Many years ago on a family outing to visit the relatives in Oxnard, my family took us to the Ventura County Courthouse.
My father led us downstairs to the Ventura County Museum. This was old news to my siblings but being the youngest, everything was an adventure. There were lots of stuff to see there about the old days, including things about my father’s family. This was why he wanted me to go there.
In that crowded room, my father led me to a display. It was a model ship. It was much like one we had at home when I was very small. It was magnificent in its miniature detail. Then I noticed the caption. “Made by a 15 year old Mexican boy Carlos Majera.”
They spelled our last name wrong, but that was not the issue. Now that I am an old man, I wanted to see it again. Here is a photo from an old newspaper clipping.
Sometime in the 1960’s I believe, my cousin Rex Winters made an effort to correct the spelling of our last name. I appreciate his effort on my dad’s behalf.
Here below is a photograph my father took. It must have been right after he finished making it.
Milady and I took some time off to go down there and find that boat. We finally made it to the new Ventura County Museum in the city of Ventura. It is a fine place to visit and I would like go back and spend some more time there.
However, no boat. The people there had no idea what I was talking about, but they did tell me about a place in Oxnard a few miles away that specializes in model ships. Off we go. Eventually we found the place. The Channel Islands Maritime Museum. They have a website, and here it is: http://www.cimmvc.org/
Here I am standing in front of it. Milady and I stepped inside and immediately it has become one of our favorite places on this planet.
Near the entry of the museum is this famous painting. The staff there were quite proud of it. so proud in fact they replicated the painting on their front window.
They have many other wonderful paintings on display throughout the museum, but what caught our attention were the many model ships on display. In my quest I thought these people might know where my father’s model ship was. I told them my story and they were kind enough to call the Ventura County Museum and some other places to find out what happened to my dad’s model. In the meantime, we walked around.
We found this magnificent model of a turtle ship. I was amazed by the detail and the meticulous care that must have gone into making this. The original turtle ships were from Korea. Their word for these was Geobukseon. I have no idea how to correctly pronounce that. They were used during the Joseon dynasty, that is from the 15th century until the 19th century. It is recognized as the first armored ship in the world.
The ships are on display inside glass cases. We were there at that particular time of day when there was a lot of reflection.
It took years to make some of these models. Each piece was made by hand. If you have been reading some of my other blogs, or have visited my Facebook page, and everyone is welcome to, you will know that I work with iron. I am a member of an art gallery called Gallery 9 in downtown Los Altos, California. I appreciate the effort that has gone in to make each of these models.
I am in deep respect of patience involved in dealing with the lines or ropes just in this small part of a much larger ship.
What a wonder!
There is a section of the museum is dedicated to the memory of Edward Marple. There is a picture of him towards the back working on one of his projects. You can see some of the tools and equipment that he used. The ships he made were on display here in this museum.
Here are some of the supplies he used.
Here is another view of his workbench.
Both ladies that work inside the museum were very helpful in trying to help me find my father’s boat. After several phone calls and more than a half hour of their time, they found someone who remembered my father’s model ship. With this I have reached the end of my quest.
It turns out that the ship was sold by the County Museum sometime in the 1980’s. They told me that it was falling apart so I guess somebody wanted to repair it. I do hope she found a new home. I would like to think that she is in someone’s living room to this day.
Thank you, Carri Reid, and the other helpful and friendly staff members. I know I will be back there soon.