Uploaded 21 Jan 2009 — 1 favorite
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© Nancy Richard
Views 155
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Favorites 1
Comments 8
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

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.

8 responses

  • Michael Ball

    Michael Ball gave props (21 Jan 2009):

    A priceless portrait!! Wonderful story and tribute!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (21 Jan 2009):

    Wonderful photo and essay!

  • Rob Roy

    Rob Roy (Deleted) gave props (22 Jan 2009):

    AAA+++ Love the photo AND the story!! Wunderbar!! Tres bon!!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (24 Jan 2009):

    This is a superb shot,,,I just love the story behind it all,,,great..

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (24 Jan 2009):

    This is a wonderful story and tribute to your father. He smiles with his whole face! Love it.

  • Loree McComb

    Loree McComb   gave props (24 Jan 2009):

    This is a fantastic shot of your Dad - what an adventurer he was - thanks much for sharing this story, and what a story it is.

  • Kimberly Koerber

    Kimberly Koerber (Deleted) gave props (10 Mar 2009):

    I love this picture of Great-Grandpa, and I didn't know the story behind it until now.

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight (Deleted) said (6 Feb 2010):

    Awesome shot, Nancy! What a fine looking man, and a nice tribute. I was appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point, but was already finishing my sophomore year in college (and was just two years away from an army commission), so I declined. The Merchant Marine is a lonely, rugged life. Well done! (Caught this on the spotlight.)

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