1039 – This Old Boat
Episode 1039 – This Old Boat
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, and my patron peeps, I wonder if there was ever a spin-off the show This Old House, This Old Boat. I’m serious. I’m serious like I don’t know. It would make sense. If there isn’t, who has the rights to This Old House? Let’s get it going, This Old Boat. Thanks, patrons.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could step…set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts or feelings or physical sensations, so things on your mind maybe from the past, the present, or the future, or that are just…they’re popping up. It could be physical sensations, it could be emotions or feelings, it could be a change in your schedule or your routine or your work, or you maybe just work a second or third shift, or one of the many other shifts I’ve invented.
Whatever it is, it sounds like you’re here because you need some company in the deep, dark night, and that’s really what I’m here for. I’m here to keep you company — I’m so glad you’re here — and to take your mind off of stuff while you fall asleep. So, what I’m trying to establish I guess is a safe place where you don’t need…where you feel comfortable enough not to listen to me. Believe me, if you listen to me for more than five minutes, you say oh wait, you’re right, I don’t really need to…and I’d say it’s fine, ‘cause your first reaction might be well, he’s not making any sense. Should I listen ‘til he starts…? I say no, no; no need to listen to me at all. You can listen. So here’s the thing, I got this safe place. I’m gonna smooth it, I’m gonna pat it, I’m gonna rub it down, then I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night.
I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones…creaky, dulcet tones; a little bit different than what you expect. They may take some getting used to, but for the regular listeners, they say oh, okay, I did need something a little bit different. You say Scoots, that’s under…you’re more than a little bit different. I’d say yeah, aren’t we all? Oh, so shall we all or whatever they…so say we all are a little bit different, and that’s so good. I also…pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. It means I’m gonna get mixed up, I’m gonna use filler words, go off-topic, keep rambling, get lost in my own ovular logic. They called it circuitous logic, but I said mine’s more ovular, or ellipse…I say, is that an ellipsis? Did my brain just go in an ellipsis? You say no, it…when…I think that was an eclipse. I’d say hardy-har-har, brain.
So, if you’re new, I want to give you some information up front, because it’s my job to kinda earn your trust and make you feel comfortable, so if you’re doubtful or skeptical, first thing’s first; that’s totally normal and should be expected. I’d say bravo, because you’ve probably been tossing and turning and tried other stuff, and it’s vulnerable listening to a sleep podcast. Now, I will tell you this podcast does not work for everybody. It probably doesn’t even work for the majority of people that try it, but I really do hope it works for you. There are a lot of other sleep podcasts you could check out at sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou, but I can tell you I’ve been doing this show…when I record this, over…I’ve recorded over a thousand episodes, and most listeners that became regular listeners over the years…since 2013, there’s people that have been listening that whole time.
They said yeah, it took two or three tries for me to get used to you, or it took me listening once, strongly disliking the podcast, coming back a few months later, giving it another try. So, just kinda see how it goes. That’s one thing. You say well, that’s really a way to sell your podcast. I say well, it’s the truth, right? But there’s even more stuff you probably want to know if you’re new, and if you’re a regular listener, what up? How about that? This was supposed to be one kind of episode, and now we’re gonna talk about old boats, maybe. I don’t even know…well, will this be a personal essay style episode, or what am I gonna be talking about? So, okay, so the…oh, but…oh, so if you’re new though…oh, what are other things you know?
One, I make this show for two reasons; I’ve been there, tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I got all of those and I know how it feels there in the deep, dark night. So, that’s the first part. The second thing is that you deserve a good night’s sleep. Your sleep is important and you deserve a place you could rest and a bedtime that you don’t dread, a bedtime that you feel neutral about or you say well, at least I got that sleep podcast to listen to. He’ll be goofing around. How did he miss that the name…how did he not see the…maybe he didn’t watch the post-credits credits…post-credits scene on Falcon and Winter Soldier, to see the boat out in the ocean. But…or…I don’t know. But so…oh, what was my point?
Oh, you deserve a good night’s sleep, and if you can get the sleep you need, maybe you could…life’s a little bit easier. Maybe you’re a little bit more engaged. Maybe you can be in a place where you could flourish. If your life’s better, everybody’s life’s better. It’s just a real fact. Some people dismiss that, but if your life’s a little bit better, if you’re a little bit rested, our world really is a better place. So, that’s why I make the show. Other things to know if you’re new that really throw new listeners off…oh, the pod…this is a podcast you don’t really listen to. You just kinda barely pay attention to it. That can be really hard at first, to kinda passively listen to someone rambling. You may…might be wondering when does it get started or where is thing going, and I’d say well, it’s not going anywhere and it already started.
Already started and stopped a few times. So just kinda consume it like you would if you were looking at clouds or listening to something in the…I don’t know. For me it’s sports. Sometimes…not recently, but I want to start putting baseball on again and not paying…I gotta start listening to baseball in the background again so I can not pay attention, but it soothes me. Or train videos on YouTube during the day; I need a lot of soothing. That was one thing I was using in late 2020 and early 2021. So, this podcast is kinda like that, something to have in the background, to keep you company. It also does not put you to sleep. It keeps you company while you drift off. I take your mind off of stuff. That’s why the episodes are over an hour, so you have plenty of time to fall asleep, and if you can’t sleep, I’m here.
My job is to keep you company whether you’re listening or not. So, if you’re listening and you need me, I’m gonna be here, too. I don’t even know what I’ll be talking about, but I’ll be present here for you, because that’s important. That’s really the whole show. Other things if you’re new that can throw you off is the structure of the show. The show’s structured very intentionally; to meet our goals, to help as many…to be there for free twice a week and to kinda help ease people into bedtime. So, the show starts off with a greeting so you feel welcome and seen. Then there’s listener support, then there’s sponsors and support for the show. That’s how we put it out twice a week. Then there’s the intro. The intros usually…I’ve been trying to get them in around twelve minutes, but they always seem to go a bit longer.
So, the intro’s between ten and twenty minutes long. The intro’s really a show within a show to ease you into bedtime, so you could start winding down. You can…as you become a regular listener, you can kinda figure out what works best for you. But what works for getting used to the show is if the first few times…is maybe putting the show on as you’re getting ready for bed or as you’re doing something…wind-down activity, even if it’s making your bed or drawing or looking through a magazine. I don’t know. People don’t do that anymore, but knitting or just sitting around chilling. So, the intro just gives you a little bit of distance from the day.
I don’t know, regular listeners…there’s a small percentage of people that skip the intros and there’s a percentage of listeners that fall asleep during the intros, but for the most part, the listeners are either in bed getting comfortable or doing something else to chill out and wind down. So, that’s why the intro is ten to twenty minutes long. The variety is just my inability to be concise and go on rambles. You never know. I say well, I could plan out ten minutes and talk for twenty-five. That kinda serves the purpose of the show. That’s where my natural skill set comes in, of not being able to get to the point. So, that’s the intro. Then there’s business between the intro and the show. Those are the sponsors that enable us to be here for you twice a week for free. Then there will be a story.
Tonight I guess it’ll be a story about This Old Boat. I don’t know if it’ll be This Old Boat or This Old Boats, ‘cause I haven’t recorded it yet, but I’m excited now. I don’t know…Bob…oh, I can’t even say it; Bob…you say, those are words I can’t pronounce. Villa, right? Bob Villa? Bob Villa. I don’t think…people would say Villa, but it’s Bob Villa. Villa? I don’t know. Bob Villa. Well…so, probably…I thought that would be easier for me to say, but apparently my mouth can’t say it, so that’s easy to avoid. I said we’ll probably be overusing that term, but not if we can’t say it. So, we’ll talk about that, and then there’s some thank-yous at the end of the show. So, that’s how the show works. That’s why it’s here for you, and that’s kinda what to expect, just rambling in a friendly voice in the deep, dark night to keep you company, take your mind off stuff. I’m really glad you’re here. I really work hard on this show. I yearn and I strive. I really want to help you fall asleep, and these are the ways I’m able to be here for you for free twice a week.
Alright everybody, this is Scoots here. This is an…this came up in the intro. I did not expect this, but this is a episode that’ll be called This Old Boat. Even as I’ve been saying to myself for the past…I said, what is this gonna be about? I say, I don’t know. But there was a show that I didn’t really watch; I saw…it was Saturized as a kid. It looks like it’s still on the air. I’m gonna read the Wikipedia article about it. It looks like it has a new cast. When I was a kid, it was known…the show was called This Old House and Bob Villa was on it; V-I-L-L-A. Bob Villa is slowly…it was like one of those PBS…it was similar to Rick Steves, but it was This Old House. Bob Villa was on it. I think at some point Bob Villa had True…was doing ads for True Value and it had Bob Villa brand stuff at True Value.
But oh, wow, Bob Villa hasn’t presented it since 1989, then it was Steve Thomas from ‘89 to 2003. Kevin O’Connor; 2003 to present. Different stars of the show…honestly, I’ve never owned a house, so I’ve never really watched the house. In my entire adult life, I’ve never even really realistically thought about owning a house. I mean, even kind of…I’ve always lived in the Bay Area, so it’s just been something…I’ve been like well, it’s probably just not for me. I mean, if I lived somewhere that wasn’t a major metropolitan area, I might think about it, but even for me, I just personally…I don’t know, I tend to be contrarian about stuff you’re supposed to grow up and do, so that was another thing where I was like no, no, I’m not gonna own a house.
Then living in the Bay Area, it’s just something…it’s just a different area where you’re like eh, I don’t know, that’s too much…comes with too much…but let’s read about this old house since I don’t know anything about it, really. Oh, it had a sister series. It wasn’t called This Old Boat, but This Old House had a sister series; Ask This Old House. They were often broadcast together as This Old House Hour, or The New This Old House Hour. They were underwritten by GMC and the Home Depot, and lumber distributor…one Weyerhaeuser…Weyerhaeuser, they were paying a million a year as a underwriter. Also insurance companies, different things underwritten the show. The third series was Inside This Old House, so no This Old Boat, but soon…I mean, reach out; you could borrow the name from me.
The Renovation Guide on the Learning Channel. The classics are still carried on commercial…on the DIY network. Syndicated…it was one of the earliest home improvement shows. We’re not gonna do a recap of This Old House. I’m just…it started as a one-time thirteen-part series on WGBH and it grew as one of the more…it was…it produced spin-offs; New Yankee Workshop. Seventeen Emmys and eighty-two nominations. There was the one…the first two projects were in Dorchester and Newton. It was always focused on renovating older homes, including those of modest size and value. Oh, with the same sweat equity kinda thing that they use on a lot of the shows. These are shows…the…I mean, I’m…I don’t have anything against these shows. It’s just not my thing.
But I do watch them on people…other people’s screens on airplanes. I tend to watch a lot of that Property Brothers on airplanes, but when other people are watching it. Is that the show? Property Brothers, I think. But that goes for other genre shows. Shark Tank; I’ve never seen it and there’s other shows like that. I did watch one episode of Shark Tank recently. I think that was by accident. I don’t even know how I accidentally watched that, but usually I watch those on airplanes as well, while other people are watching it. I watched one…it wasn’t Shark Tank but it was something like it where they…this was four years ago. Then I started watching it ‘cause it was on-demand on the plane, ‘cause they were working with key lime pies. Anyway…shows you watch on airplanes…watch other people watching.
Oh yeah, Bob Villa started his competing show because he was making commercials…oh, that weren’t working with the underwriters. Tough, it’s tough being a content creator. But during Villa’s tenure, there was 11 million viewers. Let’s see, then Kevin O’Connor…anyway, I don’t know. There’s a lot about it. But I think that’s the most important thing, was that it was just a show. So then, I was thinking during…the only important part was that it was about fixing up old houses. So then I thought of This Old Boat, like I said, and I said well, there’s…I mean, here’s the thing; I don’t know anything about fixing stuff or remodeling stuff. For me, remodeling would be getting enough stuff off the floor to vacuum. That’s a re…that’s a heavy-duty sweat-equity remodel where I live.
But it got me thinking This Old Boat sounds nice. That sounds like a show I would probably not watch, either. Then I thought…you know, I thought of Falcon and the Winter Soldier ‘cause they were working on a old boat, and I enjoyed that, too. Though I did, again…I think I said it maybe in the intro or intro of another episode; I would have liked to see those two or the whole fam out on the boat on the water. Like, that cut of the episode. So anyway, if you want to put me in touch with whoever’s in charge…oh, Malcolm Spellman is in charge of it. One of the great TV show runners and guest of Scriptnotes podcast. Scriptnotes, not Scribd Notes. That’s a different podcast. But so, what was my point? Oh, okay, so I was thinking about This Old Boat, right?
I had a couple days to think about it since the intro, ‘cause I said well, what would we do it about? Then I said…part of me was like oh, let’s do something fantastical. But then I said well, we could do a personal essay style one and see where it goes, because of the boats…the boats that I’ve encountered in my life. Then I started to think about it; I said okay, so, let’s start with…we’ve never been a big boat family, but when I…after I said that to myself, then I started thinking about the boats in our lives. These are the boats of our lives, boats on an hourglass lake. Those are all old boats, so I said okay, This Old Boat; these are the boats of my past. We will have to go with a broad definition of boats, if that’s okay with everybody, which I think hopefully it is.
We’ll take a little journey here, and there will probably be other boats that bob right up out of my subconscious. I think the boats should be split at least initially into what I can remember and particular lakes. I guess with…can’t really talk about Syracuse Central New York lakes without talking about Onondaga Lake, which hopefully one day I will take a boat out on. When I was a kid, Onondaga Lake, you couldn’t go…you could walk on the shore of it, but it’s this really big lake in the city of Syracuse. Or I guess maybe part of it is in Solvay and North Syracuse. But I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve been on a boat on Onondaga Lake, and…but I think you can go on a boat on Onondaga Lake now, so that’s lake one.
I just thought of another boat story, so hopefully we’ll get to Skaneateles Lake, ‘cause I have two boats I encountered there. Those would be in my middle school, sixth grade…or fifth, sixth grade to high school years. But let’s go further back to elementary grammar school. So, we’re going with Oneida Lake. Is that right? Is that the name of the lake? Oneida Lake. Now, Oneida Lake runs along the New York State Thruway, and it’s a bigger lake. It’s still very close to the city of Syracuse, on the outskirts of Brewerton, is…not very sure about directions. Northwestern or northeastern edge of the lake. This lake was a big part of my childhood; just a few boats that we encountered, or floating things, so we’ll talk about this. So, Oneida Lake; my dad has one best friend. His name is Richard Dick.
He goes by Dick, Dick and Anne. Dick and his father, when I was a little kid, would normally have a boat. Once a year…and a…oh, a motorboat, like a boat you see…not like a yacht. Never…no yachts in this story. But the kind of boat you take out on…that you would go fishing or water skiing on, not that there was any water skiing, though I would always fantasize about it until eventually I did, but I didn’t need to anymore. But so, that was my…those were my first memories of being in a boat with an engine that I can remember, are these times. I guess they’re treasured…they’re lightly-treasured memories. You wouldn’t say they’re formative memories, but I say oh, when I think about motorboats, I think about…I guess we call him Uncle Dick, or…he’s my godfather, actually.
So, my godfather Dick, and he would take us out on these boats, and it would be nice. We’d just take a little tour. I believe most of the time his boat was parked somewhere near Brewerton, New York, on the Erie Canal, which I think Oneida Lake is part of the Erie Canal system. So, I’m thinking that the Erie Canal goes in one end of the Oneida Lake, then you would traverse Oneida Lake, and then rejoin for the last stretch from Oneida Lake to Lake Ontario, which nowadays has been…I think is slowly being revitalized. You could kayak or boat…pleasure boat from Oneida Lake to Lake Ontario. Again, I mean, those of us with…looking back with 20/20 vision say man, any of that Erie Canal that got filled in, what a…that’s like…let’s dig that…you can’t dig it up in certain places ‘cause it’s…downtowns of towns and cities are over it.
Oh boy, the recreational possibilities if the entire Erie Canal was still open. But let’s not quibble, let’s not quibble. I mean, I guess I just did. But so, boat rides…and alls I remember is a motorboat. It felt cool. It was a nice boat. Dick would probably go fast every once in a while. It was something kinda we did once a year on a yearly basis. It felt like a little special trip. Now, I’m not…the only reason I pause is because I think that they lived in Canastota, which I think is in another lake, so I could have my lakes mixed up, but I can kinda picture Brewerton; there’s a bridge that goes over where the Erie Canal meets Oneida Lake. But so, that’s one old boat. That was probably…of all the boats, that’s probably the newest boat that we’ll encounter. I guess it was a…maybe it was one boat; maybe it was a variety of boats. I don’t know.
So, that’s boat one. Now, boat two and three; these ones you’d say Scoots, you’re kinda grasping at boating straws. I’d say well, that’s what we’re here for, correct? Hopefully…now, I just revisited this to see how much of my dreams…well, I revisited this in 2019. Hopefully in 2020…2021, after…or no…yeah, 2021, but it hasn’t come yet. I will have a chance to revisit this location. So, Oneida Lake has a area called Sylvan Beach, and it also has a Verona Beach…are the two kinda beach areas where you would rent a cottage. That’s where we went for…now, my family…there was six kids in my family. At other times there was five kids, then four kids, then three kids. So, for a vacation every summer, my parents would rent a cottage on Oneida Lake. I talked about it in other times. We would stay at this cottage.
Our cottage was next door to the people that owned the cottage, where they lived full-time. I don’t want to say their last name, but I…and also, I say do I remember it or not? But I mean, I do remember JJ was the old…one of the older brothers. He was…never wore a shirt, always had long hair, and he played the drums. Pretty much was…didn’t even give me the time of day, but I said one day I’d like to be like JJ. At least I achieved that mostly in the summertime by trying to wear a shirt on…as little of basis as I can. Don’t play the drums. I guess my hair’s kinda long now, but JJ I think had curly hair. Then JJ’s brother that was my age was named Critter, or Chris. We had a friend thing going on and off, and then my brother Carl and Sheila are just two years younger than me, so we…so, we’d go to Sylvan Beach every year for about a week, I think.
Maybe it was longer. Usually my dad…sometimes he was working still, so he could still commute to work since it was close enough to Syracuse, even though for a little kid it felt like it was four hours away. I think it’s like forty-five minutes or an hour. We went there…that was a big part of my childhood, was that week or two weeks we went there in the summer and rented that place. I have so many memories in there, but of the boat variety, I have two. Now, this was back in the 80s, so I don’t know how much my parents were paying for this cottage, but it was like, these are the kinda things that you wish you…that were…are gems. I have no idea…this was right on the beach. It had grass and a seawall, and then a sandy beach.
Now, there was one thing about Sylvan Beach…still exists, which is this swamp between the beach and the swimmable water. So, maybe that lowered home values, but to have a cottage on the beach is like, that’s a lot of people’s dreams. Now, I did talk about this in other stories, but…so, it had this beautiful beach, probably a manufactured beach, but I don’t know, because actually the swamp would keep the…I guess probably protected the beach. I don’t know nothing about agriculture…aquaculture or anything. But so, this cottage had a little bit of a grass, then the seawall, and then the beach. You could sit on the beach, you could play, you could dig, you could dig all the way down to the water table so you could have muddy sand. It was awesome. But after the sand, you came to this area.
We called it the Muck. For about ten…now, more like twenty-five feet to a hundred feet, there was just this…I guess because of whatever, the water and the sand bars…’cause there was a lot of sand bars, this whole…has a sandy bottom. There was a area of algaeic water, and it was very green, it was warm, and to a kid, you couldn’t see to the bottom. So, it was like very vested…and it was only ankle to…I think the deepest it got was probably like mid…maybe to kids, to your top of your swimsuit, your shorts. But you would have to go through that muck, and then you would get to clear, beautiful swimming water. So, but that was always a part of it, was do you run through it? I started to have…I would imagine…I don’t know. It’s a sleep podcast. But I didn’t imagine anything that…any antagonists in there, just fish.
I don’t know. That was just one of the things I would overthink of. But so, even my mom had a lot of siblings. Sometimes they would try to make a sand bridge through the muck, but then the weather would change and it would get washed away. So, it was always a question of would you run through it or would you swim…you know, run through it or walk through it, trudge through it? I guess with little kids, they all have their little quirks. I could see that beings like, don’t you want to go…? No, I don’t want to go swimming ‘cause I don’t want to go through the muck. I don’t know, beautiful thing is it’s a shared memory with some…not my youngest siblings ‘cause they were too young. But so, you would traverse the muck and then you would get into this gorgeous water, beautiful water; very sandy bottom, clear water.
The wave action…never had big waves, again, ‘cause they weren’t crashing on the shore, but some good water motion. Then there’d usually be a couple sand bars you could discover as you were just playing around. Especially, I was a little kid, so then my older cousins or aunts and uncles, they’d be like…they’d go out deeper and they’d be like hey, there’s a sand bar all the way out here, so you’d go out there. I don’t…so, I’ll…but out there on the stretch of shore we were on…and I don’t know who owned it. I don’t know if it was the people that owned the cottage that we were staying at or it was someone else. There was always a dock out there or a…but I always associate docks now with something latched to the shore. So, you could call this a raft.
It was a wooden square and I think it was painted red, so it was sanded, it was painted. Maybe at one point it was painted green and it got painted red. This is my vague memories. It had a anchor, so it was anchored to the ground, and I don’t know what was making it float; barrels or something. It was very…it was big. I would say it was big enough for…if you were adults, like three or four adults could go out there and lie next to one another and sun. But most…and alls it was was a big square, wood planks. There was probably a ladder to get out of the water, but usually you just push yourself up on it. It was fairly stable. Mostly you just…alls you did was go out there and jump off.
Because it was a sandy bottom…I mean, you would make sure…I never thought about moving it or who owned it or any of that kind of stuff. I mean, a couple things were you wanted to make sure you didn’t jump on the side with the anchor rope, so you wanted to know where the anchor rope was all the time. Yeah, you would jump off. My dad did tell me that that’s one of the places I learned to swim, and that was very much like movies; if you were old enough to swim out to the dock without help, then you were…we took swimming lessons at the public pool in Burnett Park in Syracuse, New York. That’s where I technically learned to swim, or Onondaga Park. No, I guess partially…maybe…well, Burnett Park and Onondaga Park the same thing? No. So, I guess I took lessons at both of those parks.
Yeah, you’re right, those are two different parks; Onondaga Lake Park and…so, it was…through Syracuse Parks and Rec is how I really learned to swim. But so, that raft was…that was my first…I mean, that was one of our first boats. Yeah, we spent a lot of time out there jumping on and off and hanging out. The older kids would be there, like my older cousins or older aunts and uncles. I don’t know, that was just a boat. There’s not too much else to say about it. I mean, talk about how lucky I am to have an…that’s an archetypal thing, to have a raft that I got to experience. I’m really grateful for that. Nowadays, they have similar stuff that’s inflatable. Like, you can get one of those inflatable islands or even a giant foam pad. The difference of those things is you can’t anchor it and it’s not made of wood.
But you can’t really have it on a lake that gets a lot of waves or action. This was a fairly calm lake in the summer. I don’t know if in the winter they just left it out there and it froze or they brought it in. So, that was one thing. But also another reason why this is such a treasured memory is that within walking distance…and I would say a twenty-minute walking distance from where we rented our cottage, towards the town of Sylvan Beach. I guess I missed it, luckily, as a young adult. I guess this town of Sylvan Beach had quite a reputation as a rowdy town. I don’t know if it still does. Like, if you were between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, to really go and blow off steam. But I was never…I never went there for that.
But so, there…so, if you headed towards the town of Sylvan Beach, just…besides those establishments where people would go blow off steam, I guess there’s a diner. Well, I don’t guess, and I forget the name of it. I think it’s named after a gentlemen or something. We ate there in 19…2019 when I forced my family to go there. I forced my…I begged my daughter and then we begged her grandparents. Then I said I’ll drive both ways. We gotta go there. I have so many dreams and memories about this place. I gotta do research. It ended up that I didn’t do enough research before we left, but you’ll hear about that in a second. But so, there is this famous diner, and they…they’re famous for their cream pies, so we did have a good banana cream pie and a coconut cream pie there. Maybe even a chocolate cream pie at this diner.
I think as a kid, we really didn’t eat out much, so…’cause we had six kids, so…I don’t know, maybe we ate there once or twice. But what it was more…also known for is they had a small amuse…I guess you’d call it an amusement park, but that’s a little bit glamorous to call it an amusement park. But as a kid, it did not…it seemed like the greatest place in the world. It had a play land…what do you call that with the rubber balls game? Funco? No. It has a…it’s a game where you roll the balls, you try to get them in a row. They had one in San Francisco for a long time on Market Street that closed down. But I don’t know, it’s a fair game where you can wear…win prizes. We would play that game. They had other games that were not…that game, at least you had a chance to win, right?
You were just competing against the other kids and adults playing it. But they had other games with shooting the basketball or whatever that we didn’t play, but we definitely played that game. Oh, I almost remembered it and then I forgot it, but…and then they had a…what do you call it? One of those rides where you get in and then you go and you have surprises…evening surprise ride that I talked about. That one’s still there. To be honest, as a kid, you would want to go on it. I think you would…we would get to go down there every once in a while, ‘cause you know, you have to pay for everything. We would go on that ride. It didn’t…was not exactly…what are those rides called? I talked about it on the girl from the amusement park, but…oh, Pretzel Ride.
It was not exactly enthralling, but they had that. Then they had a fun slide, like the kid you see at a street fair nowadays. Sometimes we would get to do that, but that one wasn’t exactly…if you had $5 to spend, usually what you try to go on, you wouldn’t use it on the fun slide, ‘cause you say well, that’s a dollar to go down a three-level slide. I could just go on a slide at a playground three times in a row. So, they had that, they had the bobsled-spinning-around-go-fast ride, which probably we would do, and maybe they added that on. At one time they had a funhouse, and then some stuff they lost. The funhouse, it…that was pretty cool. I remember that would be a highlight. Maybe it was more expensive, ‘cause I don’t remember doing it more than once a year, but it had the thing you go through, the spinning room, and the mirrors and stuff.
Then I think they also had a more advanced evening adventure house, a house of evening adventures around the…that was open all the time, but themed towards the Halloween season. I don’t know if we ever went to that, but I thought that one ended up…they…that one went away, too. But so, the Pretzel Ride, the fun slide is still there, the bobs are still there. Maybe they had a small…like a tiny Ferris wheel. They had food and drinks, so I don’t…but I don’t ever remember eating food or drink there. Then they had a couple kiddie rides. So at first we went there for the kiddie rides. There was the motor…a kiddie ride where you got to ride a fake motorcycle that was just attached…it was all…just went in a circle; it was attached to…there was two motorcycles. It was basically a carousel. Then they had one that was a boat ride.
So, this is boat number three, this old boat. The boats were painted in blue and red and yellow colors. I think they were wooden. They even had…you could pretend you were…even though it was just, you were sitting in a boat, I think it had a steering wheel and maybe a little finger cannon with a sound effect. But it was just a carousel ride. I think they also had that same version of that ride in a plane version. So, that was boat number three. So…oh, so in 2019, I went there and I said please, can we go there? I think I was begging for a while. There was one day where it wasn’t raining and I got my…I broke my parents down. I said please, can we just drive there? I’ll drive both ways, I’ll pay for the gas; please, please, please?
So the day…I didn’t happen to check the website, and…because…this was even in 2019; they were only open…the amusement park thing was only open on the weekends or something. So, hopefully I’ll return and get to ride some of the rides. That’s on my goals. #dreambig, you know? But it is cool. I mean, and again, I really feel great…full gratitude that some of this stuff still exist in some manner for me to go exploring and to bring my daughter along, ‘cause it’s not so much nostalgia for me as an investigation into reality. I don’t know if you ever feel that way. But it’s not like oh boy, I want to go and have my daughter ride that same boat I rode. I just am like…I guess it’s where the simulation thing…it’s like, was any of that real? What does it look like now?
I don’t know, I have fun with that, when you see something you were at and it looks different, but something looks similar. I don’t know. I like doing that kind of stuff. Fascination; is that what it was called? Those ball-rolling rides? I think so. Those are called Fascination parlors. So, that’s one round of boats. Now, this one’s more embarrassing. I’ve talked about this on the show before, but it’s been a while. So, there’s…the Finger Lakes are famous in New York State, right? The Finger Lakes are a bit more…I don’t know if all the Finger Lakes are expensive, but they can be more expensive, so we never rented a house there. They’re also colder, the water, and I think they have more full-time residents. But so, I did get to go in a boat.
I’m gonna jump ahead to high school, ‘cause my friend Marnie had a boat, and they had a house on Skaneateles Lake. One time, her dad tried to teach me to…I think we were in high school. He wanted me to learn how to water ski, and I could not get it. He kept trying and trying. We were…it felt like we were trying for hours. He was like, don’t pull; just let the boat pull you or whatever. Every time, I’d go down. We must have tried…and I just couldn’t do it. Later in life I did eventually get it. Oh, when I was in college, actually. Casie and Rochester. I was able to water ski. So, I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was just…but I still appreciate how hard he tried to teach me how to water ski, even though it was unsuccessful. So, maybe you’ve heard me talk about this, so I only went to summer camp once.
Now, my sister worked at a summer camp. I don’t know if that…what lake that was on. She worked at a 4H summer camp. So, some of my younger siblings got to go to that camp while she was working there, or before or after. There’s a summer camp…now, when I found out how much these summer camps cost — this was in 2018 — I said holy cow. Again, it might just be…it was so inexpensive that I was like, are you sure that’s really the price for a week to send a kid to summer camp? But I think part of it is being in the Bay Area and becoming a little…your…but so, for one week, I went to summer camp when I was in…I think it was between fifth and sixth grade, but it could have been between sixth and seventh grade. I was already…what’s amazing is I was already the person I am today even back then.
Different, but I was very introverted. I was able to make friends, but I was…I struggled with the same things I struggle with today, so I think that’s always interesting to me. At the time, my best friend’s name was Beau, and I think my sister and my brother went also at the same time, but we were separated by ages into cabins. My brother Carl says that I was in the honor cabin, but I don’t know what that means exactly. I don’t know if we always kept our cabin the cleanest or something. That was a bit like the movies, but before I went, I had watched this one movie with Beau over and over again about summer camp, so I had an incredibly fictional version of what summer camp was like. So of course, it did not meet my expectations ‘cause I was expecting it to be like in the movies.
But it still was a great experience and I appreciate my parents doing it. But one of the things…and this I talked about, but this is also a boat experience. So, we were on the older end of the kids. Like, probably you don’t go to summer camp once you hit seventh grade or something. I don’t know what the year is, the cut-off age, but so, Beau and I were some of the older kids. So, I remember when you got there, your parents drop you off, they leave. At some point on the first day or day and a half, you have to take a swim test so that they say okay…and even then, swimming lessons were a part of it. But if you wanted to be able to take out a canoe, you had to pass the swimming test, obviously, ‘cause they want to make sure you can swim, even though you wore life jackets and everything.
I remember taking the swim test ‘cause the only swimming stroke I struggle with, which some reason, to become an advanced swimmer in the eyes of New York State or Onondaga County, you had to do the side stroke. That was the only stroke I could not get down. I don’t mean to brag, but I mean, as far as freestyle or backstroke, I mean, I could swim…I’m really…it’s been something that I’ve always been adept at. But so, we pass…Beau and I passed our tests, and then it was one of the day…one of the early days, maybe even the first day. I think it was probably the first day, ‘cause of course, this…with…I am who I am. It affected me for a few days. You could take out a canoe, and maybe…yeah, ‘cause it was the first day; there wasn’t any structured activity ‘cause it was a Saturday or a Sunday.
So, it was probably…I don’t know if it was Beau’s idea or my idea, but we’re like, let’s take a canoe out. So, you go to the canoe and you check in. You say okay, got your swimming…okay, you passed your swimming test. Great. Okay, have you used a canoe before? I was like, what do I look like? They said okay, so you know how to paddle a canoe? Maybe Beau didn’t…was just getting roped and was like yeah, buddy, I’ve been paddling canoes since before I was paddling the water. Give us the paddles, give us a boat, see you later. Turns out, paddling a canoe in a lake is not exactly what young Scoots thought it was. So, they had a lot of rules because there was kids…they had a free swim and they had swimming lessons where they were given those swimming tests.
There was a big thing, like a…whatever, a line with the buoys and stuff, and the boats were never supposed to go in there ‘cause you could bump into somebody that was swimming. I think Beau and I paddled for about four paddles before I…I was probably in the back. We lost total control of the canoe, got hit by the wind, and then went right into the swimming area. Then the…all the lifeguards are blowing their whistles and saying, hey…now, I didn’t realize at the time, these are high school and college kids. To me these are like gods and goddesses. Someone had to dive in and push our boat and they were like, that’s it. No more canoeing for you two. So, that was another boat where I was like okay, that’s it for me and canoes. For a while, that was it for me and canoes.
For the most part, I said…I wonder if this really was a formative experience. But I said yeah, canoeing is not for me, because…yeah. I didn’t canoe again for a while. So, that was those…that was the…that was lake Skaneateles. The only other things I remember about that is playing Four Square once. I would get a chocolate eclair…not a chocolate eclair; a thing. But you know those popsicles that are called chocolate eclairs? They have the crunchy stuff on the outside. You could get a strawberry or chocolate one. They had a canteen. That’s what I got every night with my canteen money. Probably was like, whatever, twenty-five or fifty cents. That was my nightly treat. Yeah, mostly I found myself…Beau was a little bit more easygoing and extroverted, but a lot of times I found myself just walking around solo in-between making boondoggles.
I don’t even know what else you would do at a…I just remember walking around a lot and eating. I think heavy oatmeal. Okay, so that was Skaneateles Lake. Then we go to Lake Ontario, Old Lake Terry. At some point my mom and my dad and my aunt and my uncle…so, my aunt and my uncle have three kids; John, Betsy, and Abby, and my parents have six kids. My dad knew some…oh yeah, Norm. My dad had a friend, Norm. Actually, Norm had a boat, too, so this is a little…maybe…we would go out on a boat with Norm, too. Actually, one of his daughters became…was one of our…was our second babysitter, a regular babysitter, Sarah. So, Norm, he lived up on Lake Ontario. So, we would go up there for a BBQ once a year, and I think he had a boat and we would go out on his boat.
But the area he was in in Lake Ontario, at some point…and again, you think about how things have changed, I guess. My parents and my aunt and uncle…one of the places near Norm’s, like a cabin, went up for sale and they bought it. They put their money together and they bought this thing. I think whatever the price was at this point, I say wait a second, I can’t even…it’s less than a year’s rent in the Bay Area to buy a cabin on a lake. But so, they bought this place and we would go up there. It was…although… there was a small upstairs and it would be packed with bunk beds ‘cause there were so many kids. I don’t know how the adults figured out…I guess I wonder where all the adults slept. But I never thought about that ‘til just this…just now, ‘cause downstairs, there was only one bedroom.
I’ll have to ask my parents about that. So, huh. I’m really confused. Maybe there was another area made into a bedroom. So, we shared this little cabin and eventually…then another place went up for rent. It was such a deal. I don’t know. Then they had the…they had another cabin, or they were…we were gonna rent one out or something. I don’t remember. I was just a kid. But I was like, whatever. This was when I was in seventh grade and eighth grade. So, because we…now, my parents, like I said, we’re not really boat people, but my Uncle Ed, he had a canoe, a old town canoe, a red old town canoe that he loved. Then my dad bought an…a used aluminum rowboat. I think it was an Alumacraft. I think these things could last for like, a hundred years.
But at some point he bought an…he bought one that seems even older, but this was just your basic aluminum rowboat, right, with oars. At some point he bought a motor for it, but we weren’t allowed to use the motor. I think…when I’m thinking of this time, it didn’t…I think you had to be…in my dad’s eyes, you had to be sixteen and pass your driving to even use a outboard hand-holding four horsepower outboard motor. But I’m…now I’m a parent; I can understand. But so, we would take that…so, we had that rowboat and then we had the canoe. So, some of our siblings were excluded from this ‘cause they were too little, but we were allowed. Oh, we had taken boating safety lessons at some point. We all had had swimming lessons, and we all wore life jackets. But so, we were allowed to take these.
I guess now I’m thinking about this; I’m like, I…this wouldn’t fly with me as a parent. So, my parents were much looser…but so, we would take out the canoe and the rowboat. Of the group of us, it would be…myself and my cousin John are the same age. My cousin Betsy, my brother Carl and my sister Sheila are all within a year of each other, so all five of us are within a two-year age range. I think my cousin Abby, my brother Dan, and my brother Kenneth, they were too little to be involved in boating. They weren’t at swimming…they weren’t at swim…they hadn’t had swim lessons…then my brother Ted, who’s four…five years younger than me. So, we would all go out in these two boats and we would do something called boat W-A-R-Ss.
Normally…I guess this wasn’t very fair, either; it would be my sister Sheila, my brother Ted, and my cousin Betsy in the canoe, and then my brother Carl, my cousin John and I in the rowboat. The rowboat was harder to row. We would fill up buckets or those things…pails, sand pails that you use to play with sand, and the oars, and we would take the boats out and then we’d try to chase each other around and then splash each other with this river water. This is on a river, not on Lake Ontario. We would splash each other like, giant buckets of water. Like, almost trying to fill up the canoe. Every once in a while the canoe would flip and you could stand up or somebody would fall out of the rowboat. It was kind of a swampy river, so you…if you stood up, it was never super deep, but the first two or three feet of the bottom of the river are old leaves and stuff.
I don’t remember falling in, but I must have at least once. But I definitely remember other people falling in and stuff like that, and then getting everybody out. It must have been so loud. That’s what I think about now as a…I guess as an adult. I guess ‘cause if you were…the way the…all the cabins there are, the river is just…sound just really carries there. We were really loud kids. I mean, now when I go up there, I barely see any kids. Or I guess my daughter’s with us and maybe my sister’s kids and my brother’s kids, but I guess they’re not quite as rambunctious as we were. That was a really fun game. I don’t know how…I can’t remember…I’ll have to ask them if that’s something we did regularly or we only did it once and it just seared itself in my memory.
But it was another boat, and I don’t know if that boat had a name, but I really liked the original aluminum rowboat. It was very light comparatively, ‘cause now we have a little bit bigger one, and it had tight oar locks. That’s one thing that’s unrelate…underrated, and it was not super-wide, so even a teenager or middle-schooler…it was still hard to row. But now we have another aluminium rowboat and it’s a little bit bigger and it has loose oar locks, so rowing it, it can…even for me as an adult can be quite tiring, ‘cause it’s…I don’t know. It’s pretty wide. I mean, not super-wide; you’re talking three…a three-bench rowboat. I think the other one was either a two-bench or a one-bench rowboat. So, it’s just harder to row.
But then the last boat we had there was two boats that my parents had which were…I guess…are they…they’re not leg-in kayaks, so I guess…and I’ve recorded on them, is…they have two kayaks. They’re still up there. I guess because I never went on a canoe since my great…oh, and the old town canoe was a flat-bottom canoe. So, I probably did take that out once or twice, but I don’t know. I never got into canoes. I don’t know why I like kayaks and not canoes. But so, my parents at some point…now, I don’t know if they…this was when I didn’t…was living in California and not visiting them as often, before I had a kid, back when I was a independent, young adult. But so, at some point when I wasn’t there, they got these kayaks. I’m pretty sure they’re the open-seat kayak type.
Can’t quite picture them, but they’re not the kind you stick your legs into all the way. Like, you kinda…sit-on-top kayak, I guess that’s what it’s called. Of course, my dad named my mom’s Dream Boat, so I always think about that. It’s the only named boat that we’ve done so far. I don’t know if my dad’s is Dream Boat II or if the other one has a different name, but I always think about my mom…I think that’s kinda cute, personally, is that my mom…my dad named my mom’s boat Dream Boat. They’re very similar and I usually take that out…well, I think in 2018 and maybe 2017 or 2016 I recorded episodes, though one of them may have been in the rowboat. But just because of the way we do…make the show now, it wouldn’t work. I can’t record on-location episodes just ‘cause of the way we distribute the show.
It just would…it wouldn’t sound good and it just takes so much to make it sound good. But yeah, I would take those out, and I do really like that. Then I guess the final boat I’ll mention…well, two things. I did do a episode about this when we went down the Weeki Wachee. I wonder what year that was, like 20…that was in the 2016, ‘15…maybe ‘17, but it couldn’t have been later than that. It was when my dad was in a musical and my mom was needing some extra help. I think she had had a procedure. My brother Ted and my brother Ken and I were all there. Yeah, we took out…we went down the Weeki Wachee in kayaks. I don’t know if they were sit-on-top or sit-inside kayaks. But then about two years ago or three…2019, yeah.
2019, I bought a stand-up paddle board, and I don’t know what turned me around on stand-up paddle boards, but originally I was not into stand-up paddle-boarding. I saw it; I was like oh, that’s just a trendy thing. Why would you stand up? Honest to gosh, my thing was like, why would you stand up when you could sit down? Then somewhere in there I tried it and the thing that blew my mind is that if it’s warm enough for you not to have a shirt on and to jump in the water, stand-up paddle-boarding for someone that loves to swim is absolutely one of the greatest things. I mean, I know people do it for exercise or…I mean, actually, I like it too ‘cause you have a little bit better view. It’s a little bit active. But for Lake Terry or even on a river, stand-up paddle-boarding is so phenomenal.
Or in the Bay Area, I’ll go out on the…a tidal canal. I would like even to take it out…to do some kayaking even on some…not white-water rafting, but like that, ‘cause I just love it so much. That’s where I was able to get a great deal at Costco and buy it from them. But yeah, that’s another boat…that’s my current boat in my life. Also, yeah, other stuff I like to add I usually would buy on Craigslist. But yeah, those are a few of the old boats from my life, some of these old boats. Thanks, everybody.
[END OF RECORDING]
- Villa / Vila
- The Muck
- Old Lake Terry
- This Old House
- Rick Steves
Notable Talking Points:
- I want to start putting baseball on again so I can not pay attention to it
- Oh boy, the recreational possibilities of a reopened Erie Canal System
- Dad bought a Used Aluminum Rowboat