The Beginning (38) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (3)

Following is the transcription of the third and fourth days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River. I will continue to post entries from the Helen Log Book for the rest of the week, just to keep the story together. Enjoy.





Monday –

When we woke up at about 8 o’clock this morning through a combination of an ______ alarm clock from Daddy, a sneeze from Ced and a couple of woodpeckers tapping, it was 8 o’clock on a beautiful, clear, sunshiny day.

Dan and Alfred went in for a swim, Dad shaved.  Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Ced and Alfred got Helen from her nights harboring while Dan and Dad broke camp.  After landing we got away to discover Dan had left his handkerchief to dry on the rocks. Ced resolved this and we left 18 Mile River at 10:30.  The only casualty today was a skin cut  caused from a kickback of engine while Alfred was starting it.  At 10:40 we entered the Conn. River again.  At  11:45 we stopped at East Haddam for bread and water.  Off again at 12:07 saw a house on west side of river that would make a good family camp.  Lunch of sandwiches at 1:30, reaching Middletown at 2:12 or about 20 miles in 3 hrs.

Left at 2:30.  Gas line clogged.  Cleaned out in about ½ hour and away again at 3:10.  Later the sky clouded over and a shower came up. Ced donned the “oilers” and Dan and he piloted the boat while Alfred and Dad sat under the canvas cover and tried to keep the rain from leaking in with only partial success.  In half to three quarters of an hour the rain stopped, the sun came out again and we all resumed our proper stations.

At 6:10 we reached Hartford but continued on about a mile or so above Hartford for the night on a flat, sandy island, after running Helen up into a narrow, muddy channel.  After supper consisting of beef stew, canned chicken, sundry sandwiches and oranges we retired. Ced and Daddy slept in the tent, Dan and Alfred outside.

Tuesday –

Most of the day was spent on our island, waterproofing the canvas cover and cleaning out oil caps and gas line and cleaning up generally.  In the meantime we had made inquiries and found it would not be wise to attempt to go up the river, which because of lack of rain, was low, but would head for the Sound instead and if we time, go down to Norwalk to see the Kirchers.

We left Hartford at 3:30 after stopping for gas, overtook the Standard Oil tanker we had passed the previous day on way up and left ahead of her until we got just above Gildersleeve Island when the engine went dead, the make-and-break mechanism having broken.  Luckily we were directly opposite an ideal camping place on a sandy, wooded Knoll overlooking the river, approached by a sandy, wide beach.  Here we anchored Helen and pitched tent.

While we were anchoring a canoe approached propelled by an inboard motor and the owner warned us to anchor Helen far enough off shore so that the wash from the Hartford boat would not damage her.  He also informed us how to get to Middletown where repairs could be obtained.  Dan not feeling so well, so after eating a light supper he retired early, sleeping in the tent with Daddy while Ced and Alfred hollowed out a bed in the sand.  During the night a fog came up but this was blown away toward morning by a breeze.

For the rest of the week I will continue the exploits of Grandpa, Lad, Dan and Ced on The Helen.

Judy Guion

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