Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Survivor of Dad's Killer Hobbies


Killer Hobbies welcomes Peter Green, author of a Word War II biography of his father, Dad’s War with the United States Marines, and his mystery series with architect-sleuth Patrick MacKenna. He’s stopped by today to give away a copy of his new mystery, Crimes of Design, and to talk about his father’s favorite killer hobby.

Photo of Peter Green by David Ulmer


Ben Green, my fascinating father, not only had a killer hobby, he lived it. He practically killed the rest of us in the process.

After the interruption of the Second World War, Dad got his old Chicago job back and took his place among the noble captains of the ad industry. Current television viewers call them Mad Men. Dad, a self-made city kid, got his first opportunity ever to take a family vacation. His South Pacific war odyssey, which scared the daylights out of the rest of us, had nurtured his love for fishing and the sea, not to mention whetting his thirst for death-defying adventure.

On our first Cape Cod jaunt – on the ocean side of the peninsula, mind you, not in the protected bay – Dad took me fishing in a rented rowboat. Since we weren't catching anything and the sky clouded up, Dad left me on the beach with Mom and my little sister and set out to return the skiff to the dock a half mile to the north. The breeze stiffened and the surf rose, complicating this simple process. In buff condition from the war, Dad cheerfully redoubled his efforts to row back to shore. But in a rising gale and an outgoing tide his craft was carried in the opposite direction and further out to sea. At last a fisherman with an outboard motor, fleeing the building nor'easter, took pity on Dad and towed him back to the boat landing. I can still hear Mom’s frantic shouts, my little sister in tow, as we followed his backward progress along the beach, his boat looking smaller every minute.

But the lure of the sea again proved irresistible. On another Cape Cod venture in 1957, one day when it was too rainy and dark to enjoy the beach, Dad decided to take us up to Provincetown, that charming artist’s colony at the tip of the Cape. When by noon strong winds and rain came up, we learned on the car radio that Hurricane Carol had just crossed Montauk Point on Long Island and was making straight for Cape Cod. In the stiffening wind and rain we took a wrong turn toward the seashore. Water assailed us in horizontal sheets. The approaching tempest buffeted and rocked the car. We parked and staggered toward a lone seaside inn, gripping the car doors frantically to prevent them from blowing off. To keep our footing we had to lean into ninety-five mile-an-hour winds at a 45-degree angle.  Inside, the frantic innkeepers warned us that the entire town had been submerged in the Great Hurricane of ‘38, and advised us to run for our lives to higher ground. A frantic race, dodging falling trees and missile-like airborne rocks, brought us back safely to our cabin in Chatham,  the car suffering only a few dents and a cracked windshield.                            

Another of Dad's fishing adventures got included in a scene in my new mystery, Crimes of Design. With my checkered past, it's no wonder I'm driven to write tales of the dark and dangerous to free my troubled soul.

—by Peter H. Green

Peter has graciously agreed to give away one copy of Crimes of Design to a lucky commenter. You have until Wednesday to share your comment and be eligible to win.

For more of Peter’s thoughts, visit www.peterhgreen.com/blog

13 comments:

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome, Peter. Your dad sounds like quite an adventurous character. I enjoy the sea, too--although not fishing--and give me a cruise ship and good weather!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I'm visiting Cape Cod later this month, but I am NOT going sailing!

Monica Ferris said...

Your Dad sounds like a really interesting character, but one I think I'd prefer to read about rather than go adventuring with. I spent an awful lot of hours on an oveturned sailboat on Lake Michigan before my boyfriend and I were rescued, an adventure I have been careful not to get in a position to repeat.

Peter Green said...

Linda, I agree about the cruise ship thing. Joanna, a sailboat is a bit bigger, and maybe safer, although apparently not for Monica. Deep sea fishing with a twin engine trawler and a captain has it moments, he knows when to come ashore!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Great post, Peter. Your dad sounds like a really gutsy guy. Wishing you every success with your mystery novels.

Nancy Means Wright said...

Your dad sounds like a delightful person, Peter, with a zest for living--especially after his harrowing experiences in a war. I'll look forward to reading more about him when the book arrives...

dkchristi said...

I've had my share of "adventures" at sea - and the power of the sea is always frightening. You told the story well! dkchristi.com author of Ghost Orchid and more...dkchristi at yahoo dot com

Betty Gordon said...

Peter,your dad sounds like a man who enjoys life and all it has to offer. I've had some harrowing experiences in a sailboat -- enjoyed talking about it later, much, much later.

Peter Green said...

Thanks to the L & L Dreamspell crowd, Nancy, dk, Jacquline and Betty, for checking in and posting. Dad was great all right, the inspiration for my first book, Dad's War with the United States Marine. And I'm not done writing about him, thinking about a historical novel using his real name and character,

Christy Tillery French said...

Third time I've tried to post so here goes again. Fun blog, Peter. Your dad sounds a lot like my husband, an adventurer and risk-taker. I'm usually along as the hapless companion.

traveler said...

Your dad sounds incredibly interesting and an old school man to be admired.

petite said...

I am impressed with this post and learning about your dad and his adventures.

Peter Green said...

Hey, thanks to all for commenting! The contest ended yesterday, and of the valid entries, on was selected in a random drawing audited by our Big Eight (or is it down to two?). accounting firm. Congratulations, Christy Tillery French, winner of a copy of Crimes of Design. I will contact you separately through another channel to delver your prize.

Thanks, Joanna, for the chance to blog.