My parents kept their boat at Pauls Boats in Rumson. They were friendly with Pete Pauls and his wife Dot who were the owners. They had two sons, Nippi and Pete. We all skied together during the winter in Vermont after the boating season had ended every year.
Young Pete and Nip ran the dock which pumped gas, sold bait, and provided guys a place to waste time bullshitting with other guys about boat stuff only they cared about or understood. There was a snack bar on land in the building run by some long-haired guy;) He had a pinball machine in there I fell in love with. It was a great place to hang out as a kid. I did a few summers and helped the guys rent the boats, clean them, or bail them out after it rained.
The yard had about 20 rowboats you could rent on a half or full-day basis. You would rent the boat with or without an engine, then buy some bait from the small shack on the dock. Damit, the parrot in the shop. would say “one boat going” and off you would go fishing in the Navesink. Not a bad way to spend a day on a good river. The boats were returned and secured next to one another in separate space in the water. Secured together with lines and clips they were a floating car lot in the water.
Some days we would all get in the water and play rowboat tag. Swimming between, around, and under the boats touching someone to make them “it.” We had fun, the worst part being if you scratched yourself on a barnacle under a boat or on a piling, or if you couldn’t swim, Yes, in the 70’s we played games in the water and didn’t know how to swim. You could never do this now. Swimming underwater is something you don’t do in the Navesink anymore. And who would even think of going in the water without swimming lessons?
This was only 50 years ago. Somehow that just doesn’t seem to be so very long.