White Sails Became Me

When my grandfathers, as boy sailors, looked to the sky they saw white sails—I saw what I would become. That one thought captures the essence of what White Sails Became Me is all about.

As a young lad I frequently rode my rickety old bicycle down to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, and sit on the pier at the foot of 31st Street near my home, watching the merchant ships coming and going. For most people there is something almost mystical about ships and the sea, and it was so for me, conjuring up mystical images of white sails in the sunset. I vowed I would someday go to sea in one of those ships; that was my dream, and it would dictate my entire life!

That dream was vastly nurtured by my paternal grandfather. When he died, I recall that as the priest said his last rites, I flashed back to a time when I would sit next to him in the basement watching him weave his ship-modeling magic, cutting and stitching the white sails to perfection. The seeds of my life and what I would become were sown in his home.

Like my grandfather, I take special pleasure in the historical side of modeling. His subjects were always about ships with white sails. Inspired by him, it has always been my philosophy to only build models that reflect white sails as a part of America's maritime heritage.

Long after white sails had vanished from the seas, I learned that the first building block in the construction of a ship is its keel. Later, I realized that the years spent around my grandfather, also taught me that the first and most important building block in the construction of a child's knowledge, is the stimulation his or her mind receives when knowledge is passed to future generations. Such is the "white sails" legacy.