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Visiting Ruth and Capt. Fred

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Old 09-19-2006, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default Visiting Ruth and Capt. Fred

Several things mentioned in a couple of threads today about Ruth Ferris and Capt. Fred Way led me to posting this: Keith and I were privileged to visit both Ruth and Capt. Fred's homes. One thing they had in common was their ability to scare the living daylights out of their riders when they gave a car tour of their area. It seemed that everyone in Sewickley knew Capt. Way's car, and automatically gave it the right-of-way, which might have contributed to us being around today to retell this! One time when we were visiting 121 River Avenue and were out touring, it began to rain. So Capt. Fred said he guessed all we could do was go back to the house and look through some old photos down in his basement. Much to our despair, that's what we ended up doing, for several hours. We brought boxes upstairs and sat on the living room floor pouring over them. When we started, Capt. Way had declared: "If you find any you just can't part with, put them aside and we'll look them over later." Well, our problem was that most of them were 'keepers', but we didn't know how brazen we should be in setting some aside. At the end of the session, I think we each ended up with about a dozen, and I'm sure we could have asked for many more. As we left, we walked past the garage which held up antlers, and the LADY GRACE paddlewheel in the yard. A visit to Ruth's E Z ROCKER was just as scintillating, but Ruth's basement was as organized as 121 River was not. But both proprietors could find what they wanted in their own filing system. I was most impressed with the CAPE GIRARDEAU/GORDON C. GREENE chandelier which Ruth had as her overhead light in her bedroom. Who would have thought that a few years later both Keith and I would be able to acquire one of those too! Both of these wonderful people, though famous up and down the rivers, made us feel totally at ease in their homes, and I dare say have been the biggest inspirations for both Keith and me to enlarge our river collections and knowledge. This is not to say there haven't been others, most notably Doc and C.W. Stoll, but they are another posting in the future....
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