October 1, 2016

"But the young Mr. Wainwright’s clandestine journey from Bermuda to New York in November 1934 very likely garnered more ink..."

"... than any of his considerable later achievements, making headlines worldwide for months afterward. 'The Silk-Stockinged Stowaway,' the papers called him. 'He Was Game to Be a Huck Finn — but Not a Little Lord Fauntleroy,' declared one headline, atop an article that appeared in many American newspapers in 1935, adding: 'Balmy and British, Bermuda palled on this 8-year-old great-grandson of Jay Gould — until, penniless, he stowed away for New York and won the right to be raised as a Yankee.'"

From the obituary of Carroll L. Wainwright Jr., who grew up to be a NYC lawyer and lived to the age of 90.

First, garnered. The word. I must register my disapproval of this deplorable word.

Second, what a story! What were boys like in 1935?



"Gee, I had a swell time. I was on the bridge lots of times; I examined the instruments and I steered the ship. The captain is a grand guy."

25 comments:

Rob said...

Start a topic: boys in shorts.

Curious George said...

"What was more, Carroll had the company of a youthful fellow traveler: By coincidence, a 16-year-old William L. Hires, a nephew of Charles E. Hires, the root beer baron..."

Back in the days when you could be be a root beer baron.

ndspinelli said...

male cameltoe

campy said...

Girls did it too! Their stories are just censored by The Patriarchy!

Ann Althouse said...

"Start a topic: boys in shorts."

The problem with men in shorts, as I've talked about it over the years, is that they make adult men look like enlarged boys. Shorts are clothes for boys. The phrase "in short pants" used to be a standard way to refer to boyhood: When he was still in short pants...

I've long been using this passage from Tom Wolfe to illustrate the point:

"[The professor] had on a short-sleeved shirt that showed too much of his skinny, hairy arms, and denim shorts that showed too much of this gnarly, hairy legs. He looked for all the world like a seven-year-old who at the touch of a wand had become old, tall, bald on top, and hairy everywhere else, an ossified seven-year-old, a pair of eyeglasses with lenses thick as ice pushed up to the summit of his forehead -- unaccountably addressing thirty college students...."

(The book is "I Am Charlotte Simmons.")

EDH said...

I, too, was just about to comment on the "root beer baron," and how they don't make 'em like that anymore.

"I could have been a millionaire. I could have been a fragrance millionaire, Jerry!"

MayBee said...

What a beautiful little boy!

Ipso Fatso said...

Great story, RIP Mr. Wainwright.

Michael said...

In 1935 boys were allowed to be boys. Encouraged, even. And in 1944, at Normandy, they were men.

Sebastian said...

In 1935 Eric Sevareid published Canoeing with the Cree, about his trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, with his friend Walter Port. That's what boys were like then (and their parents, for that matter).

mockturtle said...

Well, that poor kid! Nobody taught him yet the proper way for a guy to rest his hands on his hips. Never, ever thumbs forward. Either fingers forward or knuckles on hips. Unless, of course, you're an interior decorator.

Michael said...

We are going to miss men like Wainwright as we plow ahead. As the other Michael notes above there was a time when we allowed boys to be free to become men.

Earnest Prole said...

The sound of the other shoe, dropping: "the death of Carroll’s mother in 1937, at 36, from alcohol-related liver disease."

Megaera said...

My father, who was born in 1916, recalls learning to drive the family's car (a huge roadster) when he was 11 and so small he needed wood blocks fastened to the pedals to reach them. The following year he drove my grandmother from Chicago to Detroit and back, since the family judged his driving more reliable than hers, and until his high school graduation he drove his father to work (as principal) every day as his father never learned to drive at all. As teenagers, he and his siblings built a 27-foot sailboat which they sailed on Lake Michigan while they were starting a photo-developing company that lasted 40-plus years. In summers their parents allowed the boys to take off on unsupervised canoe trips that lasted three or four days without any contact or clear knowledge when they would return. (All this is independently confirmed by other family sources, BTW) Parents (and children) must have been a different breed back then.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eddie willers said...

Further down in the obituary we find out:

...the home of an uncle, Loudon Wainwright (grandfather of the singer and songwriter Loudon Wainwright III

Hmmmm....I think we're talking genetics again.

traditionalguy said...

Bermuda was a rest stop for English relief supply ships headed for Jamestown settlement survivors.

But they liked it so much they settled there, with hurricane damage as the excuse. But they lived well off the
starving Virginans supplies.

Earnest Prole said...

To put a sharper point on it, the boy fled Bermuda to escape his mother three years before she died of alcoholism at age 36.

coupe said...

His poor mother, married at 18, ruined the Pierce-Arrow upholstery having a baby on it seven years later, committed to an insane asylum seven years after that, escaped, divorced, and remarried to a lonely British man in Reno, only to die of liver failure from alcohol abuse at age 36.

My best friend married at 18, she started having sex at age 12. I know this, because she tried to have sex with me, but I was too poor to afford condoms. Anyway, being a prude, I didn't think people should have sex until after marriage in a church.

My father sat me down, and he said: "I want to talk to you about sex. Do not have sex with anyone you don't want to marry in a church."

It was good advice. I was highly selective, only the women were more-so, it seemed.

But she went downhill fast. She married a sailor who beat her, and she had three kids before she died of liver failure at age 39.

Marriage is death. You want to delay it. I waited until I was 35.

Carol said...

The problem with men in shorts, as I've talked about it over the years, is that they make adult men look like enlarged boys.

I happened to watch Black Sunday last night, and was amazed at all the guys supposedly at the Orange Bowl without the aid of shorts, circa 1977.

"the death of Carroll’s mother in 1937, at 36, from alcohol-related liver disease."

The Twenties were as rough on the Lost Generation as the Sixties were on Boomers.

Char Char Binks said...

The man garnered much in his lifetime. Garnerers aren't losers. They're garnerers—like me! A loser's a loser. Which one will you be?"

Mel Plontz said...

It's good to be the great-grandson of Jay Gould.

mikee said...

Go read Captains Courageous (18970 by Kipling again, to experience another example of what boys once were.

mockturtle said...

Mikee, I've always loved Kipling's poetry. He is, in fact, my favorite poet and, as a child, I found the rhythm and vivid images exciting and romantic. And I still do! But I have never read Captains Courageous! I will download it to my kindle forthwith. Thanks for the idea. :-).

Lost My Cookies said...

During the Depression my Great Uncle, then in 8th grade, left home to find firewood because it was getting cold and his mother couldn't afford coal. His father was away looking for work, and they hadn't heard from him in months, eventually he got a WPA job, but I digress. My Great Uncle found a pile of empty packing crates on a siding of the Pennsylvania Railroad and chopped them up, stole a wagon, and went door to door selling the wood until he had enough money to buy coal for his mom. He said coal would last longer. He went back to his stash twice, once with his little brother and on the third try hobos beat them for their money So badly my great uncle lost an eye.