Mark Twain, the talented American novelist, spent his boyhood beside the Mississippi River in the town of Hannibal, Mo.
So he knew from firsthand experience that the allure of a flowing river is hypnotic.
People who live on houseboats know this, too, because their lives are cradled and rocked by the river where they are moored.
When warm weather arrives, houseboat residents are nearly euphoric. They can power up the motor and float along the river while soaking up some sun and siping a cold beer. They can catch up with members of their favorite fraternity of floating free spirits known as river people.
Back in September 1970, The Pittsburgh Press published a feature in its women’s section, which it proudly proclaimed was “for and about women.”
Headlined “Water Home,” the story showed Leo D. Tyler and his family living aboard a houseboat called Tippecanoe III. A key picture shows Mrs. Tyler and four of her children bidding goodbye to the family’s breadwinner, Mr. Tyler, a salesman.
The story extolled the family’s ability to live in close quarters and still get along during their six-month stay on the boat from May to November. The Tylers traveled regularly, visiting the Beaver River and Brady’s Bend on the Allegheny River. They also studied the history of the towns they visited.
The family had taken typical vacations and belonged to a country club.
“Nothing has satisfied all of us as much as living on a houseboat,” Mrs. Tyler told the story’s author, Sylvia Sachs.