I was surprised to learn that my first sea excursion was not the cruise around the Hawaiian Islands with Dad shortly after we were married. Instead, it was on a ferry to a small island off the coast of Rhode Island one month after my second birthday. I got seasick both coming and going to Block Island. Fortunately, only Kelly has been plagued with that curse.
From what Grandma has told me, the accommodations were anything but luxurious, but at the incredibly cute age of two, I didn’t care and sadly, I have no memory of the trip. We went with friends of Grandpa, and the biggest excitement during the entire week was created when a man who did the NBC 11:00 nightly news appeared on our side of the island. One of the friends traveling with us was so excited that she had him autograph her cigarette. His name was John K.M. McCaffrey.
It was not a good time to vacation on the island, since we were all awoken several times by Coast Guard lights looking for survivors of three plane crashes and one drowning.
It was a summer of much rain in New England. Grandma and Grandpa dodged a bullet by traveling then, because just three weeks earlier, the island was hit by the first hurricane of the season. Still, there was enough rain to cause one problem for us as we were leaving the island. According to my autobiography, written when I was twelve, “It had rained the night before and the small boat kept filling up. My mother had to bail with a tin can while holding me. We just reached the ship on time. They lifted us up on the gangplank and we sailed into the sunset.”
Grandma was twenty-eight on that vacation; Grandpa thirty-eight. They were so young. Can you just imagine that scene?