Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(1) "MR. MALLEY, THAT IS NOT YOUR DAUGHTER."


"WAIT FOR ME!"

     Our beach front home was the perfect place for Ed to indulge his fondness for boats. First came the rowboat our children clambered happily in and out of, too little to understand it was more than a beach toy for their specific entertainment.
     On weekends the beach toy became transportation to our second boat, a 17-foot fiberglass skiff anchored beyond Big-Big. Here Ed and I spent many a Sunday morning, placidly reading the papers and unwittingly creating an annoying detour for the Cohasset Yacht Club’s 110 and 210 sailboat races.
   Papers read, Ed would row ashore in the beach toy and collect the youngest Malleys for a boat ride. Not always the most observant of men, he once picked up our towheaded little neighbor, Mimi Dean, carrying her across the beach, and settling her in the rowboat. She murmured nary a complaint.
READING SUNDAY PAPERS IN ED'S FIRST BOAT
    “Mr. Malley,” Esther called from the beach chair where she was keeping an eye on Vonnie and Timmy. “That is not your daughter.” The mix-up was thereupon remedied, to everyone’s satisfaction except the disappointed towhead’s.
     Like the cove’s rock formations, our four youngsters acquired distinguishing nicknames: the Big Kids and the Little Kids. With the Big Kids (Kathie and Teddy), we often went fishing, using hand lines and hooks baited with clams or periwinkles, industriously unearthed on the beach and stored in sand pails. Did we catch any fish? Not that I recall. As with a Christmas present, it was the spirit, not the fish, that mattered.
     The Little Kids, Vonnie and Timmy, were treated to a trip out to Minot’s Light, their father circling around it while they gazed with round eyes at the longest ladder they had ever seen. When they became bigger kids, they liked nothing better than a rowboat ride to Brush Island, situated a few hundred yards northeast of Sandy Cove. Once, on the way back to the cove, Timmy insisted on dragging a line with a bare hook. Then he insisted he had caught a fish. We laughed indulgently until he pulled the line aboard, its hook attached to the backbone of the fish he had indeed caught. His parents were impressed, his sister jealous, and Timmy won the first of the many arguments he would have throughout the years with his parents, grandparents, teachers, school principals, and friends. 
          
     Our next boat was a 32-foot cabin cruiser. It was built in 1949 in Ed’s small manufacturing plant (located on the third floor of his father’s trucking garage) by several of his craftsmen in their spare time and a half. There was nothing wrong with her structure except for one teensy flaw that caused her to sink the following season. 

MAIDEN VOYAGE DOWN COMMERCIAL STREET
      It was lovely mid-September weather, but a bit choppy, the day our cruiser began taking in water a mile and a half northeast of the Boston Lightship. My friend Marion Marsh and I were chatting over our beer and sandwiches when we noticed that Wes was diligently operating the hand pump while Ed was rushing around examining sea cocks, toilet fittings, and sink drains. (Later we learned there was a faulty fitting in the exhaust line.)
     “Must be a leak somewhere,” said Marion.
     “Looks like it. How about another beer?” I said.
     I went below and found myself in water up to my ankles. “Hey, Ed,” I called. “There’s a lot of water down here!”
     “I know it,” Ed called back. “We’re sinking. If we had the tender, I’d row to the Lightship for help.”
     Marion and I went topside and vainly jumped up and down, waving our jackets and shouting at the Lightship. Ed handed us horns and flares. We set off the flares and blew on the horns until we were purple. Ed and Wes tied several kapok pillows together and took off all the hatches, lashing them into a makeshift raft. Then we huddled together on the flying bridge, awaiting our fate.
     We sighted a sail leisurely dipping along the horizon. It looked for a while as if its skipper was going to continue on without seeing our predicament and we were feeling pretty glum. Then suddenly, it came about and headed directly toward us. The nearer it drew, the stiffer became our upper lips. Soon we were cracking jokes and being very British about the whole thing. Our rescuer, it turned out, was George Crocker in the Tango.
     “Nice to see you, George,” Ed said—the greatest understatement since Henry M. Stanley’s “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
     Marion, Wes, and I swam to the Tango, and George helped us aboard. Ed remained on board, sadly surveying the scene. For a moment I had the impression he had decided to go down with his ship. He chose instead to help the harbormaster tow our partially submerged boat to a beach near the yacht club. With the assistance of his insurance company, she was eventually restored to her former almost seaworthy condition.

ED HELPED THE HARBORMASTER TOW OUR BOAT

(2) ED WAS LEFT HANGING FROM THE PROVINCETOWN PIER.

    
      For the next three years after the sinking adventure, the cruiser behaved herself, but her captain did not. He had an uncanny predilection for accidently going overboard. If we were in shark territory, this was not a great thing to do. Sharks could be caught on rod and reel or speared with a harpoon attached to plenty of line wrapped around a barrel. One day Ed had just connected with a whopper and I was dutifully recording the event with the camera when he got fouled up in the line and went flying.  Unfortunately for posterity, I failed to continue focusing on the event, and there followed a memorable sequence of the side of the boat. 
     Ed was fond of stating, from his armchair in front of the TV, that the sharks we harpooned were just big old harmless sand sharks, but I never saw a pair of arms and legs move as fast as Ed’s did.  All I could think of was one of those trick movies where a fellow dives into the water, the projector is put in reverse and whoosh--he’s back on the diving-board. My husband scrambled over the side with the same incredible speed.
     In the fall of 1952 I wrote to a stranger named Darrell McClure:
         I am writing to ask a favor.  My husband, Ed, has been subscribing to Yachting magazine for many years and is an admirer of your cartoons.  When I was recently trying to think of a Christmas gift for the man who has everything nautical, it occurred to me that you might consider drawing a personalized sketch for him.  Certainly nothing would please him more. I realize the enclosed check isn’t much for a man of your reputation, but it’s all my bank account can spare.
     If you accept, the following may help you find an appropriate theme:
     What Captain Malley really needs for Christmas is a gift certificate to a psychiatrist’s office.    He is a rabid perfectionist about everything pertaining to our Matthews, the Happy Days, but when it comes to extracting a few dollars for household repairs, I might as well ask him for one of his eyes.
     Consider the problem of the bathroom linoleum, stained and faded and so cracked the rugs had lumps in them.
     “New linoleum,” sobbed my husband.  “Why I bought you new linoleum ten years ago!”
     A few days later, however, Ed breezed into the house with a box full of linoleum samples and said cheerfully, “Pick a color.”
     “Is this a game” I asked.
     ‘No,” he said, looking hurt.  “We need new linoleum.  You know better than I about things like colors.”
     Hastily, before he could change his mind, I chose a practical bathroom design.
     “That one?  On a boat?”
     There followed a brisk exchange of opinions.  Don’t misunderstand me, Mr. McClure; my husband and I have no differences that couldn’t be settled by the Supreme Court.  This time we compromised:  new linoleum was installed throughout the Happy Days; she was freshly painted, inside and out; new curtains and slipcovers were ordered for her.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the bathroom was resplendent in black marbleized linoleum.
     According to Ed, most of his extravagances (he calls them “investments”) have been in the interest of safety,  Inclined to be safety-conscious since our first boat sank under us, he is determined to be prepared for any contingency except bankruptcy.  Since we have been unable to find anyone with enough derring-do to buy what was left of Happy Days, we are the only folks in town who own, not one, but two boats they can’t afford.  Without blinking an eyelash, Ed will dash off checks for such things as a ship-to-shore telephone, a built-in COsystem, or automatic pilot.  But mention a new lampshade or shoes for the kiddies and he clutches his heart, or his wallet.
     In spite of all this, however, there isn’t a boat in the world I’d rather have.  I’d even settle for the  same captain.

August 1953    
 From Darrell
     Yes, lady, I’ll draw up a sketch for you and Ed Boatguy and tear up your check.  Your letter is sufficient payment.  I’m sending it to the brains at Yachting to see if it can be used as material in some fashion.
       Thus began a correspondence, a collaboration and a lifelong friendship.
      Hubert Kent was a Ford Company purchasing agent, whom Ed had met on a business trip.  Mr. Kent mentioned that he would be vacationing on the Cape in August.
     “Look me up,” Ed said, “and I’ll take you out fishing.”
     Rather to his surprise, the man took him at his word.  Ed came home beaming one night and told me we were taking Mr. Kent on a shark-fishing trip.
     “Is this likely to get you a Ford contract?” I asked.
     “Shh,,” hissed Ed, turning pale and looking over his shoulder.  “Don’t ever say things like that!  If this guy thought I was taking him fishing because he’s a Ford purchasing agent, it would queer things for sure!”
     Hubert Kent thoroughly enjoyed his day aboard the Happy Days.  A whale sounded not far from the boat and had its picture taken for the folks back home in Detroit.  We spotted several sharks; a big one hooked himself long enough to convince Mr. Kent that shark fishing was the greatest sport in the world.
     “Mummy, look what I found on the beach!” Vonnie called, thrusting something black and wet in my face, when we returned home with our guest.  It looked and smelled like a dead dog.
     “How can I dry him out, do you think he’ll dry out if I put him in the sun?  Doesn’t he look real?”
      Timmy was simultaneously jabbering that his new kite was caught in a big tree.  Should he call the fire department to get it down?
     “Um-hm,” I said, meaning yes, the dead dog did look real; but Timmy went off to call the fire department.  I told Kathie, to take our guest upstairs and show him where to change while I set out the caviar and pate de fois gras.  Mr. Kent had barely left the room when Timmy piped up, “Is Daddy going to get the contract?”
     “Shh!  Timmy, will you shut up, for God’s sake!” I whispered, aghast.
     “Well, all I want to know is, did he—“
     I clapped my hand over his mouth.  “Where did he ever get an idea like that?” I asked Esther.
     “Urmph, rrurmph,” said Timmy, squirming.
     “I don’t know, Mrs. Malley,” Esther said.  “He’s been talking like that all day.  You know how he is when he gets an idea in his head.  I thought maybe he heard you and Mr. Malley talking.”
     Timmy was still wriggling.
     “Timmy, I’m going to let you go, but if you dare say one more word like that—well, I don’t know what your father will do to you.”
     “What’s Timmy done now?” asked Ed, appearing on cue.
     I told him.  Ed glanced wildly upstairs, then started for Timmy.  “I’ll strangle him, I swear I’ll strangle him!”
     “Why can’t I just ask—“ Timmy began calmly, not at all intimidated.
     “Timmy,” I pleaded, while his father collapsed in a chair, “not now.  Tomorrow.  Do you understand?  Tomorrow you can ask all the questions you want.”
     “Who the devil told him, anyway?” Ed asked.
     “Nobody told me.  I saw the license plate and I knew you went to Detroit to get some business and I read in a funny-book about a guy taking another guy on his boat because he was trying to get a contract.”
     “I give up,” Ed said weakly.  “I’m never going to work again.  I’ll just retire and let this genius support us.”

      Later that summer Ed and I dropped the hook in Provincetown Harbor and, breaking out our new outboard motor, putted ashore to have dinner.  We visited all the bars and explored all the shops, and I only regretted we couldn't eat in all the restaurants.  Toward midnight we made our way back to the beach where the dinghy was pulled up.  The sand bit my legs and angry waves slapped at the shore.  We had failed to notice a brisk wind developing.
      Removing our shoes, we dragged the dinghy into the water, hopped in and started the outboard.  We had gone a few feet when a wave drenched us—and the outboard motor.  Wading back to shore, we tipped the water out of the dinghy and set off again, this time with a pair of oars.
      "Now don't you wish we'd built that terrace instead?" I said, congratulating myself that I hadn't lost my sense of humor.  I could tell that Ed had lost his by the look he gave me.
     The shadowy outline of the Happy Days, pitching and tossing, loomed ahead.  Ed brought us close enough to the stern for me to grab the ladder.  Then the dinghy heaved and I lost my grip.  At the same time Ed lost one of the oars.  Half swamped, the dinghy was rapidly being swept from the boat when Ed grabbed the dinghy painter and plunged overboard. 
    It was then that I was struck by an insight.  I had married Ed, despite qualms, when I was an eighteen-year-old, slightly pregnant Smith College freshman, wishing I didn’t have to.  Now, as he fought through the waves to the Matthews with me in tow, I realized once again, with awe, that I had unwittingly married the right man.
     "Go below and change into some dry clothes," Ed ordered in his Captain Bligh voice when we were safely on board. I meekly went below.  "Come up here and hold the flashlight while  I bail out the dinghy," he called a minute later.
     I started to say, "Wait till I get some clothes on," then thought better of it.  This was no time for niceties.  Ed bailed out the dinghy while his mate stood by with the flashlight, wearing only a look of admiration.
      The next day we were almost back to Cohasset when our engine conked out off Scituate.  Ed worked over it until the sun went down and it grew cold.  He considered it a personal affront when anything went wrong with his boat, and regarded rescue by the Coast Guard as a fate worse than drowning—but this was a crisis.   Reluctantly, Ed sent up flares. 
     While the Coast Guard was towing us in, Ed gave me my orders.  "The minute we get to the dock, you run into town and find a taxi.  I'll try to brush these fellows off as quickly as possible.  They'll want to make a big thing of it and have pictures in the paper‑‑"
     "Oh boy, pictures!" I said, whipping out my mirror and comb.
     "—but there won't be any publicity if I can help it," Ed  concluded firmly.
      When we reached the dock I scrambled up the ladder, bundled to the ears in Ed's big wind-breaker, and went in search of a taxi.  The Coast Guard, noting my disguise and Ed's evasiveness when they questioned him, put two and two together.
     "Oh, we understand perfectly, sir," one said with a leer.   "Yes, sir, we'll see that there's no publicity."  They clapped him on the back, winked and would no doubt have pinned a medal on his chest if they’d had one handy.   For the next two weeks Ed swaggered.
     I'm signing this account "The Other Woman."

     Then there was the time we were trying to tie up to the pier in Provincetown. I was at the topside controls and Ed was forward with a line that he intended to toss over one of the piles rising above our heads.
     “You’re going too fast, put her in neutral!”
     Hastily I obeyed, but our momentum was carrying us past the piling as Ed wrapped his line around it. "Reverse, revers!"" he shouted.
THE THROTTLE WAS STILL PUSHED UP.
        I shoved the handle in reverse. The throttle was still pushed up, so we shot backward. The result was curious. Ed had neglected to secure the other end of his line to a cleat. As the boat leapt from under him, he made a wild grab for the line, missed it, and ended up hanging from the Provincetown pier.
    I eventually retrieved him, getting paid for my rescue with a dour, “What’s so funny?”    
    When we acquired our Matthews in the fall of 1953, a group of friends assembled to help christen her. The Happy Days was absolutely blooper proof, Ed assured me.
     Then someone got locked in the head and someone fell overboard while attempting to give upside-down advice through the porthole. Since I think I’ve picked on a certain skipper more often than is courteous, I’m not mentioning any names.

     My father was a “waste not, want not” man who successfully imprinted his views on his children. I grew up knowing the value of a dime as well as a dollar; my bankbook was my favorite reading. But Dad had no way of foreseeing I would marry a man who thinks a bank is something you find at the edge of a river.
     Take our Matthews. When Ed first bought her, she was probably the most completely equipped Sport Fisherman on the Eastern Seaboard. Since then, Ed has added so much paraphernalia I often
wonder what keeps her afloat.

                                             
    
     Semper paratus, the Happy Days now has a ship-to-shore telephone, gasoline sniffer, recording fathometer, auxiliary gasoline generator, extra 134-gallon fuel tank, automatic pilot, electric winch, automatic bilge pump, and two new 185-horsepower Gray engines.
                                    
    
     Also in the “Be Prepared” category is our collection of charts. Captain Ed is chart-happy. Besides owning a complete set for our local waters around Massachusetts Bay and the Cape, he can often be found poring over charts of Florida and the Bahamas. Who knows, we might take a cruise down the Inland Waterway someday. We might want to explore Florida’s swamps and canals, or cross from one coast to another via Lake Okeechobee. We’d be pretty foolhardy to try that without charts.
     An elaborate radio direction finder was installed at what I divined was considerable expense. (No one ever gives me a financial report; I just divine these things.) Then along came loran, and what self-respecting Sport Fisherman owner could be satisfied with a mere radio direction finder when a more expensive substitute was available? Ed was only slightly taken aback when he found that the loran requires a 32-volt system. Our 12-volt system had never been adequate anyway, he decided. While he was at it, he might as well add a 110-volt inverter.
     “From now on,” he promised, “you’ll even be able to run a small vacuum cleaner.”
     “O joy,” I said.
      Besides wanting to stay afloat, Ed likes to catch fish. When I used to go fishing with my father, the procedure was simple. You put some weights on a line and a clam on the hook and you let the line down until you felt a thud. Next you pulled it up a couple of feet and jiggled. Then you hauled in a nice fat cod. 
     My husband’s fishing is different. First of all, he insists that anything under ten pounds is not a fish; it’s bait. Hand-lines he considers quaint souvenirs of a bygone age. To catch a “real” fish it is necessary to invest in: a built-in fish box, including a circulating live-fish well; harpoons and barrels; a bow rail to pen in over-exuberant harpoon throwers. (Ed had a way of following the harpoon.) Nothing would do, of course, but the best: an A-frame designed by Eldredge-McGinnis, constructed of hollow spars, complete with a steadying sail.    
    The truth is, when I want fish for breakfast, I give the children one of Dad's old hand lines, a bag of clams, and send them out in their little rowboat. One thing worries me. Lately they've been claiming they need a bigger boat.    

(3) "POOR ED! IS HE SPEAKING TO YOU YET?"

                                                                              
     Unlike many sailors and yachtsmen, Ed rarely took himself or his boating mishaps seriously. There were those who felt sorry for my husband when they saw Darrell McCLure's illustrations for my articles. "Poor Ed! Is he speaking to you yet? When is the divorce?" Their sympathy was wasted. Ed thought Darrell’s cartoons were hilarious.
     I did have qualms when Little, Brown wanted to include the cartoons in Take My Ex-Husband, Please--But Not Too Far.
     I called Ed and posed the question: "Now that you're a few decades older and a man of maturity and dignity, how do you feel about Darrell McClure's sketches of you in various disastrous situations. I'll omit them if they strike you as the least bit offensive."
     Ed answered emphatically, "Don't do it! I wouldn't care if Darrell had drawn a picture of me sitting in the head, reading the funny papers. Leave those cartoons in, and don't worry about me. I still think they're a riot."
June 15, 1969
Westwood
To Ernest Gann
     While browsing through the stacks in our local library a few weeks ago, my husband came up with a Find‑‑Blaze of Noon.  I feel compelled to write you once again and tell you how much this warm, human, and utterly delightful book meant to us.  (A few years ago you were kind enough to answer a fan letter from the flying Malleys and to autograph one of our all time favorites, Fate is the Hunter). 
     I called various bookstores in an attempt to purchase Blaze of Noon for my own bookshelf, but as I feared, it was long out of print.
WITH DARRELL McCLURE AND WIFE SANDY
     With your book still vividly in our minds, Ed and I harnessed up our Comanche and flew south for a vacation in Fort Lauderdale.  We had scarcely unpacked when we had callers—a buddy named Darrell McClure and his wife Sandy.  When Ed and I were boating enthusiasts, Darrell illustrated yarns I wrote for Yachting.  Then there was a long dry spell when nothing I wrote made a hit with anyone except my mother.  When we switched hobbies, Ed liked my flying articles, but the editor of Flying flew them right back to me.  It wasn't until last winter that I was "discovered" by Private Pilot, whose editor declared my style to be exactly the sort of material they were looking for.  Darrell sketched  a couple of illustrations, and I was in business.
     To get back to Fort Lauderdale and the McCLures, we settled down for a drink, and with a little coaxing, Darrell trotted out some of his latest art work. 
     "Here's one I got a big kick out of doing . . . have you ever heard of a guy named Ernest Gann?"
     "Have we ever heard of him!  We feel as if we know him!  We just finished one of his books a couple of weeks ago."
     Whereupon Darrell told us you have a new book coming out, with an excerpt appearing in the June issue of Skipper.  I've been watching the newsstands, but it hasn't shown up as yet.  Meanwhile, Ed has taken over the search for Blaze of Noon.  If luck is with us, perhaps you'll again be so kind as to autograph it for us.  We'll take care of the postage by enclosing a stamped manila envelope.
     If we aren't lucky, at least you'll know from this letter that the Malleys are still among your most devoted admirers.   We'll be looking forward to reading both the article in Skipper and your new book.
[Note to visitors:  I really dislike my cat-that-ate-the-canary expression in that photograph.]

June 20, 1969
Friday Harbor, Washington
From Ernest K. Gann
Dear Mrs.. Malley‑‑or should I say the Flying Malleys:
     Thank you for your kind words about my writing.  It is particularly appreciated coming from you.
     I was amused at your meeting with Mr. McClure, whose work I have so long admired.
     Of course I'll be pleased to autograph a copy of Blaze of Noon if you find one.  Apparently there are still a few around. . .  .

(4) "BOY, ED, I CAN SURE TELL YOU'RE MARRIED!"


July 1954
Osterville, Massachusetts
     I've written about Ed's tendency to fall overboard, but there was one occasion when he didn't fall.
OSTERVILLE HO!  (BEFORE THE TROUBLES)
     We had cruised down to Oster- ville with the Thaxters, to visit a bachelor friend, Keith, in a cottage on the harbor.  There had been a party ashore, and as the scene opens, Jayne and I have returned to the Matthews.  We are waiting for our husbands to rejoin us.  It is already 2:00 A.M.
     "I wonder what's keeping them," Jayne said.
     At last we heard the sound of an outboard approaching the boat. Our smiles of welcome faded when we saw it was only Keith, towing our dinghy behind him. Without saying a word he tied the dinghy to the Happy Days and prepared to take off.
     “Hey, wait a minute,” I said. “Where are our husbands?”
     “Oh, they’ll be along. I just didn’t want them coming out in this little dinghy—too dangerous.”
BACHELOR FRIEND KEITH
     “You tell them it’ll be a lot more dangerous if they don’t get out here right away!” Jayne called after Keith's departing back.
I dug out the searchlight and beamed it at Keith's living-room window. After a moment, the porch lights blinked coyly back a few times, but there was no other sign of action. All the action was taking place inside the house where Jayne and I knew a hilarious party was going on without us.
     At 2:30 I had an inspiration. “We don’t have to sit here like dummies. Why don’t we go in and fetch them?”
     “Do you know how to work the outboard?”
     “Well, no—but I can row. Come on, let's go.”
     “No, thank you," Jayne said.  "I’ll stand here and guide you in with the searchlight.”
     I cast off and after going around in circles a few times (guided by Jayne with the searchlight), I began to get the hang of it. It was really chunky out, and something was the matter with one oarlock. The oar kept slipping out, and by the time I’d get it righted, Jayne would shout that I was heading out to sea.
     As I neared the dock, I was not cheered by the sound of raucous laughter--mostly my husband's--floating out over the water.  I pictured that vivacious Stella from New York sitting on his lap and running her fingers through his hair.  She was quite attractive; in fact, the more I brooded about it, the more she looked like Doris Day.
     Pulling up to the dock, I reached across the dinghy to grab the painter, one foot on the dock's ladder and the other in the stern. With the craft bobbing around like a bucking bronco; I couldn’t quite get my fingers on it. I reached a little further, and the dinghy capsized. I managed to keep my hair dry and sloshed up the ladder, wringing wet from the neck down. Someone must have tipped off the revelers that the enemy was storming the ramparts.
     "Coming, dear!  We were just starting!  We'll be right there," Ed sang out.  I stood there, dripping on the Welcome Mat.    
     Keith appeared in the doorway. “Hey, what happened to you?”
     “I’ve been swimming,” I said icily. “Will you take us back to the Happy Days, please?”
     As we followed Keith down to the dock, I gave Ed a piece of my mind, not caring whether our bachelor friend heard me or not. He turned around and said, “Boy, Ed, I can sure tell you’re married!”
     Ed snickered.
     "It's no laughing matter," I fumed.  "The dinghy capsized. I might have drowned!"
     This seemed to sober him.  He stopped short.  "You capsized the dinghy?  Oh, my outboard motor!  It'll be ruined!"
     That's when I pushed him in.
     Keith ferried us out to the boat, shaking his head and murmuring, boy, was he glad he was single. Blake bounded aboard shouting joyfully, “Here we are, Baby, we’re back, hey Baby, here we are!”
     Ed snapped at me that he was cold and wet, thank you very much. He shoved me out of the way and hurried down to change into dry clothes. Shivering in my clammy dress, I wondered where Jayne was. I found her in the upper bunk of the main stateroom, under the bedspread, trying to look like a lumpy mattress.
     “Guess what happened to me—“ I began.
     “Shh,” said Jayne. “I’m hiding.”
     “But look at me, I’m all wet!”
     “Shh! Don’t let on you found me, will you?”
     “The boat capsized. I fell in!”
     “You did?” she said without interest. “Don’t tell Blake. I want him to think I drowned or something.”
     “Oh all right,” I said sulkily. I sloshed around calling, “Jayne, where are you, Jayne? Yoo-hoo, Jayne.”
     “Blake, I can’t find Jayne,” I said. “She’s nowhere on the boat!”
     “Oh, for God’s sake,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Of course she’s on the boat.”
     He marched down to the cabin where he spotted her immediately but pretended he hadn’t. He marched right up again and muttered, “She’s down in the upper bunk.”
     The search being abandoned, the lumpy mattress arose, declaring tragically that nobody cared whether she drowned or not, nobody even looked for her.
     Meanwhile I was telling Ed that all he cared about was his old outboard motor, I might still be trapped under the dinghy, but what did he care as long as his precious outboard motor was rescued.
     “Why should I worry about you?” he asked. “You’re here.”
     “I’m here! That’s the story of my life.” I said. My married life, that is. He sure didn’t take me for granted when we were courting, I reminded him. He said I was comparing apples and oranges, and I said, How very original of you.
     Jayne told Blake he could jolly well sleep by himself with no sheets, no blankets, no pillows, no Jayne.
     It was a long cold night aboard the Happy Days.
July 22, 1954, Osterville to Osterville
     After Jayne and I captured our husbands last night, the Siege at O’Keefes went on until 5:00 a.m., the last defenders being mainly men. There were so many husbands in the doghouse, one could have started a profitable kennel.
     In order to have someone to talk to, Jayne made up with Ed, and I made up with Blake. We had breakfast aboard Seths’ boat, compared notes on last night, and came up with the unanimous opinion that it was all Keith’s fault.
     “I knew it would get around to that sooner or later,” Keith said.
     Bob O’Keefe took us water-skiing. I was the only one successful at it, which made me feel so good I forgot I was mad and spoke to Ed. He was still mad about his precious outboard motor and even madder that I could water-ski better than he could.
     We had cocktails aboard the Jac-Lyn. Then Juan brought along some hamburg and rolls and we transferred to the Happy Days. Keith was very helpful and kind, quiet and sober all evening--so unlike himself we were worried about him. A few hours sleep probably would have helped.
     We learned during the course of the evening that Blake wears only pajama tops and Ed wears only the bottoms. Jayne has trunks overflowing with fifteen years accumulation of bottoms, and I have an equal hoard of tops. Obviously a swap is in order.
     “Can’t you just see them on our next trip?” said Jayne “The two of them parading through here in one pair of pajamas?”
     “I’m sure I won’t be able to take my eyes off Blake,” I murmured.
     We were feeling relaxed and amiable until Keith brought up the boys’ treachery of the night before. His sympathies were not with Jayne and me. He went on and on about his cousin Juan Seth and what a good sport she was, she never got upset no matter how much Bob went gallivanting or how late he stayed up with the boys.
     Jayne and I got good and tired of hearing about Juan.
     Keith departed, still muttering he was glad he was single. Jayne and I can hardly wait until he gets the fate he deserves. . . a wife.
July 23, 1954, Osterville to Cohasset
     Keith showed up this morning with a couple of apples “for the two schoolmarms.” I said for Ed’s benefit that I wished he’d brought a couple of oranges, too, so I could compare them. We put off our departure until 10:15, when we knew Bob O’Keefe would be piloting a flight to Boston. He came in low over the harbor to salute us. Ed said it was the first time he had ever been buzzed by a commercial airliner. .
     The weather was chunky. We lurched and shuddered our way through the canal and had to hang on all the way home. Finally reached home port at 7:30.
                                                               

(5) JAYNE SAID, "BARBARA, ED FELL OVERBOARD."

Friday, July 25, 1958, Cohasset to Gloucester on the Happy Days
      Eleven year-old Timmy: “When’s Daddy coming home?” 
      “He said around six.”  
      “Does that mean a little before six or a little after six?”  
      “How do I know, Tim, I suppose it depends on the traffic.”  
      “Well, what time is he leaving the office?”   
      “Timmy, I don’t know, all I know is he said he’d be home around six!”
      A little before six Timmy decided to mow the lawn.  He couldn’t get the blasted lawn mower going because Teddy had wrecked it, he said.  Vonnie said Teddy didn’t wreck it, Daddy did.  When Daddy drove in at six, he didn't even have the car door open before Tim was ordering him to fix the lawn mower.
     “Not now,” said Ed. “Next Monday or Tuesday, maybe.  Right now we’ve got to get going.  Is everyone ready?"
     The children hastened to stow our gear in the car.  Timmy made off with the box of groceries before I’d had time to add the perishables from the refrigerator.  He was offended when I chided him.  He was more offended when he cracked his head on the car door and I failed to take time from my rushing around to sympathize.
     “A fine mother you are!” he stormed.  I understood this tribute was not to be taken literally.
     I went out to the garage to plead with Ted to please be quiet after 10:00 at night and not wake Isha with sawing, pounding, clanking, etc.  Last night Mother was awakened by voices, and assuming it was Ted and his friends, called out the window, “If you don’t stop that noise this minute, I’m going to wake you up at six in the morning!”
     “I’d be delighted,” our friend and late guest Bill Blair replied diplomatically, much to Mother’s embarrassment.
     Ed and Tim went out in the skiff to get the Happy Days.  Ed wouldn't waste a minute tying up at the dock, so Vonnie and Tim and I scrambled back and forth with the gear, handing stuff to Ed and finally hauling ourselves aboard.  I was the last in line and almost got left behind as I did the split between the dock and the boat.  Safely aboard, I sang the first line of a song I made up on the spot: “Remember the night we went to Gloucester, and poor old Mom, we almost loster?”  Ed didn't crack a smile.
     The reason our Captain was perturbed was The Fog.  “No one else in the whole world would be crazy enough to make this trip,” he muttered, busying himself with the protractor, compass, stop watch, etc.  I resolved to keep the Log by my side every minute in order to be prepared for riveting eye-witness accounts of any collisions, running agrounds, or dramatic rescues.
     At 7:00 the children were ravenous. I opened a can of Ravioli, heated it, served it on paper plates with bread and oleo.  Ed and I had beer and what was left of the Ravioli.
     At 8:00 the fog grew denser.  Ed was forced to slow down to a crawl.  At 8:05 we sighted land—Gloucester Ho! 
     It was almost 9:00 when we obtained a mooring and shut off the engines.  We watched the ESP show on TV, then Ed and I read our books while the kids watched a movie: Van Johnson and June Allyson in “High Barbaree.”

Saturday, July 26, 1958, Gloucester
     After breakfast, we went ashore with Vonnie and the Nag.  Stopped to take movies of Mr. Wilkins and his world famous rose garden, with Tim grumbling and complaining, come on, we’ll miss the bus.  He was right, and that made him doubly tiresome.  Ed and I have grown numb through the years and consequently were able to enjoy the sights as we walked along, in spite of the Nag.  Vonnie is more sensitive--she tugged at my sleeve and said, “What’ll I do, just ignore him?”  We decided to sing a little song whenever he began to get on our nerves.  Our humming got on his nerves and by the time the bus had completed its circuit and caught up with us, we were all hardly speaking to each other.
     Got off the bus near Bill Brown’s store, shopped for groceries at the A & P, walked to the place that sells fresh lobster and lobster bodies.  The bodies were six for a quarter and the nice man threw in two extra for good luck.  Took movies of the kids tearing into the carcasses and feeding tidbits to Alice, the nice man’s cat. 
    
       Returned to the Happy Days.  Tim was eager to do some fishing.  The weather was cold and unpleasant, but we were talked into it by guess-whom.  As we headed for the Stellwagon Ledge, I curled up in my bunk and began reading back pages of the Log, which put me to sleep in no time.  Then I heard a shout and woke up with a start, thinking one of the kids had fallen overboard.  I rushed out to the deckhouse, found Timmy in a state because his father had decided to turn back.  He said loud and long that we would have to take them out some other weekend this summer because this one had been no fun at all.  I advised him to make the best of things and he said how could you make the best of things when there was nothing to make the best of?
     Vonnie saved the day by convincing Tim it would be fun to take the skiff and go exploring.  Ed gave them a quarter and told them not to hurry back.
     When the children returned from their expedition, Tim was in a much better mood, even  going so far as to apologize for giving us a hard time.  Ed, on the other hand, had apparently expended his last ounce of patience along with that quarter.  He had just settled down to read when Tim put in a request for some line so he could do a little bottom fishing.  Ed threw down his book, glared at me (What did I do?) and growled, “If I ever again bring these kids out on this boat or anywhere else, I’ll need to have my head examined!”
     I didn't agree that Tim’s desire to fish was so unreasonable.  “What’s wrong with giving the kid a little line?  It’ll give him something to do.”
     “Yah, for about three minutes, and then he’ll be wanting something else. Besides, I don’t have any old line.  I’m darned if I’m going to cut off a piece of brand new line just to satisfy him and his crazy ideas.”
     But he got up and began opening drawers and slamming them, looking for some old line.         “After all, we are on a boat,” I said. “What’s so unreasonable about a kid wanting to fish from his father’s boat?  You did practically promise him a tuna. Is it his fault the weather’s so rotten?”
      Ed grabbed a rod and reel.  “Here, he can use this. The line’s no good anyway.”
     “Have you got some kind of lure I could use?” Timmy asked.
     “A lure!  What do you want a lure for, for God’s sake?”
     “Well, I can’t catch a fish with a bare line!  What am I supposed to do, lasso `em?”
     “You can’t bottom fish with a lure, you dope.  Here’s a dollar, row go ashore and get some clams or something.”
      Ed and I went back to reading our books.  Tim returned with some sea worms.
     “Now listen,” Ed said sternly, “that’s an expensive rod and reel—whatever you do, don’t lose it!
      Ten minutes later Timmy walked past me and down the gangway. Then: “Mummy, will you come here a minute?”
      “What is it now, Timmy?"
     “Please come here, I want to tell you something.”  
     “This better be important," I said, putting aside my book and going down to the cabin.
     “It is,” he said unhappily.  “The rod and reel fell overboard.  I set it in the back for a minute and this wave came along and over it went.”
     “Oh-oh,” I said.  
     Ed looked up from his book. "Oh-oh what?"
     “We have a problem.  Tim lost the rod and reel to a big wave.”
     Ed’s book went flying.  It’s a library book, too.  Tim shut himself in the cabin and the rest of us sat around for a while in an uncompanionable silence.  Finally I said, “What are you going to do, make him suffer the rest of his life?”
      “What do you expect me to do, congratulate him?”  
      “Well, no, but didn’t you ever make a mistake?  How about the time you knocked down the telephone pole and had to work all summer for the telephone company?  How about the time you ran your father’s boat on Toddy’s Rocks?  Didn’t your father forgive you?”
     “Just tell me what you want me to do,” Ed said wearily.
     “I think you ought to forgive him.  Suppose Blake or Ray accidentally dropped a rod overboard.  You know darn well you’d knock yourself out reassuring them that it didn’t matter a particle.”
     That seemed to reach him.  At any rate Tim was accepted back into the fold and no more was said about his expensive accident.
Sunday, July 27, 1958, Gloucester to Cohasset
     “Boy, it would be a pretty good day if it wasn’t raining,” Tim said valiantly.  “Do you think Daddy’ll take us fishing today?”
     Daddy's ten hours of sleep had made him a new man. Compared to yesterday's mood, he was almost jovial.  He said he was willing to try the fishing, rain or no rain.  “Poor kids.  They haven't had much of a weekend.”
     “Are you going to send Tim down for that rod and reel?”
     “I’m afraid it’s hopeless,” Ed sighed.  “We’d never find it in a million years.”  He went outside and surveyed the watery expanse behind the boat, perhaps hoping the rod might suddenly pop up like Sir Lancelot’s sword.
     "Shh," Timmy hissed.  “Why’d you have to bring that up?  Now he’ll remember he’s mad at me!”    
      “Well, I thought he might like to try to find it.”
     “You know,” Tim said confidentially, “when I went down in the cabin after it happened, I wasn’t crying for myself, I was crying for Daddy.  After he told me to be sure not to lose that rod and reel . . . I was so mad I was pounding my head like this and pulling out my hair.”
     Before we got under way we called the house.  “Everything’s gone very smoothly,” Kathie assured us.  She had just one complaint.  “Would you ask Vonnie why she left Heidi out all night Friday instead of putting her in the barn the way I asked her to?”
     Vonnie gasped, crossed her eyes, and made a series of faces.  “I forgot!” 
    “She forgot,” Ed relayed to Kathie.       
    “Well, try and impress on her that she’s got to learn not to be so absent-minded.  I won’t dare keep Heidi at home when I go away to college if I can’t trust Vonnie to be responsible.  Give her a good scare, won’t you, Dad.”
     As Kathie’s words were coming through loud and clear over the speaker, this wasn’t necessary.  Vonnie went below to stretch out on her bunk and think things over. 
     At 9:45 we steamed out of the harbor, leaving behind us the quaint little town of Gloucester and a thirty-five dollar rod and reel.  As soon as we reached the open ocean, the boat began to roll.  I hurried below to take a Dramamine and brought one up to Vonnie, who by now had transferred her woes to the couch in the deckhouse.
     “I don’t need a Dramamine,” she said sulkily, raising her head and waving me away.
     “That’s what they all say.”  
     “All right, all right, I’ll take one." She sat up and looked at the pill and cup of water I placed in front of her.
     At that moment Tim breezed in.  “Where’s a raincoat, I need a raincoat.”
    “You’d better take a pill,” I advised.
     “Okay,” he said agreeably, grabbing Vonnie’s pill.
     “Well, thank you very much!” Vonnie snapped.
     “I didn’t know it was yours,” Timmy said, aggrieved, returning the pill.  “Just because you left Heidi out all night, you don’t have to be so grouchy.”
    “You should talk!  After the way you lost Daddy's rod and reel—“
     “That’s enough of that, you two,” I said, getting another Dramamine for Tim.
     A little later Vonnie said she was sorry she was so grouchy and went above to join the boys.  I lay down on the couch with a blanket and concentrated on fending off mal de mer.  Tim came bounding down with the news that Vonnie had spotted a school of tuna.  I helped him lift down one of our remaining rods and reels, then fell back on the couch, definitely seasick.  
     At 1:15, when we were almost home, the wind shifted into the southwest.  “We should have stayed out,” said Ed.  “In another half hour it will be flat out there.”
     It seemed silly to turn around and go back where we’d just come from, but that’s what we did.  Timmy was all for it and Vonnie and I figured we could stand it if it wasn’t too rough.     All I can say is, Captain, if that ocean was flat, so is Gina Lollobrigida. I lurched from galley to deckhouse with steaming bowls of clam chowder.  Everyone kept telling me I should come up on the flying bridge, “It’s fun, Mummy, honest,” Vonnie said, but I preferred lying on the couch and psycho-analyzing myself.  (Now tell me, Mrs. Malley, when did you first begin to suspect that you and your husband’s boat were incompatible?”)
     
     When the Lollobrigida-sized crests had dwindled to a modest Audrey Hepburn type, I pulled myself together and went topside to see what was going on.  Ed and the children were playing word games.  He was trying to think of a vegetable, starting with a Z, so I whispered in his ear: “Zucchini.”  
     “Puccini!” he cried.              
     Arrived at Cohasset dock a little before 4:00 p.m.            

     In addition to writing in the Happy Days Log, another of my responsibilities as First Mate was to take movies of any action and to be sure not to run out of film. To do so was to incur a stern reproach from her captain.
     On one occasion, all the Log-worthy excitement took place in Nantucket Harbor, a favorite destination. We were there for the third season with Jayne and Blake Thaxter. . .
August 4, 1958
     Bought groceries, returned to the Happy Days. Changed into our fancy duds, the fellows looking natty in their Madras jackets. Had cocktails--and suddenly it was almost eight. Since the Yacht Club launch service ended at 10:00, it was time we got ashore for dinner. Ed said two or three times that someone ought to put the “T” flag up to signal the launch, but Blake just sat in the cabin reading his book. He doubtless figured the launch had already received our message, since we had blown the horn a number of times and waved. This procedure wasn’t official enough for Captain Malley. When Blake didn't take the hint, he hurried out to the bow to put the flag up himself.
     I was below getting a sweater when I heard a noise I couldn’t at first identify. Then Jayne said in a deep, matter-of-fact voice: “Barbara, Ed fell overboard.” The noise, I realized, was a splash.  Jayne and Blake rushed out to the cockpit to make sure Ed was all right; I rushed to get the movie camera. I wasn’t on the scene in time to film his first emergence, when he came up spewing water and snapping instructions: “Get the ladder! No! No! Not this side, the other side!” Then he disappeared.
     He told us later he was so anxious not to be seen by the approaching launch that he considered diving under the boat instead of swimming around it to the ladder. On second thought,  he might get trapped under there and drown. Then again, maybe drowning was preferable to being seen swimming around Nantucket Harbor in his Madras jacket. Deciding to swim as fast as he could around the bow of the boat, he launched into an American crawl. Seeing his colorfully clad arms thrusting through the air, he was sure everyone in the harbor could see them, too. He took a deep breath and dove underwater.
     Meanwhile Blake hung the ladder to port, instructed Jayne to signal the launch that we’d changed our minds, and staggered toward the steps of the deckhouse, exploding into hysterics.  “Out of my way!” I said, colliding with him in the doorway. I stood on the starboard side of the cockpit, adjusted the camera, and waited for the captain to make his reappearance. Jayne was semaphoring to the launch, which was approaching with a load of passengers. “No, no!” she called, waving her arms and shaking her head. “Next trip!”
     No sign of Ed. I became concerned because it was getting dark; I was afraid the movies would be underexposed. I walked over to the ladder and peered into the water. At that moment Ed’s head popped up. “I was never so embarrassed in all my—” Spotting the camera he ducked under again.
     I returned to my  post and waited. Naturally he was feeling camera-shy, but someday we’d all have a good laugh over the movies. Ed caught me off guard, though, when he suddenly scrambled over the side of the boat and crashed to the floor on all fours. He scuttled past me like a giant crab and scurried down to the deckhouse, where Blake hadn't yet recovered from his paroxysms. He raised his head, laughing and gasping, and saw his buddy crawling through the doorway, sputtering: “Clear the way! I’m coming through!”
     Blake doubled up again, and this time Jayne and I joined him,  Ed, however, was still taking the matter with dead seriousness.  “Absolutely the worst blunder a skipper can make!” he moaned, starting to peel off his dripping clothing. “Completely unforgivable! We’ll never be able to come to Nantucket again!”
     If you could have seen your face!” Blake managed to gasp. “When you were going through the air, arms flailing, in a sitting position—”
     “Did you actually see it happen?” Jayne asked.
     “Every nanosecond,” Blake said. “I happened to be looking through the Venetian blinds as Ed was sidling by carrying the flag. One second later I see him leaning backwards, the next second he’s making a wild grab for the boat, and then—oh, Ed, the expression on your face!”
     We three dry ones break up again. The Captain, the kind of chap who believes in keeping his dignity when all about him are losing theirs, says he hopes we're having fun.
     “And then when I saw you coming through enemy lines. . .” Blake says, wiping away tears of laughter.
     The situation plainly called for another drink. When the launch boy came to get us, we kept peeking at him to see if his manner betrayed any awareness of our recent aquabatics. Either he missed the show or he was a very tactful young man. 

(6) "TIMMY, WILL YOU SHUT UP FOR GOD'S SAKE!" I WHISPERED, AGHAST.


                     

October 21, 1954
Cohasset, Mass.

Dear Mr. McClure:                                 
     I am writing to ask a favor.  My husband Ed has been subscribing to Yachting magazine for many years and is an admirer of your cartoons.  He even faithfully follows “Little Annie Rooney.”
     When I was recently trying to think of a Christmas gift for the man who has everything nautical,  it occurred to me that you might consider drawing a personalized sketch for him.  Certainly nothing would please him more.  I realize the enclosed check isn't much for a man of your reputation, but it's all my bank account can spare. 
      If you accept, the following may help you find an appropriate theme:
THE CAPTAIN IS A BIT OF A SLOB AT HOME
     What Captain Malley really needs for Christmas is a gift certificate to a psychiatrist's office.  He is a rabid perfectionist about everything pertaining to our Matthews, but  when it comes to extracting a few dollars for household repairs,  I might as well ask him for one of his eyes.  The Happy Days is a 40‑foot twin‑screw power boat that some people might call a yacht or cabin cruiser. Ever since the Captain installed outriggers, he prefers to call it a Sport Fisherman.
     Consider the matter of the bathroom linoleum, stained and faded and so cracked the rugs had humps in them.  "New linoleum!" sobbed my husband.  "I bought you new linoleum ten years ago!"
      A few days later, however, Ed breezed into the house with a box full of linoleum samples and said cheerfully, "Pick a color!"
      "Is this a game?" I asked
      "No," he said, looking hurt.  "We need new linoleum.  You know better than I about things like colors."
     Hastily, before he could change his mind, I chose a practical bathroom design.
     Ed stared.  "That one? On a boat?"
     There followed a brisk exchange of opinions.  Don't misunderstand me, Mr. McClure; my husband and I have no differences that couldn't be settled by the Supreme Court.  This time we compromised:  new linoleum was installed throughout the Happy Days; she was freshly painted inside and out; new curtains and slipcovers were ordered for her.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the bathroom was resplendent in black marbleized linoleum.    
     According to Ed, most of his extravagances (he calls them "investments") have been in the interest of safety.  Inclined to be safety‑conscious since our first boat sank under us, he is determined to be prepared for any contingency except bankruptcy.  Since we have been unable to find anyone with enough derring‑do to buy what's left of the Barbara, we are the  only folks in town who own, not one, but two boats we can't afford.  Without blinking an eyelash Ed will dash off checks for  such things as a ship‑to‑shore telephone, built‑in CO2 system,  or automatic pilot. But mention a new lampshade or shoes for the kiddies and he clutches his heart, or his wallet.
    In spite of my complaints, however, there isn't a boat in the world I'd rather have.  I'd even settle for the same captain.                           
Old Saybrook, Conn.
October 28, 1954
From Darrell
    Yes, lady, I'll draw up a sketch for you and tear up your check. Your letter is sufficient payment.  I'm forwarding it to the brains at Yachting to see if it can be used as material in some fashion.  Of course, we would never do anything about it without your consent.
Cohasset, Mass.
November 12, 1954
To Darrell
     I am, of course, delighted that you are willing to sketch a Darrell McClure cartoon for Ed.  And gratis, yet!    I have been remembering other adventures that might be grist for your mill.  One evening last summer, Ed and I dropped the hook in Provincetown Harbor and, breaking out our new outboard motor, putted ashore to have dinner.  We visited all the bars and explored all the shops, and I only regretted we couldn't dine in all the restaurants.  Toward midnight we made our way back to the beach where the dinghy was pulled up.  The sand bit my legs and angry waves slapped at the shore.  We had failed to notice a brisk wind developing.
    Removing our shoes, Ed and I dragged the dinghy into the water, hopped in and started the outboard.  We had gone a few feet when a wave drenched us—and the outboard motor.  Wading back to shore, we tipped the water out of the dinghy and set off again, this time with a pair of oars.
   "Now don't you wish we'd built that terrace instead?" I said, congratulating myself that I hadn't lost my sense of humor.  I could tell that Ed had lost his by the look he gave me.
    The shadowy outline of the Happy Days, pitching and tossing, loomed ahead.  Ed brought us close enough to the stern for me to grab the ladder.  Then the dinghy heaved and I lost my grip.  At the same time Ed lost one of the oars.  Half swamped, the dinghy was rapidly being swept from the boat when Ed grabbed the dinghy 's painter and plunged overboard. 
     I had married Ed, despite qualms, when I was an eighteen-year-old, slightly pregnant Smith College freshman, wishing I didn’t have to.  Now, as he fought through the waves to the Matthews with me in tow, I realized once again, with awe, that I had unwittingly married the right man.
     "Go below and change into some dry clothes," Ed ordered in his Captain Bligh voice when we were safely on board. I meekly went below.  "Come up here and hold the flashlight while I bail out the dinghy," he called a minute later.
     I started to say, "Wait till I get some clothes on," then thought better of it.  This was no time for niceties.  Ed bailed out the dinghy while I stood by with the flashlight, wearing only a look of admiration.
    The next day we were almost back to Cohasset when our engine conked out off Scituate.  Ed worked over it until the sun went down and it grew cold.  He always considers it a personal affront when anything goes wrong with his boat, and rescue by the Coast Guard is a fate worse than drowning—but this was a crisis.   Reluctantly, Ed sent up flares. 
     While the Coast Guard was towing us in, Ed gave me my orders.  "The minute we get to the dock, you run into town and find a taxi.  I'll try to brush these fellows off as quickly as possible.  They'll want to make a big thing of it and have pictures in the paper‑‑"
     "Oh boy, pictures!" I said, whipping out my mirror and comb.
     "—but there won't be any publicity if I can help it," Ed  concluded firmly.
     When we reached the dock I scrambled up the ladder, bundled to the ears in Ed's big windbreaker, and went in search of a taxi.  The Coast Guard, noting my disguise and Ed's evasiveness when they questioned him, put two and two together.
   "Oh, we understand perfectly, sir," one said with a leer.   "Yes, sir, we'll see that there's no publicity."  They clapped him on the back, winked and would no doubt have pinned a medal on his chest if they’d had one handy.   For the next two weeks Ed swaggered.    
     With warm regards from Ed, the four kids, and The Other Woman, as I now call myself. . . .
Fort Lauderdale
November 26, 1954
From Darrell
     I don't know if you've ever done any professional writing, but believe me you should. With only one husband, two boats, four children and undoubtedly dogs and/or cats to raise, you certainly have the time.
    The sketch I have drawn would make a good job for Yachting, assuming I have your permission.  S'posin' we let Yachting run it.  Captain Edward Malley, Jr. would see it in print for the first time.  Then whammo, you could present the original drawing to him.  Would you like that?
December 10, 1954
Cohasset
To Darrell
   What a dear man you are to dream up the whammo idea for Ed.   I'm trying to convince him it's only the Christmas season that is making me twinkle all over; but he's beginning to wonder if I have another man in my life.  Aha!  I do.  
   Are you ready for another Captain Malley yarn?
   Last summer we took a man from Detroit on a fishing trip.  But this wasn't just any stray man.  Hubert Kent was a purchasing agent for the Ford Motor Company, whom Ed had met on a business  trip a few weeks earlier.  Mr. Kent had mentioned that he would be vacationing on the Cape in August. 
  "Look me up," Ed said, "and I'll take you out fishing."      
  Rather to his surprise, the man took him at his word.  Ed came home beaming one night and told me we were taking Mr. Kent on a shark‑fishing trip.
  "Is this likely to get you a Ford contract?" I asked.
  "Shh," hissed Ed, turning pale and looking over his shoulder.  "Don't ever say things like that!  If this guy thought I was taking him fishing just because he's a Ford purchasing agent, it would queer things for sure!"
   Hubert Kent thoroughly enjoyed his day aboard the Happy Days,  A whale sounded not far from the boat and had its picture  taken for the folks back home in Detroit.  We spotted several sharks; one of them hooked himself long enough to convince Mr. Kent that shark fishing was the greatest sport in the world.
    "Mummy, look what I found on the beach!" our daughter Vonnie called, thrusting something black and wet in my face, when we returned home with our guest.  It looked and smelled like a dead dog.
   "How can I dry him out, do you think he'll dry out if I put  him in the sun?  Doesn't he look real?"
    Our son Timmy was simultaneously jabbering that his new kite was caught in a big tree.  Should he call the fire department to get it down?
    "Um‑hum," I said, meaning yes, the dead dog did look real; but Timmy went off to call the fire department.  I told my older daughter Kathie to take our guest upstairs and show him where to change while I set out the caviar and pate de fois gras.  Mr. Kent had barely left the room when Timmy piped up:  "Is Daddy going to get the contract?"
   "Shh!  Timmy, will you shut up for God's sake!" I whispered, aghast.
   "Well, all I want to know is, did he—"
    I clapped my hand over his mouth.  "Where did he ever get an idea like that?" I asked Esther, our housekeeper.
   "Urmph, rrurmph," said Timmy, squirming.
   "I don't know, Mrs. Malley," Esther said.  "He's been talking like that all day.  You know how he is when he gets an idea in his head.  I thought maybe he heard you and  Mr. Malley talking."
   Timmy was still wriggling.
   "Timmy, I'm going to let you go, but if you dare say one more word like that—well, I don't know what your father will do to you."
   "What's Timmy done now?" asked Ed, appearing on cue.
   I told him.  Ed glanced wildly upstairs, then started for Timmy.  "I'll strangle him, I swear I'll strangle him!"
  "Why can't I just ask‑‑" Timmy began calmly, not at all intimidated. 
   "Timmy," I pleaded, while his father collapsed in a chair, "not now.  Tomorrow.  Do you understand?  Tomorrow you can ask all the questions you want."
   "Who the devil told him, anyway?" Ed asked.
   "Nobody told me.  I saw the license plate and I knew you went to Detroit to get some business and I read in a funny‑book about a guy taking another guy on his boat because he was trying to get a contract."
   "I give up," Ed said weakly.  "I'm never going to work again.  I'll just retire and let this genius support us."
February 13, 1955
Cohasset
To Darrell
   Thank you for writing so enthusiastically to Yachting's editor about my yarns. I’ve written Mr. Remington suggesting as an article possibility the time our first boat sank.  I didn't tell him my contribution in that hour of peril was to keep running to the head.  When the water in the cabin was waist deep, the trip to the head was pointless‑‑and, according to Ed, downright dangerous.  He ordered me to go above and stay above. 
   What finally happened to this courageous couple?  Did they go down with their vessel, never to be heard from again?  Or was there a dramatic, last‑minute rescue?  Learn the spine‑tingling details in the next issue of Yachting!
    Perhaps I should write instead about the time we were trying to tie up to a pier in Provincetown.  I was at the topside controls and Ed was forward with a line that he intended to toss over one of the piles rising above our heads.
  "You're going too fast," he called.  "Put her in neutral."
   I obeyed, but our momentum was carrying us past the piling.
   "Reverse, reverse!" he shouted.    
ED MADE A WILD GRAB FOR THE LINE. . . .
   I shoved the Barbara in reverse.  The throttle was still pushed up, so we shot backwards.  The result was curious.  Ed had neglected to secure the other end of his line to a cleat.  As the boat leapt from under him, he made a wild grab for the line and before I could say, "What on earth are you doing, dear ?" he was hanging        from the Provincetown pier.  I eventually retrieved him, getting paid for my trouble with a dour, "What's so funny?"
  Another time Ed was climbing down from our cruiser into another when his foot slipped and he fell between the two boats.   To this day he wonders what made him so clumsy.  It was spilled  mayonnaise.  Rather than upset him, I let him keep on wondering.
   Twice Ed has fallen overboard while trying to harpoon a shark.  He insists, from his armchair in front of the TV set, that  the sharks we harpoon are just big old harmless sand sharks—but  I never saw a pair of arms and legs move as fast as Ed's did when he saw a harmless old shark fin coming toward him.   It was like one of those animated cartoon where someone dives  into the water, the projector is reversed, and whoosh—he's back on  the diving‑board!       
   Then there was the breezy Saturday I went for a sail with our friends the Remicks on their sloop the Marionette.  Ed was at his office all morning, but early that afternoon he followed us out in the Matthews.  Approaching a sailboat safely with a motor cruiser is not a simple maneuver.  Ed made several vain attempts to throw Ray a line.
   This was a challenge, so Ed devised a new strategy.  He cut the motor and climbed into the dinghy, holding the line attached to the Happy Days  The plan was for Ray to keep making passes  at the skiff until Ed succeeded in throwing him the line.
   The first few passes failed.  "Let's try once more, Ed!"  Ray shouted.  A captain for Northeast Airlines, he wasn’t the type to give up easily.
   This time Ray caught the line.  As it curved out in a great arc between the Happy Days and the Marionette, I cheered.  Ray quickly secured his end of the line and as it grew taut, guess who was caught in the middle?
THE CAPTAIN FLIPPED THROUGH THE AIR.
   A few feet above the water, the line whipped across the skiff like a knife.  To avoid being decapitated  Captain Malley  grabbed it with both hands and BOING!—he flipped through the air like a stone from a slingshot.
   We now had the Matthews in tow, as planned, but her skipper was rapidly receding in the distance.  I was wringing my hands and babbling that I wanted my husband back.
   "Calm down!" barked Ray, another one of those guys who think they’re Captain Bligh just because they own a boat..      
    We came about and plowed toward Ed, who was sitting soddenly in the skiff.  Ray released the Happy Days, and Ed climbed aboard, shouting that he had had it, he was going ashore.
    "Don't let him go without me!" I wailed. 
     "Oh my Lord!" groaned Ray.
     It was decided that Ed would bring our cruiser alongside  the Marionette.  If he could get near enough without damaging the boats, I was to transfer from one to the other—about as easy as transferring from one galloping horse to another, but the only one worried about possible damage to me was I.
    Ed eased the Happy Days toward the Marionette until the  two boats were plunging along neck and neck, with Ray’s wife, Dottie, at the tiller of the Marionette..  Ray was standing by me at the rail to help me across and I was saying uneasily, "Hey, can't you slow this thing down?"
    Busy concentrating on the necessary split‑second leap, Ray ignored my question, yelled "Okay, now!"—and gave me a push.
    I grabbed for the Happy Days with one hand and Ray with the other. Result: Ray and I both wound up on the  Matthews  This failed to improve Ray’s disposition.
    Ed and Dottie soon had the two boats plowing along side by side again, and Ray transferred back.  He didn't wave.
   Darrell, the whole family has enjoyed The Best of Darrell McClure tremendously.  Would you be kind enough to autograph the enclosed copy for me? 
Fort Lauderdale
February 24, 1955
From Darrell
    Your letter has floored me completely!!!  I howled and pounded the floor.  I forwarded both your letters to Ham de Fontaine at Yachting
March 1, 1955     
Cohasset
To Darrell.    
   Would Yachting be interested in my Protestant‑ethic upbringing versus Ed's prodigality?  My father was a "waste not, want not" man who successfully imprinted his views on his  children.  I grew up knowing the value of a dime as well as a dollar; my bankbook was my favorite reading.
    But Dad had no way of foreseeing I would marry a man who thinks a bank is something you find by the edge of a river. 
    Take our Matthews. When we acquired her in the fall of 1953, she was probably the most completely equipped Sport Fisherman on the eastern seaboard.  Since then, Ed has added so much paraphernalia
I often wonder what keeps her afloat.
                                    
     
    Semper paratus, the Happy Days now has a ship‑to‑shore telephone, gasoline sniffer, recording fathometer, auxiliary  gasoline generator, extra 134‑gallon monel fuel tank,  automatic  pilot, electric winch, automatic bilge pump, and two new 185‑horsepower Gray engines.
      Also in the "Be Prepared" category is our collection of charts.  Captain Ed is chart‑happy.  Besides owning a complete set for our local waters around Massachusetts Bay and the Cape, he can often be found poring over charts of Florida and the Bahamas.  Who knows, we might take a cruise down the Inland Waterway some day.  We might want to explore Florida's swamps and canals, or cross from one coast to another via Lake Okeechoobee.   We'd be pretty foolhardy to try that without charts.
    An elaborate radio direction‑finder was installed at what I divined was considerable expense.  (No one ever gives me a financial report; I just divine these things.)  Then along came loran, and what self‑respecting boat owner could be satisfied with a mere radio direction finder when a more expensive substitute was available?  Ed was only slightly taken aback when he found that the loran requires a 32‑volt system.  Our 12‑volt system had never been adequate anyway, he decided.  While he was at it, he might as well add a 110‑volt inverter.
     "From now on," he promised, "you'll even be able to run a small vacuum."
     "O joy," I said.
      Besides wanting to stay afloat, Ed likes to catch fish.  When I used to go fishing with my father, the procedure was simple.  You put some weights on a line and a clam on the hook and you let the line down until you felt a thud.   Next you pulled it up a couple of feet and jiggled.  Then you hauled in a nice fat cod.
     My husband's fishing is different.  First of all he insists that anything under ten pounds is not a fish.  It's bait.  Hand-lines he considers quaint souvenirs of a bygone age.  To catch a "real" fish it was necessary to invest in:  a  built‑in fish box, including a circulating live‑fish well; every conceivable size and style of fishing rod, reel, and lure;  harpoons and barrels; a bow rail to pen in over-euuberant harpoon  throwers.  (Ed  has a way of following the harpoon.)  Next we had to have a look‑out platform, as standing on tiptoes with the binoculars was getting us nowhere.  Nothing would do, of course, but the best: an A‑frame designed by Eldredge‑McGinnis, constructed of hollow spars, complete with a steadying sail. 
    Ever since we moved to Sandy Cove in Cohasset, I have yearned for a front lawn like normal people’s.  My husband claims he honestly prefers our yard in its beautiful wild state; I claim he honestly preferred not mowing lawns.
    Last spring he surrendered.  (This was about the time he ordered the more powerful ship‑to‑ shore phone.)  I employed a landscape architect who decided after only an hour of meditation that we had too many trees.
   "Oh dear," I said.
   Ed has a passion for trees.  He even loves dead trees.   He's had a complex about trees ever since we lost so many in the hurricane. 
   All day I plotted my strategy.  Ed thinks I wind him around my little finger, but I had a feeling that this time it would take six dray horses and a winch.
   "Say, honey," I said, after mellowing him with a T‑bone and stacking the dishwasher single‑handed.  "You know that jungle you call a yard?  Well, today I think I saw a bear in it."
   "We are not cutting down any trees," my husband said distinctly through his newspaper, rattling it for emphasis.
   "Oh," I said.
    Maybe you think this discouraged me, Darrell.  Not at all.   I just bided my time and on approximately the same day I saw eye to eye with him on the two new 185‑horsepower Gray engines, he saw eye to eye with me on weeding out all those scrubby little trees.
    The landscape architect tied strips of cotton around the ancient elms she wanted spared. 

Shortlyafterward the contractors marched in and weeded out the elms.
    Miss Griffin said later she had clearly told the contractors to leave standing all trees marked with cotton strips.  The contractors said they had clearly told Miss Griffin to mark the trees she wanted eliminated.  What my husband said clearly shocked even me.           
    We're going to Nassau for the two older kids' spring vacation.  If you're still in Fort Lauderdale, maybe we could stop by and say hello before we return to Massachusetts.
March 5, 1955
Fort Lauderdale
From Darrell
   I am beginning to feel sorry for Ed Boatguy.  Judging by the picture you sent me, I would say he is a man of quiet dignity and rightfully proud of his achievements both afloat and ashore.  What happens to him shouldn't happen to a dog.  We all make boo‑boos from time to time which we hope to bury sight unseen in  the dark of the moon, but what chance does this poor character  have with a female Samuel Pepys trailing his every footstep with notebook in hand and a glint in her eye?       
   I still want to hear about The Sinking.  And do let me know exactly when you may be down here                                                            
WITH DARRELL IN FORT
LAUDERDALE
.March 13, 1955
To Darrell
      Correction please!  The only time my husband could be described as a man of quiet dignity is when he's asleep.  He's different, he's refreshing, he's a wag—but dignified, no.   Everyone in town is charmed by my husband, from the most affluent mechanic to the lowliest banker.  They say, "Barbara, you're a good kid and we like you, but that husband of yours—what a character!""
      At parties, where is the most laughter, the most entertaining conversation?  Wherever Ed Malley is.  Usually I am too far away to participate in the hilarity because social custom decrees that a wife with a husband like Ed should be maneuvered as far from him as possible.  Some day I'm going to put on a disguise and see if I can worm my way into the inner circle.  I could go as a worm.  Or as Samantha Pepys, notebook at the ready.
      You asked about The Sinking.  Our first boat was a 32‑foot cabin cruiser built in Ed Boatguy's manufacturing plant by several of his craftsmen in their spare time‑and‑a‑half.  From the day of her maiden voyage down Commercial Street in Boston to the day she sank, life aboard the Happy Days was full of surprises.      
       On the afternoon she was due to be delivered to Sandy Cove, Captain Ed paced the beach in front of our house, binoculars in one hand, movie camera in the other.  I lay prone on the sand, brooding over House Beautiful. In my opinion we needed a terrace, a driveway, and new shoes for the kids far more than we needed a boat. 
      When the cruiser appeared, the neighbors gathered to look her over and pull her apart.  One of them didn't like her color.  (I had suggested light blue but Ed thought I said bright blue.)  Another thought she was poorly proportioned. 
     "Kind of top‑heavy," said a third.  I found myself bristling with loyalty.
     "So is Marilyn Monroe," I reminded him.   
     The boat did look top‑heavy because the roof of the cabin was seven feet high—another of my suggestions.  I wanted room for windows instead of portholes, so the captain's galley slave could see where she was going.
      Our stateroom was on the small side, but comfortable if we curled up like snails.  By way of compensation the cockpit was big enough for four or five couples and several large tuna. 
     We have never caught a tuna.  We have never seen a tuna, but we have reduced the shark population considerably.  Sharks can be caught on rod and reel or speared with a harpoon attached to plenty of line wrapped around a barrel.  As a rule we prefer the thrill of harpooning them.  That is, Ed prefers the thrill of harpooning them.  I prefer taking pictures.
     It was lovely mid‑September weather, but a bit choppy, the day our boat began taking in water a mile and a half north of the Boston Lightship.  Marion Marsh and I were  chatting over our beer and sandwiches when we noticed that Wes  was diligently operating the hand pump while Ed was rushing  around examining sea cocks, toilet fittings, and sink drains.  
    "Must be a leak somewhere," said Marion.
     "How about another beer?" I said.
     I went below for the beer and found myself in water up to my ankles.  "Hey, Ed," I called.  "There's a whole lot of water down here!"
    "I know it," Ed called back. "We're sinking.  If we had the tender, I'd row to the Lightship for help."
     Marion and I went topside and jumped up and down, waving our jackets and shouting at the Lightship.  Ed handed us horns and flares.   We set off the flares and blew on the horns until we were purple.  Ed and Wes tied several kapok pillows together and took off all the hatches, lashing them together in a makeshift raft.  Then we huddled together on the flying bridge, awaiting our fate
     We sighted a sail leisurely dipping along the horizon, then coming about and heading directly toward us.  The nearer it drew, the stiffer became our upper lips.  Soon we were cracking jokes and being very British about the whole thing.  Our rescuer, it turned out, was George Crocker in the Tango.
     "Nice to see you, George," Ed called—the greatest under‑statement since Henry M. Stanley's "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
     Marion, Wes, and I swam to the Tango, and George helped us aboard.  Ed remained on the Happy Days, sadly surveying the scene. For a moment I had the impression he had decided to go down with his ship.  He chose instead to help the harbormaster tow our partially submerged boat to the beach near the yacht club.

     With the assistance of his insurance company, the Happy Days was eventually restored to her former almost seaworthy condition.
     When we acquired our Matthews the following season a group  of friends assembled to help christen her.    Happy Days Again was absolutely blooper-proof, Ed assured me. Then someone got locked in the head and someone fell overboard while attempting to give upside‑down advice through the porthole.  Since I think I’ve picked on a certain skipper more often than is courteous, I’m not mentioning any names.
Cohasset, Mass.
March  25, 1955
To Darrell                
     I've written you about Ed's tendency to fall overboard, but there was one occasion when he didn't exactly fall.
     We had cruised down to Osterville with our neighbors the Thaxters to visit a bachelor friend Keith, in a cottage on the harbor.  There had been a party ashore Saturday night, and as the scene opens, Jayne and I have returned to the Matthews.  We are waiting for our husbands to rejoin us.  It is already 2:00 a.m.
     "I wonder what's keeping them," Jayne said. 
     At 2:15 a.m. I dug out the searchlight and beamed it at Keith's living‑room window.  The porch light winked coyly a few times in reply, but there was no other sign of action.
    At 2:30 I had an inspiration.  "We don't have to sit here like dummies.  Why don't we go in and fetch them?"      
    "Do you know how to run the outboard?"
    "Well, no‑‑but I can row."
    "No thank you," Jayne said.  "I'll stand here and guide you in with the searchlight."
    I cast off and after going around in circles a few times (guided by Jayne with the searchlight), I began to get the hang  of it.  It was really chunky out, and there was something the matter with one oarlock.  The oar kept slipping out and by the time I'd get it righted, Jayne would holler that I was heading out to sea.
     As I neared the dock, I was not cheered by the sound of  raucous laughter—mostly my husband's—floating out over the  water.  I pictured that vivacious Stella from New York sitting on  his lap and running her fingers through his hair.  She was kind of attractive; in fact, the more I brooded about it, the more she  looked like Doris Day.
     Pulling up to the dock, with one foot on the ladder and the other in the stern, I fell in.  I managed to keep my hair dry and sloshed up the ladder—wringing wet from the neck down.    Someone must have tipped the boys off that the enemy was storming the ramparts.
                                                                                   



      "Coming, dear.  We were just leaving.   We'll be right there," Ed sang out.  I stood there dripping on the welcome mat.  Someone laughed.
     "It's no laughing matter," I fumed as we walked back to the dock. "The dinghy capsized.   I might have drowned."
     Ed stopped short.  "You capsized the dinghy?  Oh, my outboard motor!" he moaned.  "It'll be ruined!"   That's when I pushed him in.
Fort Lauderdale
April 4, 1955
From Darrell
    I'll bet you haven't done a single thing about that article for Yachting.  You should.  How can your hard-working husband seek honest and just retirement if you don't start bringing some money into the house?  Think of your hungry children.  
     In other words, shake the lead out!                                   
Old Saybrook.
August 6, 1955
From Darrell
    So you dunnit!  Sold your story to Yotting!  Now they say I'll have to illustrate the thing.  How do I get mixed up in these affairs, anyway?
Cohasset, Mass.
January 16, 1956
To Darrell
     Your illustrations are priceless, Darrell!  The article is creating a flurry here in Cohasset.  A number of friends have conveyed their condolences to "poor Ed" and asked me questions like: "Is he speaking to you yet?" or "When is the divorce taking place?"
    Can I help it if he keeps supplying me with material?