Owning a jet boat has always been my dream since I was a child. Even though I grew up amidst car enthusiasts, such as my father and my big uncle, Uncle Teddy.
Uncle Teddy had most of the best collection of cars in his garage. Collecting old cars was one of his favorite things to do. He was a rich man just like my father, and they spend their money collecting cars, going to car shows, and car races.
They once said that Uncle Teddy had the finest collection of cars in the whole of America. And my father was the second in that line of chain.
In one of the auctions my father did when I was growing up, he sold an old Cadillac for about a million US dollars. The car was said to have been gotten on behalf of the Prince of Wales who had charged his representative to get the car at all cost.
My father and my uncle seldom sold from their collections, and when they do, they take home a lot of money.
Maybe this was the reason my brother took over from them when my father grew too old to go all about, and my uncle passed on.
Fred, my only brother, I must say was doing well for himself as well, including the plantation and the mining company that was left to him.
One day, when I was about 13 years old, Uncle Teddy came to the boulevard and said to my father over dinner. “They said Prince of Wales is coming to town, and he wants to buy himself one of the finest American beast on his trip back home. Guess who they called?”
“You?” My father submitted.
“You darn right.” He said amidst a mouthful of crab stew. He picked up the napkin and wiped his mouth. Then he continued, pointing his spoon at my dad. “I want you to sell him one of yours.”
I admire my uncle whenever he talked like this. With straight face and mustache, he reminds of Don Corleone of the Italian Godfather fame. He knew where to pick the word and make a home run of it. Unknown to my dad, he couldn’t fathom where he was going to drop the ball.
“What if he doesn’t like what I have, I’m sure he must have something in mind, we can throw him anything. Plus you have …..”
“He would surely like it when he sees it,” Uncle Teddy interrupted him as he was rambling. He stared for a minute for the words to sink, and for my father to ask the question he expected him to ask.
But he didn’t. It was my brother, Fred, who asked the question, and I admired his courage.
Uncle Teddy smiled lovingly at Fred, who was sitting beside me. “Now, that’s a brilliant question from a brilliant boy. You are going to make a fine car collector someday,” He said knowingly to him. My brother was proud, as well as my father for the comment. I was too, and so was my mother who sat at the older end of the table looking at the two men she admired greatly to talk about business.
“Like you said brother,” Uncle Teddy continued. “He does have a car he wants, or should I say, a particular product in mind, and that product, you have in your garage.”
This, I was sure made my father very suspicious of my uncle because of the way he looked at him at the moment.
“How do you know this?” He asked
“Let’s just hope my informant was right, and nothing about anything else.”
He told my father that the prince had been in search of a Chevrolet Corvette 1953 for a while.
“And we both know there is only one left of this product in the world. Which you have in your garage.”
“Which is more reason I don’t feel like selling,” my father said with a frown.
My uncle sold him the idea of not selling directly to him but putting the car in an auction as he was sure it would attract the big goons all across the world. And because the Prince doesn’t know that there was still one of the cars he wanted in town, he would make sure that his informant got the message across to him.
They had a very short time to plan this auction, and my father almost asked for the car to be sold directly to the prince as his stay was coming to an end and he was determined on going back with any classic car at least.
My uncle came up with the idea of putting some people up for the bid which was a very risky game to play in the business and quite illegal. But he did anyway and sold the idea to my father.
On the day of the auction, which was held at Talcom Bay, New York, I was with my brother at the auction house and when the prince arrived in a big yacht which took my breath away at one glance. On its side was boldly written ‘FLORA’S DAWN.’
The French man beside us who usually swept the yard said it was the most beautiful thing he had ever see and that it was magnificent.
I told my brother that was going to be a yacht collector and I would name my first boat after the Prince of Wales who made me fell in love with the absolute beauty.
At the end of the auction, the prince bought the old Chevy and would not stop smiling with satisfaction.
I ran to him as he was about to leave and told him I loved his big yacht and I was going to get one myself when I was older. I also told him I was going to give her his name because he had developed my interest in boats.
“Do you know my name?” He asked soothingly.
I nodded. “Yes, Prince Charles.”
When I was old enough, I acquired a lot of boats and yachts, and I was becoming a collector like my dad and my uncle. The difference was that I did collect cars as they did. Of all the boats I had, there was a particular jet boat which I loved a lot. Because of the man who had developed my interest in boats, I named the jet boat Prince Charles.