Dad’s 1956 Aristocraft Torpedo 14 Project

As I was considering things I always wanted to do or things that I haven’t had time to do, I figured this would be a great place to get the ball rolling. Outside of enjoying hockey as my favorite pass time. I have always enjoyed the water and boating and all that goes with it. Water skiing has been part of my life since I was about 8 or 9 years old and to be honest, water skiing was one of the first things I can remember really looking forward to as a kid. I just couldn’t wait for the summer to get here so we could fire up the boat and get out there…. and that is what this page is going to be about.   This a kinda long story with alot of sentimental stuff so if you’re not into the mushy …awe… teary eyed shit… then just look at the great pictures and check out the videos. For the rest of you I want to share a really cool story that leads to the project that I’m working on right now.

Back in the mid 1940’s my grandparents on my Dad’s side , Rocco and Rose D’Angelo along with my Great Grandfather Papa Louie (who I knew in my early days) along with many other relatives (pisans), including brother in laws, cousins, friends etc.. purchased many lots of land on a pond in Westford, Mass.

At that time all the family and relatives lived in the Boston area, mostly Everett, Ma.  In the mid 1940’s based on the fact that there we no real highways and and living in the city as they did, going to “Westford” was going “up country” taking well over an hour to travel. As some of the cousins decided to look into buying land down the Cape, my grandfather and the rest found this great spot in Westford.

 

My Dad, at the time was 10 years old and was part of the building team, as were many other family members. I’ve seen old reel to reel video of the actual building process. You know how it was in those days, today as well, all the friends and family got together to help each other out.  Most of the men new trades (masons, electrical, plumbing etc) so the cottage was underway and the ladies helped out in the clearing of the land and of course the “MEALS”.  Coming from an  Italian family take it from me, no matter what your doing, especially a gathering  like this, their is going to be good food and alot of it.

In the reel to reel videos that my Dad has you can see my grandmother who at the time was in her late 20’s, cranking out huge pots of homemade pasta and sauce on a cast iron grate they made to put over the fire pit ” awesome” . (I really feel blessed to have a close family and have such a great record of the past of a place that holds so many great memories for me.)  As a side note to the building of the cottage, just the year prior to my grandparent buying the land, a man named Wyman purchased a huge chunk on land across the lake from our place, some of you may be familiar with Wyman’s Beach and Campground. That family owned and operated the beach and campground right up to about 2005 or 2006.

To fast forward a few years, the cottage became the place for Rocky, Rose, Louis and Arlene to spend there summer vacation along with all the company that visited on a regular basis. Food, Family and Fun!  Grandma Rose loved being a host and always had something good cooking!  ( The cottage had and still has a saying especially for the younger ones at the picnic table “Clean plate cottage” grandma coined that phrase for us as kids. You didn’t leave the table till your plate was empty. I guess I can blame being a little “husky” on grandma… I digress. To this day if you asked any of my cousins, friends, or any kid that used to visit the cottage back in the day , they would remember ” Clean plate cottage” .)

At this point we get to the beginning of what I can truly call a family heirloom. For the early years my dad has stories of boating with the row boat and even a cool story he tells of when him and a buddy were out on the row boat with his first small outboard on it. They were messing around , and I don’t know how it happened but , the outboard fell off the back of the boat and they were diving to try to get it.  To this day he can tell me just about where the motor lies a the bottom of the lake. Boating on the pond has been a part of my Dad’s life growing up. As time went on and Dad grew up , a very special gift was given to him for his 18th birthday / high school graduation.00000046-1

My Great grandfather Louie and Grandpa Rocky and Grandma Rose bought him and awesome speedboat! It was a 1956  Aristocraft Torpedo 14 , all wood boat made by Atlanta Boat Works. It came with an Evinrude Big Twin 30 H.P. outboard (I believe that was the biggest outboard at the time). Here are some older photos of the boat that I tried to scan , kind of blurred but still cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Dad an I worked on the boat this summer and it kinda started out in a casual conversation on the 4th.

Dad basically was looking for something to do when him and my Mom were at the lake. He likes to put around with the yard and likes to have a project going. As a kid I remember helping him out with his side business LURO lawn sprinkle installations (Lou and Rosalie=LURO). He was and still is a worker (though he is learning to relax a little) , he was a Fire Fighter , Plumber, Bar tender and ran a side Business (LURO) at the same time.  I got my work ethic from my

Dad…. just a side note I guess, but wanted to mention it because having a summer place and boat comes with chores and work. Growing up when we spent our month at the lake in the summer, it wasn’t all fun and games. There is work involved and my folks and grandparents talk us young the value of work and the satisfaction of getting things accomplished. I’ll always appreciate the lessons learned as a kid and want to thank my folks for the upbringing they gave me….. I’m going down the sentimental road again… Back to the boat!

Anyway we had not had the old boat in the water for 4 years because it needed work. We have another boat, a 1988 Four Winns Horizon that we use to ski and tube so the old boat has been on the back burner. Honestly it’s a time thing , you know what I mean, we’re all busy and no one has a garage to work on the boat in the winter … so it just got put off.

So this past 4th of July weekend we decided to pull out the old boat and start a summer long project that lasted 2 plus months.As we started the project my brother and I disconnected the engine (a 1976 Evinrude 40 HP) and took it off and  Dad took off most of the hard ware. What I wasn’t expecting as the project began, is the overwhelming memories and moments of reminiscing about all the great times with family and friends that I’ve had at this place. The Old boat was a focal point of most of the days as teenagers when me and my buddies would water ski all day, one after another. So the project was a sweet surprise as my mind spun with all the past snap shots in my head of 4th of July weekends every year with family and friends.

The crazy Volleyball games that my brothers and all our cousins on the Mastrocola side of the family will remember (Ronnie, Kenny, Gail, Nancy and John, Paul, Eddie, Frankie, Gloria, James and Paul B. who  may as well have been a cousin) and of coarse our referees Uncle Paul and Uncle Ron and Dad trying to control the games. We’d play, after a big Italian feed bag , for like an hour and a half the we’d all make a bee line for the dock and all dive in the water in different directions ( occasionally someone would land on someone) 12 – 16 of us all going off the dock at the same time was awesome … I can still see it. Then we’d play water volleyball and KING OF THE ROCK … you guys remember the rock … BTW it’s still there, I’m sure if the rock could talk IT would have the correct tally on the winners over the years.

All this stuff started flowing in my brain as I worked on the boat. I spent a week at the lake at the end of July and spent alot of time with the old boat working and thinking. It was really great having the boat project to look foward to every day. As a kid and even to present when you spend time at a place like this, it’s not just vacation , you usually have stuff to do. Whether yard work or other projects going on, there is always something to do. I spent most of my work time on the boat this year (other than spending one morning working on the beach).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My folks still enjoy coming to the cottage and I have 3 younger brothers that also enjoy the place. We all take a week in the summer and Mom and Dad kinda show up when ever and fill in when others aren’t there. We all pop in and visit each other when on vacation there as this is a great time to catch up and see each other. I had the folks down for lunch one of the days I was there and Dad and I had a chance to work togther on the boat. I cut in some of the tight spots and Dad did some finishing touches. We also had a special birthday lunch for Mom and Dad (both July babies), so we had a nice lobsta pie with the meat of 6 lobstas, a box of crushed ritz crackers and a pound of melted butta…. mmm… nice. Mom and Dad both enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the photo’s has we progressed and I finished it off the second week of September. I put the hardware back on and made a few finishing touches. We still want to get the bottom cleaned up and also get a new wind shield. The original windshield was a green tinted onr that will look cool. Other than that, get the motor tuned over the winter and we should be ready to go for the spring.

Here are the rest of the photo’s :