Monday, March 21, 2011

The Fighting Chair


Late 1930's, somewhere off the coast of Central New Jersey, perhaps 30 miles out.The man on the right is my maternal Grandfather, about whom I have posted before...pictures of old time Football and Baseball. The man on the right is his brother...my Great Uncle.
His name was Wilson and they called him Wils. He graduated from Lehigh in 1933, 52 years before me. He was a Chi Phi brother. (Based on this "legacy" I received a pre-bid during Rush...but turned it down for a variety of reasons.)
After college he worked in Manhattan as a coal broker for Bethlehem Steel. The the War intervened and he ended up spending the war years in the Army in Langely, Virginia. He was supposedly in supply and logistics, but based on some things he said over the years at Thanksgiving or Christmas pre-dinner cocktails,when he was lubricated with a Maker's Mark Manhattan, I suspect there was more going on. Perhaps he had some minor intelligence role based on where he was stationed.He certainly was far too smart and talented to merely arrange shipments of Spam and socks.
He enjoyed a long life and made rural Connecticut his home.
Wils and my Grandfather loved to fish and would book a charter to chase Tuna off the Jersey coast. I love the tone of this old photo,the leather jacket and the neckties the wooden rods and the massive Penn Reel above Wils's right hand, the overhang of the upper deck and the wooden framing, the padded fighting chair and the focus of the fisherman off the stern. According to my Grandfather, his younger brother Wils hauled in a fairly massive Tuna that afternoon.
Uncle Wils once bought a fine field grade Belgian Browning 20 ga. back in the early 50's that I still have and sometimes use to hunt Rails and Quail. He was a Sportsman and a Gentleman and a Lehigh man and liked nothing more than to be in a fighting chair trying to haul in a big one.

6 comments:

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Readers should note that BOTH gentlemen are wearing ties. Excellent.

Main Line Sportsman said...

YWP-Yeah...I love the ties. These days if you went on a party fishing boat out of Point Pleasant or Cape May, you would be lucky if some of the guys were even wearing pants....

Preppy 101 said...

Superbly written tribute. Thank you for sharing. I'll remarry when I find a man like that. :-) xoxo

Sundresses and Smiles said...

Thanks for sharing. My grandfather too led an interesting life, and I think it is so important to learn from the lives of our "elders."

efinkens said...

Excellent stuff, man.

lindaraxa said...

My uncle was the inventor of the fighting chair as well as a fishing partner of Hemingway's. The original fishing chair is at the IGFA museum in Florida where together with H he was inducted in the Hall of Fame. His name was Julio Sanchez. Have been thinking of doing a related post one of these days

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