It was Memorial Day weekend, 1988. It was only two weeks after the death of my son. In weeks that spanned less than two months my son died, my father sold his business, I became unemployed, I turned 30 and had an emergency appendectomy.
A dear friend invited my husband and me to dinner at the Youngstown Yacht Club. We ordered cocktails and sat outside by the dock sipping and chatting with their friends. I knew a few of them from my Lew-Port days and others were new to me. No one was in a hurry to dine and when we did we gained at least six more people at our original table for four.
It was all so very civilized.
What I did not know then was that it would change the course of my life for years to come. At dinner I sat next to a man named Bob Finn. He and his wife Barbara owned Yachting World, the local yachting supply store. It seemed that he needed a bookkeeper and seeing as I was dazed and unemployed it seemed a good idea to hire me to work in an industry I had absolutely no knowledge of.
I had relative anonymity only one mile from my house because most of the people who I came in contact to on a daily basis knew nothing about me. I didn’t have to wear a name tag that said “Hug me, my son is in heaven!” The people I did meet were kind and the job was relatively easy. Previously I handled a payroll of 150 and now it was only five or six. Mr. Finn was no more demanding than my father and I sincerely enjoyed learning something new.
I learned about cleats and winches, telltales and wind meters. I loved that most of the people were happy largely because they were spending their leisure time spending their leisure money. This was so unlike the car business where you could count on at least one person a day yelling at the cashier because she was personally responsible for the fact they needed a break job.
I met Granny Orr, also known as the Mouth of the River, because she did much of the PA work at the Level Regatta. “Hurry hurry hurry! This nice young man is looking for a bikini clad young lady to crew on his boat.” She was a classic. When my son Anthony was born a few years later she knit the most beautiful Christmas stocking which we still hang every year.