Our last chick had fled and we needed to shift gears into the future. In the beginning, when Paul and I were first married, we brought new interests to each other. I loved classical music
and Paul loved sailing
. Weaving these interests together enriched both our lives.
Enjoying classical music was simple with radio and record players. We even extended this interest to live symphony concerts when the Washington Symphony came to College Park to play. The ancient coliseum where they played even echoed raindrops with powerful intonations, making the concerts special. Paul heard every instrument while I listened, feeling the beautiful pattern all of them invoked.
Sailing was not so easy. Paul built Seaweed, a 14' wooden sailboat which we sailed on the small lake at Mansfield where we lived. We moved it to Syracuse with us and sailed in on Lake Onandago, one of the Finger Lakes, while we lived there. We even moved it to Adelphi, our permanent location. Here it was useless. We were so busy building our house we could not take care of a wooden boat. Chesapeake Bay seemed too far away and we gave the boat away to some one who could love it.
Years passed. Our house was finished and our children were growing up. We suddenly missed sailing. Our ache was deepened when a teaching friend invited us to sail on their boat. The ache was so great that we chartered a boat for our family vacation one summer. That just made the ache greater because we had discovered the wonders of Chesapeake Bay which no longer seemed so far away.
Then my friend's husband died in a terrible airplane crash. For one summer we shared her boat. We took care of it for her. In return, we used it on alternate weekends. Then she died and her estate was closed.
For years we were boatless. Therefore, with our children no longer dependent on us, I suggested we buy a boat. I find it hard to believe that I had to persuade Paul to make the investment. Though it seemed like a big one to him, I was finally able to persuade him to do so.
We almost bought a boat in Annapolis. It was a sleek little racer. At the last moment the owner refused to take our offer. He told us frankly that it was the wrong boat for us. (Bless his heart). We then retreated to West River where we found a Tartan 27, a little green boat with a center board that drew only 3'4" with the center board up.
We little realized the importance of this purchase when we completed the deal. First the deal included the right to a slip from the yacht yard where we purchased the boat. Slips were scarce and this put us in Galesville, a small town on West River instead of Annapolis, a very busy port.
Second, it put us in the middle of the Tartan 27 Association. It was such a large association of boat owners that we often had twenty five boats on a raft on cruising and racing weekends. These sailors became the center of our social life in the years to come.
Third, it brought our children home. They all loved the boat and came back to help us sail it. Larry, the middle son who had dropped out of Antioch College and was wandering around deserts to make his hippy statement, came home and lived on the boat all summer with three cats. Bill, the eldest who lived on the Virginia side of DC, brought his family out each weekend to race with us. Jonathan, off in San Francisco art school, decided to spend his vacation at home so he could cruise with us.
This was in 1970. The movie "Hair" was big then. I got carried away with the theme song, "This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius," and thought we ought to name the boat "Aquarius." The family did not agree. All summer we considered a great variety of names for our craft, none of which pleased us all. Finally, at the end of the summer, in desperation, we decided "Aquarius" was the best name we could find.
To a sailor, there is no sound more beautiful than the sound of the boat moving through the water and the wind whipping the sails which you can hear only when the motor goes off. To complete the bonding of interests Paul and I achieved in early marriage, I bought a tape of "Hair" . When the motor was silenced each time, I went below and played, "It is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius" .