This story takes place the year that I was probably 8 years old. So for those of you who can do the math it was around 1970. We were at the cottage while my dad was taking one of his first trips across the Bay and back to Sans Souci with a couple of his navigator friends.His boat was an 18’ fibreglass Starcraft which today we might call a ‘run about’. My brother and sister and I and our mother were expecting my father’s return to our island at Sans Souci with great anticipation. Mom had had us all bathed and in our pyjamas waiting for Dad to arrive.
In the 1970’s we didn’t have a phone at the island and instead we used a CB radio channel 13 for communication. There was also a CB in Dad’s Boat – King’s Ransom. I remember I kept asking my mother “when is he going to be here? when is he going to be here?” She kept saying “he’ll be here soon”. Looking Back Now, I can’t imagine how nervous she must have felt considering he was way across the open water Bay coming back in the dark, and it was a dark and stormy night for sure. Also, she was on an island with no way of getting herself or children back to mainland.
Anyway, we were all having fireside bedtime stories and card games at the cottage when we heard a crackle in the kitchen from the CB radio. “King’s Ransom to King’s Cottage come in please…” I heard it and ran to pick up the receiver. I pressed the button and said “Kings Cottage By” as I had been taught. On comes my dad’s voice telling us that they’ve rescued four Shipwrecked people at the Western islands and they’ll be bringing them back to the cottage for food and shelter!
We were so excited and rushed around getting Chef Boyardee spaghetti in-a-box ready for them to have something to eat. It turns out these four young people, two couples and their black lab, had been picnicking at the Western Islands 2 days prior and they were wearing bathing suits and swimming gear and just light clothes. Their boat engine had died and they had no way to warn anybody else that they were in trouble or let anyone know to come and help them. They were very hungry, cold and tired. (My dad says at this point in the story, I think they would have been eating the dog next had they not been rescued!) As far as the rescue goes their boat was towed behind my dad’s boat while all the passengers were in my dad’s boat. The weather was such that there were 8 ft rolling waves and it was very difficult going to tow this boat behind. My dad wanted to cut the line and let the boat just be lost, but the young man whose father’s boat it was, would not have that. He was worried he was going to get in so much trouble. Anyway, when they made it to our Cottage we fed them their dinner made sure they had warm beds to sleep in. The next day the boat was towed over to Sans Souci Marina to be repaired and later that day they all went home.
You might think that this is a good place to end the story but surprisingly, it’s not the end! Fast forward to Halloween night October 31st of that same year in Toronto. After the trick-or-treating was over my brother and sister and I were sorting through our candy loot when a knock on the door came at our home in North Toronto. My mom was distressed because Halloween trick or treating was over for young children and so she thought she shouldn’t answer the door. However we all rushed to the door to see who was trick-or-treating so late. Lo and behold there were 4 Shipwrecked individuals with food and drink and a bottle of wine to say thank you to my mom and dad for rescuing them that past Summer from the Western Islands. So much fun and what an adventure!
It’s a memory that I’ll treasure forever.