In memory of the life, love and wit of Carol Versandi
Cruise Ship Criminals
March 10, 2014
This next story comes from my mom's sister, Terry Annunziata.
...or as I like to call her, Aunt Terry.
Take it away Aunt Terry...
Last year we decided to take a cruise to Canada.
I have been on quite a few cruises, but this was Carol's first time.
In 70 years, she had never once taken a cruise, so I thought a scenic tour up past Nova Scotia through the Gulf of St Lawrence and into Canada would be nice.
Very relaxing and not too touristy.
However, as much as I wanted this to be special for her, I have to admit,
it was one of the worst boats I've ever been on.
The "pool" was nothing more then an overgrown puddle.
Nowhere near deep enough to swim in.
The food was two steps below Burger King and the cabins made Motel 6 seem like a palatial estate. I moaned and groaned about almost everything. From the moment we got onboard to the minute we made our first port. I was upset because I really wanted this to be an impressive boat and it turned out to be the exact opposite.
But Carol didn't mind at all.
She strolled from one end of the ship to the other, exploring every nook and cranny of the ship and making new friends along the way. She enjoyed the bad food and the small accommodations and the dopey live entertainment, but her favorite part, was the onboard casino.
Carol loved casinos.
Over the years we've spent endless hours (and thousands of dollars) together at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos in Connecticut as well as Monticello Gaming and Raceway up in Monticello, New York.
She wasn't a big gambler by any means.
She never played cards or anything that was high stakes. But give her a cup of nickels and she could play the slots all day long.
So one day while walking through the ship's casino.
Carol asked to borrow my reading glasses. And while she was hopping from one slot machine to the next, trying to find the "lucky one", she must have put them down somewhere and lost them. When I asked for them back, she told me she didn't have them anymore and did not know where they were.
"Come help me find them". I said.
"No", she replied. "I'm playing. They're your glasses, you go look for them".
"Carol. Come on. I need those", I pleaded.
"Go away. Shoo. Poof! Be gone", she taunted.
At this point I was getting mad. It's not that they were expensive glasses, but she lost them, the least she could do is help me find them.
"Ok, well come with me to the Lost and Found. Maybe somebody turned them in", I asked. "Nope. Playing", she said. And that was that. It seemed like the boat could hit an iceberg and start to sink - Carol wasn't going anywhere until she hit the big nickel slot jackpot.
So I head over to the Lost and Found.
I guess Carol's conscience got the better of her because she caught up to me right before I got there. I asked the attendant if by chance someone had turned in a pair of glasses. He said yes and brought out a pair of the weirdest looking glasses you have ever seen. He placed them on the counter and I just sort of stared at them for a minute, not knowing if this was some kind of cruise ship joke.
The frames were covered in these tiny multicolored squares.
Red, yellow, purple, blue, green and orange. They looked like novelty halloween glasses. Something you might see as part of a homemade clown costume. I thought to myself "Who in the hell would ever willingly buy and wear these?", but we were stuck on a boat and I needed glasses to read, so I tried them on. Lo and behold, not only did they fit perfectly, but the lenses were exactly what I needed.
So I thanked the attendant for finding "my" glasses and walked away.
We hadn't taken 5 steps before Carol started in on me.
"You can't take those. They don't belong to you. That's dishonest. It's stealing. Tess (she always called me Tess) bring those back this instant! The real owner is going to know that you stole them and we'll both get arrested. You for stealing and me for being your accomplice. I'm not going to jail over some reading glasses. Come on. Bring them back. I will help you look for your glasses. Tess, I want to go to Canada. I don't want to go to jail!"
Tess, this -
Tess that -
Tess, Tess, Tess… On and on and on she went.
She really thought this low rent cruise ship had a brig and we would both be spending the rest of the vacation behind bars over a pair of reading glasses. I ignored her and kept the glasses. I still have them to this day.
But watching her freak out and squirm and try to hide every time she saw one of the ship's crew approach made the cruise that much more enjoyable for me!