Tonawanda News

Features

October 6, 2013

THROUGH THEIR EYES: A peek into the past with the Naval Park

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — And that’s pretty much what happened. I’m going to confess here that I was on the outskirts for most of this, instead hanging out with Jim, who is himself far more fascinated with the water than the ships, and watching the duo of husband and second son communing with each other from afar. And that’s OK. 

The exhibits and other equipment will wait until Sam’s a little older. For now, the focus was on the ships, the USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock and USS Croaker.

Maybe predictably, it was the biggest and the littlest things he noticed. The big: The ships themselves, and how measurably awesome it was to a 5-year-old to step foot on them. The little: Every tiny everyday detail adult eyes can so easily gloss over.

He loved the beds, all lined up, and how he could sit far off the ground on the highest one. Note to self: Look into bunk beds one of these days. 

He liked the galley, and how the officers’ mess had booths “like a restaurant!” He liked the anchors and the searchlight. “It’s a big flashlight!” He liked one ship’s small exhibit area with models of many of its kind, and the detailed map on the Little Rock. He liked the engine room. “This is what makes the ship go, daddy.”

”He was asking what everything was,” my husband, Eric, said. “He was just like a llittle sponge, he was absorbing everything. And the next time we were back and after that, he remembered it all.”

With four visits so far under his belt, Sam now leads us around the park like a small tour guide. While he first remembered the USS The Sullivans because “it’s the guy in ‘Monsters Inc.!” now he understands that it’s named after five brothers, although he doesn’t know what ultimately happened to them. One thing at a time.

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