CHILDREN: The Adventurers

It was the kind of phantomlike day in a Midwest spring to inspire adventurers. A warm south wind blew across Lake Erie. On the narrow beach at the end of East 185th Street in Euclid, Ohio, a group of small sea-rovers collected excitedly around a yellow rubber raft. A few hundred feet out in the lake, drifting away in the offshore wind, was a derelict canoe—the legitimate prize of anyone who could salvage her. The rubber raft (Navy surplus), which Dickie Bauer, 14, had bought with money he had earned caddying, was bravely launched from the beach.

Four of the adventurers...