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Story ID:8274
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Gilboa New York USA
Person:Jack Sr.
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By Fred Wickert

When a boy in high school, we had neighbors we visited with often. It was a family of three, Father, mother and son. The son was a couple of years older than I. Father and son were both named Jack. The father was away from home for extended periods of time as he was until he retired, an officer on a merchant ship. He was rated as the Purser of the ship.

Jack Sr. had a library of films and a movie projector. We, my sisters and I, were often invited to come and watch the movies. We enjoyed such pictures as The Keystone Cops, The Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby and Tom Mix to name a few. This was before the days of television. We also marveled at the family's refrigeration system. They didn't own one. They got their water from a spring on the mountain behind their home. The water was cold, and gravity fed. They had a large double sink. They placed the foods they wanted to keep cold in the sinks. Water from the spring continuously flowed in and then out of the double sink and kept the foods stored there nice and cold. A small freezer was used for frozen foods but no refrigerator was required.

Jack Sr. often told stories of adventures aboard ship. He spoke of it being so cold sometimes that when their turn to be on deck standing watch, they wore three pair of pants to keep their legs warm and sometimes the deck was covered so thickly with ice that they had to tie ropes to themselves to keep from sliding overboard.

I have never forgotten one particular story he told. It was during WWII and they were in a convoy on the Murmansk run. There was a shortage of food and rations had been cut until they were able to get ashore to obtain more. He and two other men managed to find and steal from the galley, a large 40 lb tub. They concealed it in one of the life boats, undetected. When they got a chance, they met at the hidden tub and opened it to see what they had. To their dismay, it was full of peanut butter. Well, peanut butter is food and it is tasty, so they began to eat it. Each of them ate large gobs of peanut butter every day for awhile. Eventually they got so sick of peanut butter, they never wanted to see the stuff again. He told us to this day, he could not bring himself to touch peanut butter.

One wonders if it might have gone down better had it not been stolen.

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