by Rick Watson member of the Allegheny chapter
In the Spring of 1975, I was 12 and my life changed dramatically. My mom remarried and we moved to Conneaut Lake. I had a new home, in a new town . Bob Moss, (Mom & Bob are pictured above), began the process of stabilizing and molding my life. Honestly, he had his work cut out for him. Did I mention I was 12?
Docked in front of the house was an old wooden boat that his dad bought new in 1950 from The Navigation Company, which is still in business. I never met his dad because he died in 1969, but he left a 1950 Chris Craft U-22. That old boat was a life line to me, and I was thankful. Who doesn’t like a boy with a boat? It helped me meet new friends and grow an appreciation of my new environment, the lake. This is where my story of an old wooden boat begins.
Bob spent countless hours teaching me the ropes of boating and navigating the waters of Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake by surface area, Harvey’s Lake is by volume. Learning to ski behind that boat boosted my self-confidence and gave me a sense of belonging. I truly enjoyed that old boat. After a couple of summers with five teenagers, and a few close calls, Mom and Bob decided it would be in everyone’s best interest to put the old boat into storage for possible future use, while it and we were still in one piece. They bought us a fiberglass Ski Tique to carry on.
Fast forward 24 years. Mom and Bob attended an A.C.B.S. show at Conneaut Lake Park. After seeing the old boats and talking with their owners, their interest was piqued. Maybe this was something they would enjoy doing with the old Chris? After enlisting the help of a friend, they began her renewed life as a showgirl! They christened her “The General” (named after my mom) at a gala party in 2003. They traveled to many shows, enjoying her all over again. But time was coming to begin sharing her legacy.
Throughout the course of her renewed life, Bob and I worked side by side and on occasion, my wife Penny and I attended shows with them. With all who are fortunate enough to grow older, the body begins wearing down easier. Bob and mom decided their showing days would end unless we would take over. Now here we are. Five years later and they will on occasion, attend shows with us. We strive to take “The General” to a couple of shows a year while we’re still a part of the work force.
Like Bob, I have great pride in her original beauty, ability, and family heritage. We hope to co tinue with her legacy for many years to come.