I was recently reading one of my favorite blogs, Marian’s Roots and Rambles. Her article was about “Any Sailors in the Family.” I was a sailor, did 10 years active duty in the US Navy, but more interesting, I learned recently that my mother was a sailor as well. She mentioned that somewhere or another she had gotten “seaman’s papers.” (I’ll have to look and see if I can figure out how to get a copy of them.) She worked on a ferry boat on the Great Lakes. In the early 1950’s she cooked aboard the SS Milwaukee Clipper. The ‘Clipper was an auto/train car (and passenger) ferry that ran between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She cooked and baked in the breads department and lived shipboard a season. Of course, I was astonished and amazed. It provided her with a place to stay (albeit cramped), meals, and money to send back to her mother to support me. I had no idea.
|By Boston Public Library [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
I went on to find out that the S. S. Milwaukee Clipper is still in existence. The ‘Clipper is a National Historic Landmark and dockside in Muskegon, Michigan. Their website explains a lot about the ship and its history. Built in 1904 as the Junita she was sold and completely overhauled in 1940, where a new steel superstructure was installed, she was fireproofed, had AC installed to the staterooms, and other comforts were added. I am sure that the crew quarters were tight.