor, Ralph Hill, hauled in a five-foot frisky sand shark. After photos, slitting of stomach and filling crevice with stones, Chuck would swear in Russian before dumping the carcass beyond the Angelica Red buoy.
Continued Next Week