Friday, June 23, 2006

Andy - part 1

by Tom Gaylord

When I was just a young fellow, my parents used to spend the summer on Kelly's Island in Lake Erie. There were summer cabins, and families would rent them by the week or month. Our family often spent the whole summer out there, with my dad taking the ferry to Sandusky, where he caught the train to his office in Cleveland during the week. On Friday evening, he would join us at the cabin, and we would all be together until the evening ferry left again on Sunday.

My sisters and I pretty much had the run of the island during the week. As long as the weather was good, we could swim or look for shells along the gravelly beach. I would sometimes go fishing with Tom Johnson, who had the place next to ours, but he was a lot older and liked to stay out in his rowboat all day, which I found boring. So, I suppose I went swimming on most days or just went over to look at the glacial moraines carved in the bedrock. The island was full of them. Huge gray rocks with deep grooves cut into them by glaciers or something.

But my favorite time of all was spending time with Andy. He was one year older, and his family lived in New York City. They usually got to the island around the middle of June and stayed until Labor Day, just like us. Andy's father even stayed the whole time, too.

Andy was so interesting because he always had a different perspective on things. When I told him about the circus my folks took me to in the fall, he told me about something called an amusement park that was set up all the time in New York. It sounded kind of like a circus and a carnival rolled up in one, but it also had some things I had never heard of. Like a roller coaster. Andy said they had the biggest roller coaster in the world at Coney Island, and he tried to describe it to me. Years later, when I finally saw one for myself, I could see he hadn't exaggerated. At the time, though, I wasn't too sure.

Another thing he told me was that in New York, the kids could not have any kind of guns. Now, I could see why they couldn't have .22s, because you couldn't shoot them in Cleveland, either, but he said it went further than that. He said even BB guns were frowned on by officials, and if a cop saw a kid with one he would confiscate it. That seemed pretty extreme to me, but it did explain why he was so attached to his Daisy. It seems that he only got to use the gun out at the island, so that was what he did whenever he came. He didn't swim; he didn't fish. He just used to grab that gun of his in the morning and carry it all around the island all day long. As a result, Andy got to be a pretty good shot.

to be continued...


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