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Mark Gubin shares a story about spending his summers in a tugboat on the Milwaukee River.

Photos courtesy of Mark Gubin.

Photos courtesy of Mark Gubin.

By Mark Gubin, as told to Pamela Hill Nettleton

I like lying in the hammock, on a tugboat, in the city. I live here a lot of the summer. Sometimes the construction noise can get to be a bit much, but below deck, down in my bedroom, the water is a pretty good insulator and it’s quiet.

I used to have a sort of pet seagull, Frank. He thought this was his boat. If people walked by and got too close, he squawked. Gulls can be pretty loud. I built these chairs and table out of driftwood and whatever floats by. I have a hook, I pull things in. I carved that wooden gull over there – I should repaint that for the season.

With the lights strung on the boat, and the lights on The RiverWalk, it’s pretty sitting here in the evening. I walk to the Public Market with friends, we pick out what we want to eat, come back here, and grill up dinner. From the wheelhouse up top, it’s a good place to watch a storm, to watch the lightning strikes. People walk by and talk to me.

I guess I’ve become sort of a character.

“That Guy on the Boat” is party of the essay collection, “True Stories,” which appears in the 2016 City Guide issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the May issue on newsstands beginning May 30, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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