Born aboard The Florence in 1887, Mr. Duncan spent his first eleven years at sea--with his family. Father was the captain, Mother refused to be left on shore so she kept house on the freighter and raised five children there. His memories, written seventy years later, reveal a childhood to surpass most landlubbers for adaptability and imagination: their mother, a Brooklyn-born college graduate was their teacher, but ""school was promptly dismissed when a whale or a school of porpoises was in sight."" Incidents are grouped according to common theme rather than related chronologically, and his accounts of the crew, foreign ports, bad weather, special days are easy-going and fresh. There was the second mate with an addiction for castor oil; a slightly balmy soul whose early accident, treated with the captain's guarded medicine, earned him the ""Brandy"" nickname and a trip with no work; mother's pleasure in having an ""overboard"" for trash; the cook trying to get their dinner from kitchen to cabin between waves; and a built-in way of playing with a pesty younger sister--call a locker an oven, call her a roast beef, and tell her to cook until done. Sailor's delight.