I don’t know when he bought her. But as story goes, he saved up to purchase a boat by tossing all his spare change into the bottom of his duffle bag while working the lines for Canadian Pacific Telecommunications. This would have happened in the late 40’s or, more likely the the early 50’s.
But I know when my grandfather was directed to sell her. That would have happened just after he suffered a heart attack in 1968. I was five years old. And I know that the advice he recieved – to sell this beautiful wooden shooner in an effort to reduce stress – was bad advice. I’m sure it caused more stress than it relieved. My grandmother always said, it broke his heart. Indeed, his condition for the sale was that the boat not sail in his local waters, so he wouldn’t have to see her.
The Wawaloon has changed hands a couple of times until she found her way home. Most recently, she was bought by a friend of the family under whose care she was underwent a generous and sympathetic restoration. And! That also means we get invited for a sail from time to time!!
It is the most comforting and exhilarating feeling to enter a space, a childhood space that is firmly woven into family lore, a space that you have not been in for almost 50 years. And then to find that space looks, feels and smells the exactly the same as it did back then.
I half expected to hear my grandparents voices.
I guess that’s the essence of nostalgia.