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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Skipper

Charles Henry Kimball

Norman graduated from Cornell University,
But his younger brother, Charles, spent only
Two years at the University of Wisconsin,
Ostensibly studying forestry.

He joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity
And had a wonderful time, sailing and partying.
His father told him to get a job
After his second year.

The Skipper worked for the Old Ben Coal Company
For forty-six years, or so I thought.
My brother, Charles, said that he and another
Salesman started the Eastern Star Coal Company.

That was either bought out by Old Ben,
Or didn't last long; he never mentioned it.
He knew the owners of Old Ben from age twenty,
Probably from sailing DeWitt Buchanan's A boat.

That was his passion in his younger days:
Sailing class boats on Lake Winnebago.
An old-timer described him as Skipper Kimball,
And that became his nickname for us forever.

Aunt Day, DeWitt's aunt, took care of him at their
Summer home in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin,
When he developed rheumatic fever,
That began lifelong heart problems.

Sue and I visited the Buchanans there
Before we were married, staying at the local
Hotel where "After the Ball is Over" was written.
And seeing "The Chocolate Soldier" with Aunt Day.

The Skipper loved show business; while on the road,
He always took in the local vaudeville.
He had met or seen all the popular entertainers
Who later became radio and movie stars.

He was a crack bridge player;
Could easily have been a life master.
But he didn't like tournaments, and preferred
To play for low stakes at his club.

Mom and Dad moved to Clearwater Beach, Florida,
From Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for a few years.
Charles and I visited them there for his
Seventieth birthday, and he died that year.

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