Fred has led a mediocre life for over sixty years. He wants some adventure in his life. He bought a boat to cruise around and down the waterway.
His wife will not join him. He has to get away or in his frustration he will do his first acting of violence.
He loves the boat and his freedom. He finds exciting sex with a pretty boat bum. Later he is mugged and thrown off a bridge by a salt and pepper team of robbers and loses his boat and memory.
He rescues a woman in dire distress and becomes judge and jury of her tormentor. The mugger team crosses his path and restores his memory. He kills the pair before they kill him and the woman.
Dope smugglers tradeoffs make Fred well to do. He finds a home for the mental injured woman. He decides to buy another boat and search for his lost craft. Another woman with a young son enters his life and boat. He searches all the way to Florida and gets involved with two crooked custom agents. Violence and death occurs.
He discovers his lost boat after a cruise up the waterway. Fred’s heart worried him as he cruises back to Fort Lauderdale for his woman there. He plans to take it real easy and share her with her young husband. The young wife wants another child. Fred enjoys his lifestyle and his new bigger yacht moored under the overhead roof up the New River. His sex life is complicated by the inclusion of the little boy’s grandmother. She brings the boy to visit Fred. She also announces that a new baby is on the way and she knows who the father is. She is not hoggish and will share. Long live Fred, long will he enjoy his two women.
About the Author
I was born near a lighthouse far out at sea on January 20, 1913. I must have heard the ocean roar and heard it pounding on the shore. My eyes first opened up to see a giant of a wave that soared right up to the tower door; and I had yet to see the floor.
Eight summer’s came and with it a big three mast schooner came also. It was anchored outside of the twelve mile limit zone; Prohibition was the name of the game. The liquor was off loaded to the motor boats that were to get it to the land. I was at the tiller, far at sea and my father was out from sampling the tea. I was the youngest rum runner of them all.
At fifteen and sixteen the summers just flew. My father took me with him for his crew as a sailor on a motor cruiser and then on a yawl sailing yacht. I decided that I would follow in my father’s footsteps and be a seafaring man.
I was Captain Kelley at seventeen; on a New York Club thirty foot, sail sloop. There was no power other than sail; “BLACK PHANTOM” was her name.
Now I needed all that I could earn to support a pretty nineteen year old wife and home. October 27, 1931 we married and bought some property in Milbridge, Maine. Vera Alley Kelley and I had three children and were married for sixty five wonderful and memorable years.
My 2nd World War, (I had been on Boon Island for World War one) I worked as a rigger at the Boston Navy Yard during the attack on Pearl Harbor; December 7, 1941. My first three days were spent replacing a stay on the foremast of “OLD IRONSIDES” the U. S. S. Constitution.
A Liberty Ship yard was built at South Portland, Maine. I managed to get my release from the Navy Yard. At South Portland’s West yard as a “pusher rigger” I helped build the ships and I was on board every launching as they slid into the bay. I steered for Captain Litchfield at any and all of the harbor trial test runs.
I bought an older sixty foot yacht, with screens and soft bunks for our beds. I
renamed her “EASTERN STAR” and ran charter parties up and down the Connecticut River.
Combustion Engineering was a fine company to work for until the Union spoiled it all. I had worked there over eight years. I retired myself again to move south to North Carolina to enjoy my boat longer than a few summer months. I developed a small marine railway yard of my own.
I was at home at Harkers Island near the Outer Banks of N.C., when I got an interesting call. The “BIG BAD JOHN” had hit her propellers at a long sand creeping shoal in the waterway. I was recommended to Jimmy Dean as the right licensed captain to pilot her to Florida. Jimmy Dean said, “Take her over!”
I was hired by Luther and Misses Blount to captain the “M. V. MOUNT HOPE” for the smooth water cruises from Warren, Rhode Island to Canada. My last cruise on the so called “Mini Love Boat” was through the Cape Cod Canal and on to Maine.
The forty five foot ketch the “FROLIC”, I bought for my own. The “FROLIC” was berthed at Morehead City close to my home.
An offer to buy my “FROLIC” came. I sold the boat and bought a mobile home at Edgewater, Fla. on the waterway. Golf and shuffling were fun for a while; I won trophies and some money too.
I left there and went to the Palms in Sebring, Florida, a retirement home. I did most of my writing here as I had time on my hands to spare. Then a few years later I lost my wife that had been with me for 65 wonderful years.
I had my grandson pick me up from Sebring and move me to Newport, North Carolina where I could be with my son Bob Kelley and his family. I have enjoyed being at the Crystal Coast for the nice scenery and fair weather. I have been going to the car races that my grandson Big Jim Kelley drives the # K7 car in and he has been very successful in winning 20 championships and nearly 200 feature wins. With four generations still around the Kelley name will be around for a long time to come.
I have been writing of my experiences that I have had in my wonderful lifetime. I have many tales to tell; why should I not write some books, if only to see if I can set a hook.
Capt. Gardner M. Kelley
Now 98 years old, and going strong, 6-16-2011
“I will kill her”, if I don’t get out of the house; “I will kill her.” This explanation was coming from Fred as he showed his frustration. Fred Johnson had always been a quiet man. He had worked faithfully for the brush company for thirty years. Now that he was retired he wanted a little change and some excitement in his life.
His wife of twenty four years wanted no part of any change. She had her little group of cards and bingo friends. She would go nowhere with him. He could just picture her headstone. “Here lays Maggie Maples Johnson, killed by her frustrated husband, 1915-¬1975. His first wife had died in an accident when the boy was ten.
Fred had married this woman, a few years younger than he was. He supposed he deserved what he got. He thought from the first that she was more interested in a meal ticket than a husband. Over the years she had done nothing to change his mind. She had kept a clean house and prepared most of the meals. They lived a mediocre life. Well! Fred was a mediocre person. He had dressed this morning without bothering to shower. When he stormed from the house he was dressed in the low price Bond suit and Tom McCain shoes and socks. The Arrow shirt and striped tie had been in use for some time. His Adam felt hat was almost new; Fred was not a hard man to please.
Fred had been trying for weeks to get her to see his side of the story. He wanted to buy a boat and cruise to Florida. The inland waterway would be interesting to see and explore. Fred had read articles; in some p1aces, the Dismal Swamp area for example was much as it had been hundreds of years before. He wanted to cruise through there. His wife said, “You are just an old fool.” She would then scream and run to her room; the door would slam shut.
He walked toward the river and a small marina. He could think and relax there; it had acted as his sanctuary for some time now.
“KELLEY MARU” he read from the stern of an old fifty foot navy liberty boat.