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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Remembering Charlie

I knew Charlie for almost 50 years. Charlie formed the company DECO. He bought two fishing boats. The western-rigged Sankaty and the eastern-rigged Nobadeer. Both sea scallopers. As a little boy I remember the boats used to fish up around Great Round Channel and shell-stock the boats, bring the scallops back to Nantucket and unload them at Straight Wharf into trucks and bring the scallops to Charlie's shanty on Washington Street Extension. I was a lumper. My job was to climb down into the hold of the Sankaty and Nobadeer and shovel the sea scallops into fish totes where they would be winched out of the hold and into the waiting trucks on the wharf. Then I would go to the shanty and stand on a fish tote at the bench and open the scallops all day long.

The shanty was full of Nantucketers opening the sea scallops. It was quite an operation down there at the shanty. Later on I sold my bay scallops to Charlie and opened them at the same shanty. I remember the good old days of commercial bay scalloping when the shanty would be filled with scallops and openers. Those days are long gone. After I opened my scallops and sold them to Charlie I would always sit with him in his office and talk about fishing. Charlie had so many stories he told me about anything fishing and scalloping related. He and Carl Sjolund used to scallop before school every day in the dark. That was before the 6:30 a.m. start time we go by now. Charlie and Carl would have their 12 bags of scallops well before 6:30 every morning.

Charlie was a highliner bay scalloper. He knew every square inch of Nantucket and Madaket harbors. I would always tell him where in the harbor I caught my scallops and he would always know exactly where I was talking about. Charlie had an old black dog named Roxie. He loved that dog. She used to sit under his desk all day in his office. It will be strange not seeing Charlie now as I bring my limit of scallops to his shanty now and be greeted with his usual "Ah-Huh." The waterfront will not be the same with out him.