Editors note: This story has been serialized into six parts which will appear weekly in The Wanderer and at wanderer.com
By Rudd Wyman
With a failing family business in 1961, the year Margie and I were married, Dad sold our summer home to Bob and Debbie Warren.
Nearly forty years later, on July 7, 2000, Bob and Debbie Warren have been married for 50 years, and this is a special evening to celebrate. My family has been invited to Point Connett – an opportunity to revisit friends and to renew summer memories. Also, ecology scientists will be interested to re-evaluate the blowfish population. We pass Dunn’s Field, where Marshall tripped on a plum thorn bush chasing Jack McGonagle’s game winning homerun. The old tennis court along Angelica Road, where Dave Barker won the Connett Cup, is covered with grass. There are two new courts behind Art Hill’s house.
I point to where Polly Anderson, my old girlfriend, lived, and next door to the Newman house, where Itchy and Bubba put a smoke bomb in Andy’s garage. “Would they be here?” I wondered. My wife, kids, and myself are excited to be invited to this special occasion, and we arrive from our New Hampshire log cabin with fishing rods secure in roof rack. A large circus tent covers the Warren land, where Pecks Luau happened nearly 60 years ago. There is a threat of rain and lightning streaks off of Angelica.
The Warren family welcomes us and Debbie proudly shows interior improvements and there are additional boulders to Dad’s seawall. The home rings of nautical beauty with a Hobycat on the front lawn. I think of many nights I would fall asleep to the soothing echo of waves lapping rocks, a magical sound that most city kids will never hear.
Camaraderie under the big tent begins when I spot Bud and Mary Franklin. I recall an early summer day when Bud and I rowed and dropped a 300-pound mushroom anchor into 15 feet of clear water. Lifting and pushing the anchor over the skiff’s side, chain wrapped around Bud’s leg pulling him overboard. As my friend spiraled to certain death, the chain unwound. With his leg free, Bud surfaced with a badly bruised leg, and we paddled to the stone pier in a skiff nearly full of water. A silent prayer of thanks, then and now.
Kay Hill, in her 90s, with two of her four lovely daughters, greets us. Stan Allen informs me that his California cousin claims that the Angels are a definite threat to our Red Sox. Itchy Newman seems glad to see me, but looks very old, and not a lot wiser than when he built smoke bombs and thrust a barbecue skewer through Andy Anderson’s Old Town canoe. When I ask about Bubba, sadly he relates how his brother drove an Arctic Cat under barbed wire, and lost his head.
Bubba Newman and Art McLean had a long-lasting feud. Art, a loyal Yankee fan, reacted violently when Bubba implied that Ted Williams was a better hitter than Joe DiMaggio.
While Andy sought jail time for both lads, Art put live eels in Mrs. Newman’s private wading pool. When she contacted Oman, he vowed to keep peace; however, Bubba did retaliate and borrowed one of Chuck’s dead sharks to put in her bathtub. Oman instructed both parties to shake hands, apologize to the ladies and to paint his house.
Bubba will be missed tonight, but it is enlightening to discover that a few of my friends are alive. Barb Hill and Barb Tatro, young widows of Margie’s and my generation, are planning a winter cruise. Is it possible that Charlie Peck will celebrate a 60th birthday tomorrow? Charlie was a baby at his Dad’s luau, about the time Mom’s Pontiac skidded off Redman’s Pier.
Contiued Next Week