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Yesterday: A man and his ‘junk boat’ from 1978

Here’s a photograph Salisbury Post photographer Wayne Hinshaw took in July 1978 of Jake Michaels and his ‘junk boat,’ with Panther Point neighbor Rhonda Smith as a passenger. Michaels was a retired construction worker and barber from Burlington who had a weekend cabin on the Panther Point finger of High Rock Lake. He made the licensed boat out of anything imaginable. His lights were parts of red and green ash trays. His control shift was a galvanized water pipe. A light dimmer switch was made partly from a door latch. The boat was powered by a lawn mower engine, and all the belts were off old cars. The fire extinguisher was tied on with a garden hose. The rudder was a plastic refrigerator shelf, and its control was a rod from an adjustable book shelf with a Clorox bottle covering. The gas tank cap was made from a small rubber tire on a child’s toy truck. The name of the boat, Jahamabil II, was a combination of four first names in Michaels’ family. Whenever his boat failed mechanically, Michaels used a bedspread as a sail.

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