52 in 52: Heirloom: “The Canoe”


Most people have a small heirloom, a pair of sewing scissors, a picture, a pitcher or something small that reminds them of their ancestor.  I have a 14 foot dug-out Mahogany canoe made by Panama Native Americans in 1902.  My father “liberated” it in 1945 from a beach in Panama during WWII. It was abandoned and not in good shape.  He brought it back to California and brought it back into shape. Painted it white on the outside to protect it.  We spent many happy hours in that canoe as I was growing up.  We would take it to Catalina or to Santa Cruz Island and use it to go into caves to get lobster or abalone. Later, when my dad was in his late 80″s, he and a friend took the white paint off, and worked on bringing the original wood out to its beauty. When I moved to my new home in San Jose, a friend’s son, who does original artistic welding metal work, made the “buffet cradle” for it. It is now proudly in my living room. Guests and I enjoy having potluck meals off the buffet. It is truly unique.  Quite an heirloom and a reminder of great memories of weekends and vacations in the Channel Islands National Park.


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