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This is my very favorite photo of my Dad. His nickname was Snapper, the origin being lost in time. As a youth, he ran away from home to be at sea. Shipping out on freighters and cargo ships, he gradually worked his way up the "ship's ladder" from common seaman to attain his Master Captain's license in the Merchant Marines.
At the start of WW II, he participated in a crash course at officer's candidate school at Fort Trumbull, where he became one of its "90 day wonders".
When this photo was taken, he had just met my mother. I guess that she was captivated by his devlish smile. I remember difficult periods of time when he would be away at sea for months at a time. It was a tough time for my mother, who had to raise two girls alone. But his infrequent furloughs home were filled with anticipation and excitement. He would come through the door, his duffle bag over his shoulder, while my sister and I couldn't wait to see what treasures he had brought home from all over the world.
During the war, he narrowly escaped his ship's sinking, having just been transferred to a hospital ship for appendicitis. (His ship was bombed right after the transfer.)
As a northeast coastal pilot, he brought many ships and tankers into Boston and New Bedford harbor. His love of the sea stayed with him his entire life.
Also by Nancy Richard
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