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Friday, January 20, 2017

MEMOIR


TEARS AND LAUGHTER AT 90

AN OLD WIVES’ TALE FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

BY

BARBARA BEYER MALLEY

EDITED BY

DR. KATHLEEN MALLEY-MORRISON


Acknowledgements: Some of the episodes in this memoir appeared earlier in magazine articles and in Take My Ex-Husband, Please, Little, Brown, 1991.

PREFACE

NOTE TO VISITORS                                      
     As decades passed, why did I report events in my life in such copious detail? Articles published in boating and flying magazines owed their existence to this habit of recording experiences as they occurred. Without these chronicles I would doubtless recall a boat sinking and two airplane accidents, a week apart, but their details would have faded.
     I learned that misadventures provided the most satisfactory source for hopefully humorous letters to my mother and daughter.  The more things turned sour, the more I felt challenged to make lemonade.  With the exception of tragedies, like losing Vonnie and the accident that left Kathie in a wheelchair in 1965, most calamities came with a saving grace. After rallying from the latest shock, I'd reach for my therapeutic pencil and let it do its thing. Almost always,  my distress would dissipate and a bad day would end on an upbeat note. 

(1) ED HAD AN UNCANNY PREDELICTION FOR ACCIDENTALLY GOING OVERBOARD.

                                         
     Our beach front home in Cohasset, Massachusetts was the perfect place for Ed to indulge his fondness for boats.  First came the rowboat our children clambered happily in and out of, too little to understand it was more than a beach toy for their specific entertainment. 
     On weekends the beach toy became transportation to our second boat, a 17-foot fiberglass skiff anchored beyond Big-Big.  Here Ed and I spent many a Sunday morning, placidly reading the papers and unwittingly creating an annoying detour for the Cohasset Yacht Club’s 110 and 210 sailboat races. 
     Papers read, Ed would row ashore in the beach toy and collect our two youngest for a boat ride. Not always the most observant of men, he once picked up our towheaded little neighbor, Mimi Dean, carrying her across the beach, and settling her in the rowboat. She murmured nary a complaint.
     “Mr. Malley,” Esther called from the beach chair where she was keeping an eye on Vonnie and Timmy. “That is not your daughter.” The mix-up was thereupon remedied, to everyone’s satisfaction except the disappointed towhead’s.  
     Like the cove’s rock formations, our four youngsters acquired distinguishing nicknames: the Big Kids and the Little Kids. With the Big Kids (Kathie and Teddy), we often went fishing, using hand lines and hooks baited with clams or periwinkles, industriously unearthed on the beach and stored in sand pails. Did we catch any fish? Not that I recall. As with a Christmas present, it was the spirit, not the fish, that counted.
     The Little Kids, Vonnie and Timmy, were treated to a trip to Minot’s Light, their father circling around it while they gazed with round eyes at the longest ladder they had ever seen. When they became bigger kids, they liked nothing better than a rowboat ride to Brush Island, situated a few hundred yards northeast of Sandy Cove. Once, on the way back to the cove, Timmy insisted on dragging a line with a bare hook. Then he insisted he had caught a fish. We laughed indulgently until he pulled the line aboard, its hook attached to the backbone of the fish he had indeed caught. His parents were impressed, his sister jealous, and Timmy won the first of many arguments he would have throughout the years with his parents, grandparents (The Great Target Debate), siblings, teachers, school principals, and friends. 
     Our next boat was a 32-foot cabin cruiser. It was built in 1949 in Ed’s small manufacturing plant (located on the third floor of his father’s trucking garage in Boston) by several of his craftsmen in their spare time and a half.  


FIRST BOAT'S MAIDEN VOYAGE DOWN ATLANTIC AVENUE 
    There was nothing wrong with her structure except for one teensy flaw that caused her to sink the following season.  
     It was lovely mid-September weather, but a bit choppy, the day our cruiser began taking in water a mile and a half northeast of the Boston Lightship. My friend Marion Marsh and I were chatting over our beer and sandwiches when we noticed that Wes was diligently operating the hand pump while Ed was rushing around examining sea cocks, toilet fittings, and sink drains. (Later we learned there was a faulty fitting in the exhaust line.) 
     “Must be a leak somewhere,” said Marion.
     “Looks like it.  How about another beer?”
     I went below and found myself in water up to my ankles. “Hey, Ed,” I called. “There’s a lot of water down here!”
     “I know it,” Ed called back. “We’re sinking. If we had the tender, I’d row to the Lightship for help.”
     Marion and I went topside and jumped up and down, waving our jackets and shouting at the Lightship. Ed handed us horns and flares. We set off the flares and blew on the horns until we were purple. Ed and Wes tied several kapok pillows together and took off all the hatches, lashing them into a makeshift raft. Then we huddled together on the flying bridge, awaiting our fate.
     We sighted a sail leisurely dipping along the horizon. It looked for a while as if its skipper was going to continue on without seeing our predicament and we were feeling pretty glum. Then suddenly, it came about and headed directly toward us. The nearer it drew, the stiffer became our upper lips. Soon we were cracking jokes and being very British about the whole thing. Our rescuer, it turned out, was George Crocker in the Tango.
     “Nice to see you, George,” Ed said--the greatest understatement since Henry M. Stanley’s “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
                            
     
     Marion, Wes, and I swam to our rescuers, and George helped us aboard. Ed remained on board, sadly surveying the scene. For a moment I had the impression he had decided to go down with his ship.  He chose instead to help the harbormaster tow our partially submerged boat to a beach near the yacht club. With the assistance of his insurance company, she was eventually restored to her former almost seaworthy condition.             
      For the next three years after the sinking, the cruiser behaved herself, but her captain did not. He had an uncanny predilection for accidentally going overboard.  If we were in shark territory, this was not a great thing to do. Sharks could be caught on rod and reel or speared with a harpoon attached to an abundance of line wrapped around a barrel. One day Ed had just connected with a whopper and I was dutifully recording the event with the camera when he got fouled up in the line and went flying.  Unfortunately for posterity, I failed to continue focusing on the event; what followed was a boring sequence of the side of the boat. 
     I was caught without a camera on another occasion when we were trying to tie up to the pier in Provincetown. I was at the topside controls while Ed was forward with a line ready to toss over one of the posts rising above our heads.
     “You’re going too fast, put her in neutral!”
     Hastily I obeyed, but our momentum was carrying us past his goal.
    "Reverse, reverse!" he shouted, as he dropped the line over the post.
    I shoved the control into reverse.  The throttle was still pushed up, so we shot backwards.  The result was curious.  Ed had neglected to secure the other end of his line to a cleat.  As the boat leaped from under him, he made a wild grab for the line and before I could say, "What on earth are you doing, dear?" he was hanging from the Provincetown pier.  I eventually retrieved him, getting paid for my trouble with a dour, "What's so funny?" 
                                                                    DARRELL McCLURE
Summer 1953
       Hubert Kent was a purchasing agent for the Ford Motor Company, whom Ed had met on a business trip.  Mr. Kent had mentioned that he would be vacationing on the Cape in August. 
       "Look me up," Ed said, "and I'll take you out fishing."      
       Rather to his surprise, the man took him at his word.  Ed came home beaming one night and told me he’d invited Mr. Kent on a shark‑fishing trip.
      "Is this likely to get you a Ford contract?" I asked.
       "Shh," hissed Ed, cringing and looking over his shoulder.  "Don't ever say things like that!  If this guy thought I was taking him fishing just because he's a Ford purchasing agent, it would queer things for sure!"
      Hubert Kent thoroughly enjoyed his day aboard the Happy Days,  A whale sounded not far from the boat and had its picture  taken for the folks back home in Detroit.  We spotted several sharks; one of them hooked himself long enough to convince Mr. Kent that shark fishing was the greatest sport in the world.
      "Mummy, look what I found on the beach!" our daughter Vonnie exclaimed, thrusting something black and wet in my face, when we returned home with our guest.  It looked and smelled like a dead dog.
       "How can I dry him out, do you think he'll dry out if I put  him in the sun? Doesn't he look real?"
        Our son Timmy was simultaneously jabbering that his new kite was caught in a big tree.  Should he call the fire department to get it down?
       "Um‑hm," I said, meaning yes, the dead dog did look real; but Timmy went off to call the fire department.  I told older daughter Kathie to take our guest upstairs and show him where to change while I set out the caviar and pate de fois gras.  Mr. Kent had barely left the room when Timmy piped up:  "Is Daddy going to get the contract?"
      "Shh!  Timmy, will you shut up for God's sake!" I whispered, aghast.
       "Well, all I want to know is, did he—"
       I clapped my hand over his mouth.  "Where did he ever get an idea like that?" I asked Esther.             "Urmph, rrurmph," said Timmy, squirming.
      "I don't know, Mrs. Malley," Esther said.  "He's been talking like that all day.  You know how he is when he gets an idea in his head.  I thought maybe he heard you and  Mr. Malley talking."
      Timmy was still wriggling.
      "Timmy, I'm going to let you go, but if you dare say one more word like that—well, I don't know what your father will do to you."
      "What's Timmy done now?" asked Ed, appearing on cue.
      I told him.  Ed glanced wildly upstairs, then started for Timmy.  "I'll strangle him, I swear I'll strangle him!"
      "Why can't I just ask ‑‑" Timmy began calmly, not at all intimidated. 
      "Timmy," I pleaded, while his father collapsed in a chair, "not now.  Tomorrow.  Do you understand?  Tomorrow you can ask all the questions you want."
      "Who the devil told him, anyway?" Ed asked.     
      "Nobody told me.  I saw the license plate and I knew you went to Detroit to get some business and I read in a funny‑book about a guy taking another guy on his boat because he was trying to get a contract."
      "I give up," Ed said weakly.  "I'm never going to work again.  I'll just retire and let this genius support us."
    
      On a summer evening in 1954, Ed and I dropped the hook in Provincetown Harbor and, breaking out our new outboard motor, putted ashore to have dinner.  We visited all the bars and explored all the shops, and I only regretted we couldn't dine in all the restaurants.  Toward midnight we made our way back to the beach where the dinghy was pulled up.  The sand bit my legs and angry waves slapped at the shore.  We had failed to notice a brisk wind developing.
     Removing our shoes, Ed and I dragged the dinghy into the water, hopped in and started the outboard.  We had gone a few feet when a wave drenched us—and the outboard motor.  Wading back to shore, we tipped the water out of the dinghy and set off again, this time with a pair of oars.
    "Now don't you wish we'd built that terrace instead?" I said, congratulating myself that I hadn't lost my sense of humor.  I could tell that Ed had lost his by the look he gave me.
     The shadowy outline of the Happy Days, pitching and tossing, loomed ahead.  Ed brought us close enough to the stern for me to grab the ladder.  Then the dinghy heaved and I lost my grip.  At the same time Ed lost one of the oars.  Half swamped, the dinghy was rapidly being swept from the boat when Ed grabbed the dinghy painter and plunged overboard. 
      I had married Ed, despite qualms, when I was an eighteen-year-old, slightly pregnant Smith College freshman, wishing I didn’t have to.  Now, as he fought through the waves to the Matthews with me in tow, I realized once again, with awe, that I had unwittingly married the right man.
    "Go below and change into some dry clothes," Ed ordered in his Captain Bligh voice when we were safely on board. I meekly went below.  "Come up here and hold the flashlight while I bail out the dinghy," he called a minute later.
    I started  to say, "Wait till I get some clothes on," then thought better of it.  This was no time for niceties.  Ed bailed out the dinghy while I stood by with the flashlight, wearing only a look of admiration.
    The next day we were almost back to Cohasset when our engine quit outside of Scituate Harbor.  Ed worked over it until the sun went down and it grew cold.  He always considers it a personal affront when anything goes wrong with his boat, and rescue by the Coast Guard is a fate worse than drowning—but this was a crisis.   Reluctantly, Ed sent up flares. 
     While the Coast Guard was towing us in, Ed gave me my orders.  "The minute we get to the dock, you run into town and find a taxi.  I'll try to brush these fellows off as quickly as possible.  They'll want to make a big thing of it and have pictures in the paper‑‑"
     "Pictures!" I thought, whipping out my mirror and comb.
     "—but there won't be any publicity if I can help it," Ed concluded firmly.
     When we reached the dock I scrambled up the ladder, bundled to the ears in Ed's big windbreaker, and went in search of a taxi.  The Coast Guard, noting my disguise and Ed's evasiveness when they questioned him, put two and two together.
    "Oh, we understand perfectly, sir," one said with a leer.  "Yes, sir, we'll see that there's absolutely no publicity."  They clapped him on the back, winked and would no doubt pin a medal on his chest if they had one handy.   For the next two weeks Ed swaggered.    
November 19, 1954 
      If a flying saucer were to land in Sandy Cove tomorrow, swarming with fierce little outer-space beings, I wouldn’t twitch an eyelash. They couldn’t possibly be as fantastic, fiendish, and fearsome as the dozen demons three and a half feet high who invaded our home yesterday.
     The occasion was Timmy’s eighth birthday. At noon I drove to his school to pick up his guests—five girls and seven boys, leaving out Timmy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave out Timmy. When I opened the classroom door, he asked the teacher if he could make an announcement.
     “Will all the children who are coming to my party please line up behind my mother,” he said, blushing.
     I was blushing, too, partly because of the novel experience of being lined up behind, partly because of the glum expressions shared by the twenty uninvited.  Diana Remick looked the glummest.
     “Timmy,” I whispered, as he came to the head of the line, “didn’t you invite Diana?”
     “No,” he said, looking surprised. “I hate her.”
     “Shh! Well, you’ve got to invite her. You went to her party—“
     “—and she kicked me, remember?”
     “—and besides, her mother is one of my best friends, I said firmly, beckoning Diana.
     “When we get home, call your mother and tell her to bring my present,” Timmy ordered.
     After five minutes of Diana, I was ready to call Dottie and tell her never mind the present, just come and get her daughter. Timmy is an excellent judge of character. She wanted to open all his presents. She called him selfish because he wouldn’t let her play with them the minute the wrappings were off. When I tried to take pictures of Timmy opening his gifts, she kept jumping in front of the camera.
     The party was scarcely under way when I heard sobs, and there stood Diana, tugging at my skirt.
     “Mrs. Malley,” she wept, “Timmy knocked me down!”
     “Timmy, did you knock Diana down?”
     “She grabbed my new football and wouldn’t give it back.”
     “Oh,” I said. “Well . . . that’s too bad, Diana. Timmy, you shouldn’t knock your guests down no matter what they do.”
     Diana, great tears still brimming in her eyes, tugged at me again. “Could I call my mother, Mrs. Malley? I want her to come and get me.”
     So do I, I thought. But I managed to sidetrack her by bringing on the ice-cream and cake.
    After the children had tired of throwing the refreshments around the playroom, we played Truth or Consequences. That is, I played Truth or Consequences with one little monster at a time. Those who were not “it” relieved their boredom by racing through the house, screaming as if it were on fire. Timmy, I must admit, was the ringleader. After I sent him to his room, the uproar was only half as bad.
     When the party was over at last, I said, Never Again. The phrase rang a bell, and I wondered where I had heard it before. Could it have been on the eighteenth of November 1953?
April 30, 1955
Fort Lauderdale
    After I contacted Darrell McClure, who had written that he'd be in Fort Lauderdale this month and would like to say hello,  there was a lot of speculation among us as to what he looked like.  Every time I saw a tall lanky man with a mustache and not much chin, I would nudge the kids and say, “There he is!”  Surely he would resemble his Yachting cartoon character, Cautious Conrad.  At a restaurant, Kathie put a penny in the “Ask the Swami” machine and asked, “Will Darrell McClure look the way we think he’s going to?”  The cagey answer: “You’ll know in a few days.”
     So in a few days it was six p.m. and Darrell was due to arrive any minute.  Kathie had just washed her hair, and I was putting it up with what seemed to me commendable calm. 
     “Down girl, easy girl!” Kathie said.  “What are you so excited about, anyway?  He’s just a man.” 
     “Excited?  Who’s excited?"
     I could hear Ed introducing himself in the living room.  Taking a deep breath, I swept in, holding out both hands.
     “Darrell’s over there,” Ed said. 
     “Oh—Darrell?” I said, turning to a tall, fine-looking gentleman with a mustache and more chin than I’d hoped for in my wildest dreams.            
     “No!  Can this be Barbara?   You’re everything I expected!”
     Ed sat down and picked up a magazine.  According to Teddy, who was watching this historic meeting with his mouth open, I coyly wiggled my fanny and said in a simpering falsetto (if you can believe Teddy), “Oh thank you, Darrell, you’re so kind!”
     When we went out for dinner, Darrell devoted himself exclusively to me.  I tried, I truly did, to bring Ed into the conversation, but he was busy devoting himself exclusively to too many martinis.  We’re all going fishing tomorrow . . .             
August 6, 1955, Cohasset to Gloucester and back
      Left Cohasset 10:45 with Alden and Florence Pinkham, Kathie and her friend Debbie Rohde. As usual, it was flat out all week, but come the weekend, the ocean had turned chunky; we must all take a Dramamine, I announced, unless we enjoyed being seasick.
     Arrived Gloucester 1:30. Florence fixed a snack of sardines and crackers and cheese. Ed almost got away with that second gin and tonic, but I reminded him he’d taken the pledge (not to live it up more than once a day). Or as the man said: “It was 8 a.m., too early for breakfast, so we had to drink on an empty stomach.”
     I heated Franco-American spaghetti for Kathie and Debbie with a side of boned chicken, which soon became chicken-of-the-sea because they didn’t like that icky jelly stuff.
     Arrived Scituate Harbor 5:45. Dropped the girls off and gave them taxi money so they could go exploring.  Florence’s son Warren and daughter-in-law Vi joined us for Happy Hour. We brought our BYOB ashore, had a fine dinner at the Yacht Club. Started home at 10:30 -- one engine on the blink.
     “That’s why I like two engines,” declared our captain.. 
August 9, 1955, Cohasset to Draggers
     A beautiful day for Kathie’s long-planned, oft-postponed outing for her friends. The busted engine was repaired just in time, and Hurricane Connie is prolonging her vacation in Florida, so here we are, rolling along in the forecast's gentle and variable breezes.
     Recalling last summer’s ashy-pale young faces, I insisted that the gang line up for Dramamine. There were familiar cries of, “Oh, I never get seasick!” but the first mate pushed a pill into each and every sailor. The crew: Kathie, Stephanie Tashjean, Susans Churchill and Davis, Debbie Rohde, Priscilla Lincoln, Mary Humphreys, Judy Merritt, Margo Wilcox--and The Boys: Bobby Bailey, Don Damon, Jack Bursk, Roy MacDonald, and Jack’s friend Burt Urlick.
     Caught loads of trawler fish with a dip net -- not the kind you’d want in your chowder or even your garbage pail. The sharks seemed to feel the same way about them. For excitement, the kids played Flying Fish: all it takes is a good throwing arm, a dip net, and a plentiful supply of dead fish. 
August 16, 1955, Cohasset to Provincetown and back
     Ed took the day off and persuaded Wes Marsh to do the same. (This was like persuading Minxi, our Cocker Spaniel, to eat Filet Mignon).  Arose at 5:15, met the Marshes at the Yacht Club at 6:00, chugged out of the misted harbor along with other early birds—Cohasset’s lobster fleet.
     The old myth about school tuna in Provincetown has been circulating again, so we set out with our customary high hopes and zero expectations, arriving at Race Point three hours later. While we were cruising around in search of the mythical fish, the starboard motor stalled. Ed and Wes worked on it for an hour and a half but got no response. This would have been a good day to go to the movies.
     Had beer and snack, started limping home around 2:00 p.m. Saw shark, missed shark. Saw more sharks, missed more sharks. Finally Ed harpooned one through a fin, and the shark took off, pole and all. Ed pulled the line in gently, at first met resistance, then it came easily and we knew we’d lost him. Also lost metal end of pole, which put an end to further attempts. The sharks seemed to sense they were safe, because we were soon surrounded by them.
     Lost our bearings in all the excitement. Ed tinkered with the RDF, but it was Wes who finally sighted the Light Ship with his trusty naked eye. About the same time we saw a tremendous aircraft carrier steaming along, apparently from the port of Cohasset, which seemed highly unlikely. I won’t believe we’re really found until I see Minot’s Light dead ahead.
     Saw Minot’s Light dead ahead.
August 21, 1955, Cohasset to Sharks
      If seagulls were sharks, what a fisherman Ray Remick would be. He was getting over-eager, though, when he saw that sinister triangular-shaped beer can. This was after he’d had a number of opportunities, both with the harpoon and rod and reel. It’s a funny thing, I told him, Bob Whitcomb didn’t have a bit of trouble catching his shark. Ray said he heard a phone ringing and it was for me.
     Also along on Our Most Unsuccessful Shark-Fishing Trip were Dottie Remick, Frank Massa, Kathie and Teddy. Teddy had a shark on the line for several exciting minutes but lost him. Dottie and I had more fun than anyone, reading our books.
August 22, 1955, Cohasset to Sharks
      Lois and Larry Hyde from Detroit are our guests on this beautiful August Monday. Ed has guaranteed to get his Important Business Contact a shark on rod and reel, with a harpoon, or at least with a movie camera.
     Before tackling the sharks, we devoured cold boiled lobsters. Lois told us it was impossible to get fresh fish of any kind in Detroit. Once she planned to have boiled salmon on the 4th of July, and the clerk pointed to the market’s canned goods section.
     “But I want fresh salmon,” she said.       
     “Lady,” he said, “it only comes in cans.”
     We met some good-natured fishermen on one of the draggers. They told us to come alongside and they would give us some bait. In return, we offered them six cans of cold beer that they accepted without resistance. They dumped an entire pail-full of fish into our net--including a couple of fine haddock, all cleaned and ready for the pot.
     This was not a lucky day unless you consider it from the sharks’ point of view. We did see a couple, dragged our bait in front of their noses, but they were uninterested. At least we shall have a tasty haddock chowder as a consolation prize.
August 26, 1955, Cohasset to Provincetown
     ALONE AT LAST!!!!!!!! I love my kids, but oh, their father! He’s down in the galley right now making things shipshape after a cow-steak dinner--Mr. Butcher, how could you? We spent Happy Hour trying to think up titles for the Springmaid Sheet contest. “Plenty of Elbow Room on a Springmaid Sheet.” “Men Seldom Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses--Even on a Springmaid Sheet.”
August 27, 1955, Provincetown
     The Provincetown jinx is thwarting us again. Woke up to find rain beating down after the weatherman had promised fair and warmer. Took movies of Ed swimming in the rain and bleating about how cold it was. Then I stood on the ladder, waiting to have my picture taken (Ed always says Gee, honey, there wasn’t much of you in that reel) and finally had to suggest it pointblank. I said if Marilyn Monroe were aboard, he wouldn’t need to be reminded to get out the camera. His rejoinder about what he'd get out is too vulgar to report in the Log.

CAPTAIN AND STILL PHOTO OF FIRST MATE
     Had sausage, beans, applesauce, and coffee cake having agreed to breakfast heartily and skip lunch. I spent the morning struggling with a letter to Darrell McClure -- the man is one slave driver of a correspondent, barely giving me a chance to recover from writer’s cramp before he shoots back another letter, sometimes two in a row. I tear my hair, trying to think of some amusing episode to tell him about, but it seems as if I shot my bolt in my earlier letters. The first one, saved from a penciled draft, was written last fall:  
October 11, 1954
Dear Mr. McClure;
     I am writing to ask a favor.  My husband, Ed, has been subscribing to Yachting magazine for many years and is an admirer of your cartoons.  He even reads Little Annie Rooney.  When I was recently trying to think of a Christmas gift for the man who has everything nautical, it occurred to me that you might consider drawing a personalized sketch for him. Certainly nothing would please him more.  I realize the enclosed check isn’t much for a man of your reputation, but it’s all my bank account can spare.
     If you accept, the following may help you find an appropriate theme:
     What Captain Malley really needs for Christmas is a gift certificate to a psychiatrist’s office.
He is a rabid perfectionist about everything pertaining to our Matthews, but when it comes to extracting a few dollars for household repairs,  I might as well ask him for one of his eyes.
     Consider the matter of the bathroom linoleum, stained and faded and so cracked the rugs had humps in them.
     "New linoleum!" sobbed my husband.  "I bought you new linoleum 10 years ago!"
      A few days later, however, Ed breezed into the house with a box full of linoleum samples and said cheerfully, "Pick a color!"
      "Is this a game?" I asked
      "No," he said, looking surprised.  "We need new linoleum.  You know better than I about things like colors."
     Hastily, before he could change his mind, I chose a practical bathroom design.
     Ed was shocked.  "That one!  On a boat?"
     There followed a brisk exchange of opinions.  Don't misunderstand me, Mr. McClure;  my husband and I have no differences that couldn't be settled by the Supreme Court.  This time we compromised:  new linoleum was installed throughout the Happy Days; she was freshly painted inside and out; new curtains and slipcovers were ordered for her.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the bathroom was resplendent in black marbleized linoleum.
     According to Ed, most of his extravagances (he calls them "investments") have been in the interest of safety.  Inclined to be safety‑conscious since our first boat sank under us, he is determined to be prepared for any contingency except bankruptcy.  Since we have been unable to find anyone with enough derring‑do to buy what's left of the sunken craft, we are the  only folks in town who own, not one, but two boats we can't afford.  Without blinking an eyelash Ed will dash off checks for such things as a ship‑to‑shore telephone, built‑in CO2 system,  or automatic pilot. But mention a new lampshade or shoes for the kiddies and he clutches his heart, or his wallet.
     In spite of my complaints, however, there isn't a boat in the world I'd rather have.  I'd even settle for the same captain.                          
Old Saybrook, Conn.
October 28, 1954
From Darrell
     Yes, lady, I'll draw up a sketch for you and tear up your check. Your letter is sufficient payment.  I'm sending it to the brains at Yachting to see if it can be used as material in some fashion. 
                        
     Finally, glassy-eyed, I finish my latest letter to Darrell and find it has cleared outside. Ed had gone below to take a nap but I roused him and said come on, fella, let’s live a little. Went ashore, hired bicycles, cycled to tennis courts to see how wet they were and made a reservation for tomorrow.
     Back to the Happy Days for a nap, a swim to wake us up, a cocktail.
     Gene Krupa was starring at the Atlantic House—a special show for teenagers 5-8 p.m. Figuring we qualified, we dropped in at 7:00 to listen to the Old Master. My feelings were hurt when we ordered daiquiris and no one asked to see my birth certificate. Krupa is a good-looking, clean-cut type in spite of the wild life they say he leads. Ed was impressed with the saxophone player. He said no one ever explained to him about harmony when he was a kid playing alto-sax, so he couldn’t understand why he was not supposed to play the melody. “They’d tell me to go boop-boop every now and then, only I never went boop-boop in the right places. Used to drive the conductor crazy trying to figure out who was out of sync.”
March 25, 1955    
     Minxi is in an interesting condition ‑‑ at least all the dogs from here to Quincy seem to think so. I got home from the market to find seven of them in the house. They were leaping and slithering after Minxi, my ladylike mother was lunging after the dogs, and the children were bringing up the rear with shouts of glee or distress, depending on how they looked at it.  Vaughan did her best to help by standing at the front door and saying Shoo!
August 27, 1955 Fair but windy.  Played tennis at Tennis and Yacht Club from 10:00 to 11::30.  Ed won 7-5, 6-4, but I didn't make it easy for him.  According to him, all my best shots were off the handle, held in my the wind, helped over by the wind, etc.
August 27, 1955  
     Talked Ed into buying me some Lasanga for lunch at the Town House.  Have always wanted to try it; between us we finished one order.  Decided we'd better scoot for home since small craft warnings were up. Left at 2:00.  Extremely rough and windy, waves breaking over the flying bridge and us. Steady sail helped prevent rolling. 
September 2, 1956 Cohasset to Cuttyhunk    Marion said:  "I'll bet Wes and I are going to have more fun on this trip than we've ever had -- and we've had a lot of fun."
     That's what's great about the Marshes; they're so enthusiastic about cruising.  We left Cohasset at 2:10 p.m., two hours behind schedule.  (The Big Boston Tycoon had to catch up on things at the office after a two-day trip to Detroit.)  Our ultimate destination was Martha's Vineyard, but we decided to make a stop along the way at Cuttyhunk.   
     At 8:40 we are approaching Cuttyhunk.  It's a beautiful night, the moon is full, but Marion and I are not, with the dinner hour so late.  We are thirsty, but after toying with the idea of stirring up some Martinis in the cocktail saucepan, we have decided to be strong and wait for the boys.

September 3, 1956
     Breakfast consisted of pre-cooked sausages and Marion's scrambled eggs country style (stir them once, then let them shift for themselves). I found some notes I had recorded last night for the Log. One said simply and starkly “brine.” We were hilarious last night about the business of the brine, but now it's a bore. Wes was trying to dig out an olive and to expedite matters, dumped the brine into the nearest jug. The jug was full of Martinis. They were so salty it seemed likely we would go out of our heads and jump overboard if we drank too many of them. Ed made a fresh supply.

     Ed also made a few notes. They are undecipherable.
     We spent six hours cruising around looking for swordfish. Wes spotted a rusty can, a keg, a tree stump. We saw three sharks and three sharks saw us. Ed, then Marion and Wes, claimed on separate occasions to have seen a large fish leap out of the water and fall back in a shower of spray. Our playful prey loves to tease us.
     Had highballs, went ashore at seven to find a place to eat. Our Cruising Guide recommended three hotel dining rooms: the Bosworth House, the Poplars, and the Avalon Club. On the dock we ran into our friends of last night, and Dottie said she thought we wouldn’t care for the Poplars’ atmosphere. The Bosworth House was the next nearest place, but we found they served only their guests. We walked along the shore road, accompanied by an army of mosquitoes, until at last we reached the Avalon Club. We were delighted to see an unusual bar made of a dory cut in half, not so much because it was unusual but because it was a bar. The owner, an attractive blonde, confessed they had no liquor license and guests were supposed to bring their own. But, she added, she could “give” us a drink. You could hear the quotation marks when she said this. 
     Had three broiled lobsters, and guess who had steak? Everything was superb.
September 4, 1955, Cuttyhunk to Edgartown
     Spent most of the day looking for fish. Our only satisfaction:  of the dozens of other sports-fishermen prowling around, none of them seemed to be doing any better. Ed said if it remained calm we would go to Edgartown Harbor instead of returning to Cuttyhunk.
     Edgartown is where Ed and Alden originally picked up the Happy Days. I have always wanted to pay a visit, chiefly because of Ed’s description of the cherrystones you can slurp up standing on the dock.
     The fishing shack where you buy the cherrystones was closed, so we went to a cafe and had two orders apiece with our cocktails. Decided the menu looked appealing, stayed on for dinner. I called home to find out how Kathie made out yesterday at the English riding event at Hatherly Country Club.  Some of her Cohasset friends have been snooty about Kathie’s fondness for Western riding, claiming disdainfully anyone can win ribbons that way, but it took real talent to be a good English rider.
     She decided to take some lessons on the QT (“Heels down, toes out, hands together--how am I going to remember all that nonsense!”) and find out how she would do in competition. She won $9.00, a bridle, and three ribbons.
     At the time I telephoned there was a jitterbug party going on, so I soon got a polite brush-off with “Anything else, Mom? I’ve got to go now.”
     After dinner Ed and I went for a walk and tried to get “lost.” Found a romantic spot on a moonlit beach, but hardly had we said “Alone at last!” when we heard familiar voices coming our way. That old bloodhound Wes had tracked us down.
September 5, 1955, Edgartown to Cohasset
     A beautiful, warm Labor Day, but strong southeast winds had sprung up, so Ed got itchy to head for home. When we stopped for gas, Marion and I walked the half-mile to the village to stock up on magazines, newspapers, books--also two jackknives Marion had promised the Little Kids. Speaking of the Little Kids, Ed promises we'll take them to Provincetown sometime this month.
     Got to canal around 1:00 p.m., left it shortly after two, put up steady sail, as wind was now hitting us broadside. Had lunch of corned beef sandwiches with Bermuda onion during calm period in canal. (“How can I diet!” Ed complained for the record.)
September 9, 1955, Cohasset to Provincetown
     Big treat for the Little Kids: their first overnight trip on the Happy Days. Left dock and $9.00 worth of charts (How the Captain cussed about that!) at around 5:20. As we passed Minot’s Light, Ed slowed down to haul the dinghy into the cockpit because it was proving too rough to tow it.
     “Are we in Provincetown already?” Timmy asked.
     Passed out the Dramamine, but Timmy nevertheless looked wan when we finally dropped the anchor at 8:45. For dinner I pan-broiled a couple of whopping tenderloins with onions, plus baked potatoes, and asparagus--a feast for everyone except poor Tim, who still felt queasy.
September 10, 1955, Provincetown
     We had planned to bring Grandpa and Tina out fishing for the day, but it was so rough and windy, we had all we could do to get ashore in the dinghy. Met folks at town landing at 9:15, joined them while they had breakfast at the Coffee Shop, decided to spend the day at Orleans. On the way, Grandpa took several side tours, including the dunes at Truro where Ed demonstrated his fitness by racing the children up the steepest dune -- and winning. Tina and I demonstrated our good sense by sitting on a rock below.
     Stopped for lunch outside Orleans, much to Ed’s disapproval. “Eating is just a silly habit,” he said. Grandpa and Vonnie ordered steamed clams, Tina the Club Hamburger, fried clam roll for Tim, and a half pint of fried clams for me.
     “I’ll just have a chocolate frappe,” Ed said. Then he poached on all our plates -- his way of going without lunch. Timmy didn’t like the fried clams, they had black stuff in them. What he intended to order was steamed clams.
     The folks dropped Ed and me at the local tennis court for an hour. Meanwhile the grandparents bought kites for the children, and we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to launch them from Grandpa and Tina’s yard overlooking Pleasant Bay. Vonnie’s was the first to stay aloft, but Timmy’s had a tendency to Kamikaze north, south, east and west. By the time Ed got the right amount of bow and length of string, Tim and Vonnie had wandered off to the frog pond, leaving Grandpa and Daddy playing with the kites.
     The children returned covered with mud. I gave them a good scrubbing in the second-floor tub and took a bath myself. We all drove back to Provincetown, planning to change into our good clothes on the boat and have dinner ashore. It was still choppy in the harbor, so we decided the children would have to eat in their dirty clothes rather than risk the trip in the dinghy. Leaving them on the dock, Ed and I chugged away from them but hadn’t gone far when I decided I’d just as soon stay in my dirty clothes, too. He brought me back to the dock.
     I had a small adventure while Ed returneded to the Happy Days to change into his good clothes.  A young man looked at me and said, “May I ask you a personal question? Thinking he was going to say, “Can those two great big children possibly be yours?” to which I would reply -- well, anyway, he just wanted to know if I wasn’t freezing to death.
     I gave him a cold stare, suddenly remembering the newspaper account of an escaped maniac pushing a girl off a cliff, and began edging away from him. He grabbed my arm and mumbled something about going someplace where it was warm. Then the young man’s friend came along, took his arm, and departed, leaving me with a True Story for the Log.
     We had a fine dinner at the Towne House. Timmy, true to form, longed for everything on the table except what he had ordered. In fact, Grandpa became so discouraged because the children acted like children, I heard him mutter to himself, “Well, they’re well-adjusted, anyway.”
     This reminded me of my old nursemaid, Catherine Minton, who commented about Vonnie during a visit: “My, what an energetic child! Energy enough to tear the house down!” I related this memory to the family.
     “Why did she say that?” Vonnie asked. “All the old ladies I know are cuckoo!” Then she looked at Tina patted her hand, and added, “but you’re not cuckoo, Tina.”
     “Gee, thanks,” said Tina, who is still a long way from being an old lady.      
     There was a bowling alley across from the Towne House and Timmy talked us into going in.  Grandpa and I preferred to watch while the others bowled. Vonnie finally got a strike, which started what Vonnie called an argument between her father and me. Actually, it was only a discussion, and I had to raise my voice was because Ed was talking so loudly. I thought he had failed to give her enough score, and he said I ought to realize he knew something about keeping score after all the years he had been bowling. To settle it, we called over the manager, but these men always stick together.
     We walked down to the dock to see if the wind had died down. It was wilder than ever, so we accepted Grandpa and Tina’s invitation to spend the night in Orleans. Ed offered to drive. When we reached a certain stretch in the road, Grandpa warned him to take it easy; there was a trap coming up.
     “I think it’s too late,” said Ed. “A car’s been trailing us for half a mile now.”
     We all looked straight ahead because if it was a police car, we wouldn’t want the officer to think we had guilty consciences by turning around to look. Before I could stop her, Vonnie stuck her head out the window, and immediately the siren sounded.
     “Well, I was hot!” Vonnie protested.
     Ed got a ticket, being charged with driving 50 in a 40-mile zone and 60 in a 45-mile zone. When we stopped at the drug store to buy toothbrushes, a couple approached and asked if we’d been stopped by the police. The man said Ed was not speeding, it was picayune of the officer to stop him, and he was willing to testify in court to that effect. It was kind of him, but Ed didn’t want to put him to that much trouble.
September 11, 1955, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Ed clobbered me at tennis again this morning. Then we read the Sunday papers with Grandpa and Tina while the children collected a cricket, an inchworm, and a frog. The 12:20 weather forecast indicated that a storm was slowly heading north from Cape Hatteras, but we could count on fair weather for a few hours. It looked as if we’d better take advantage of this before we were marooned in Orleans with the folks. Not that we weren’t welcome.  Grandpa kept saying, “Hurry up kids, we’d better get going!” only because he was afraid he’d get too attached to us.
     Vonnie was unhappy on the drive back to Provincetown because Timmy had a frog and all she had was an inchworm.
     The harbor had flattened out enough so that the four of us were able to pile into the dinghy without mishap.  I was taking movies of Grandpa and Tina waving goodbye when Ed snapped the starting cord of the outboard and knocked the camera out of my hand. It just missed going over the side, landing instead on Vonnie’s knee, which we all deemed fortunate except Vonnie.  Gave children their supper en route, arrived Cohasset 6 p.m.
THEY WERE VERY GOOD CHILDREN!

(2) THOSE KIDS OF YOURS ARE GOING TO DRIVE ME OUT OF MY MIND!

February 12, 1956
Fort Lauderdale, Florida


     We are enjoying our vacation with Ed’s dad and stepmother—although Tina and I occasionally have Trouble in the Kitchen. She doesn’t read instructions, she does things backwards, but her meals are out of this world. One night I insisted on getting dinner by myself—I wanted to try the Seven-Heat Economy Cooker that came with our new home's stove—and burned the potatoes. Tina and Ed kept assuring me they were tastier that way, (“Just like campfire potatoes,” said Tina), but Grandpa, unaware that I had taken over the cooking, wanted to know what the hell happened to the potatoes.   
     Tina keeps putting the table butter in the refrigerator. I keep switching it to the cupboard because I dislike mutilating my toast when I spread it. Yesterday I left the butter dish on the hot stove and it runneth over. I also cremated the toast, which wouldn’t have happened if Tina hadn’t confused me by changing the toaster’s dial. Fortunately, the folks weren’t up yet. It took me half an hour to eliminate all traces of disaster, but it was worth it. Never let it be said that Ed is dieting in self-defense.
     Ed and his dad don’t see eye to eye on things, either. In fact, if one discovers he’s agreeing with the other, he switches sides. The trouble is, they’re both bossy. Or to put it another way, they’re both leaders. (That’s the way Ed puts it.) Grandpa has a habit of treating Ed as if he were still his little boy instead of a grown man who has a license and hangovers—the stubborn kid just won’t mind!
     “When’re ya going to get a haircut, for crying out loud!” yells Grandpa.
     “Haircut? How’m I gonna wear a ponytail if I get a haircut!” yells Ed.
     The sale-priced washing machine arrived from Sears, Roebuck yesterday. The four of us spent an hour standing around in the kitchen arguing over how to run it. Tina had one like it once, so she thought she knew everything.
     “But Tina,” I said, “it says in the book not to put the clothes in until the tub is full of water.”
     “Oh, never mind the book!” she says. (She has the same attitude about everything else, including the pressure cooker. “Tina, the book says when it hisses like that, there’s something wrong.” “Oh, never mind the book,” she says.)
     The washing machine has a wonderful invention attached to it called a wringer. You push a button and the dirty water pumps out of the tub and into the sink. You feed the clothes through the wringer, keeping in mind its propensity to bite the hand that feeds it. Then you go out in the yard, where the sun is shining and a breeze is blowing, and you dreamily hang up the clothes, feeling like a pioneer woman.
     After you’ve hung them up, you take them down again because you remember you forgot to rinse them.  Never mind, it will be fun matching wits with the wringer again.
February 26, 1956                                                                               
Cohasset
     This morning I could feel a bad mood coming on. As my dear ones will testify, when I get in a bad mood I should be put in a padded cell for the duration. Recently, a more practical solution turned up in the form of some little pills recommended by Ed’s company doctor. He claimed they were helpful in relieving tension.
     Ed brought home a handful last month, and when my nerves began to jangle, I started taking two a day. It may have been the power of suggestion, but they seemed to work. I became so gentle and patient with my children, they asked me what was the matter. My attitude toward Ed was one of such loving understanding, an outsider wouldn’t have believed we were married. I faced the usual daily emergencies with good humor. To show his appreciation, Ed gave me a corsage of camellias on Valentine’s Day. Instead of wanting to know what he’d been up to now, I thanked him. There was no getting around it, I was much nicer than I really am.
     But now I lay in bed thinking black thoughts and refusing to resort to the Disposition Pills. Maybe they were habit-forming. It would be a terrible thing if I couldn’t be agreeable without taking a pill first.
     All I needed was a little sleep.
     I envied Ed the way he could sleep. The way he could sleep when I couldn’t was grounds for divorce. I remembered my mother telling me that Dad sensed it when she had insomnia, no matter how careful she was not to disturb him. “What’s the matter, honey bun? I can hear you thinking,” he would say sympathetically.
     When I have insomnia I could use a little husbandly sympathy myself. To make it easy for him, I didn’t even try to be quiet last night.
     “Ho-hum,” I said when the town clock struck 2:00. I upheaved my blankets and rolled over with a thump, hitting my head on the bookcase headboard. The door rattled along its track like the Toonerville trolley. Not a sound from Ed.
     “Ouch!” I said lonesomely.
     There was a soft snore from the bed next to mine, followed by a breezy sigh. He must be dreaming it’s his birthday and he’s blowing out the candles, I thought. Snore, puff, snore , puff, snore, puff.
     I turned on the light and shone it on Ed’s face to see if he was just pretending. Snore, puff. I read a few more chapters of Marjorie Morningstar. I reached the point where Marjorie was on the brink of an exciting career and losing her virginity. She was twenty-one. At twenty-one, where had I been? Out in the laundry, washing diapers for his children. What had my life been since then? More children and more diapers, and anyone who calls that an exciting career is a man.
     I dropped Marjorie Morningstar on the floor and switched out the light. My exciting career was dreaming about girls. Sigh, wolf whistle, sigh, wolf whistle. I stabbed him in the back with my forefinger.
     “Humph, flumph, hunh? Wassa matter, cancha sleep?”
     “Aren’t you the perceptive one! I haven’t closed an eye for hours, if you’re really interested.”
     “Z Z Z Z.”
     I look forward to sleeping late Sunday morning while the children get ready for Sunday School. This morning I wearily focused one eye on the clock and tried to make out the time without waking up. I heard Kathryn call from the foot of the stairs that it was after 8:30 and breakfast was nearly ready. If Vonnie would remember to rouse Teddy from his ivory tower on the third floor, I could go back to sleep.
     The harrowing thing is, sometimes she remembers and sometimes she doesn’t. Remembering is only half the battle. Ted is like his father; he can sleep through anything, especially the hour before Sunday school. On Saturdays he’s up and dressed with no prodding; basketball practice starts at nine.
     I dragged myself from bed and called up to the third floor. “Teddy, are you up?”
     “Yeh,” came the sleepy answer.
     “Well, come down and get dressed right away or you’ll be late for Sunday school. Don’t forget to make your bed.”
     I closed the windows and crawled back into bed. I waited for the sound of bare feet pounding down the stairs. Ten minutes later I got up and called him again.
     “Yah, yah, I’m coming. You want me to make my bed, don’t you?”
     “Well, not from scratch, Teddy.”
     Back to bed. Bare feet pounded down the stairs and into Timmy’s room, where the boys share a closet.
     As time went by, I knew I’d better check on their progress. I rapped on the door and looked in. Timmy, in his underpants, was in the midst of a flying tackle.
     I blew my top. “Okay, you two, if you’re not ready to go downstairs in five minutes—teeth brushed, beds made, hair combed, faces washed—you’re both going to bed early tonight.”
     “Don’t we have to get dressed?” Timmy asked.
     “I mean it, now! I’m sick and tired of going through this same nonsense week after week, two big boys like you, what are you, babies? Well, if you’re babies, you can go to bed early like babies. From now on, either you kids are ready for breakfast at nine o’clock every Sunday or you got to bed early. Is that clear?”
     As I stomped out of the room Teddy mumbled something and Timmy said loyally, “She is not!”
     “I’m ready, Mummy,” Vonnie called virtuously from the bathroom, where she was polishing her shoes.
     “Oh, goody for you!” said Teddy.
     “Vonnie!” I scolded. “That’s not the right polish, look at the mess you’re making, what are you doing with Daddy’s polish?”
     “I like to open the can.”
     “Honestly, Vonnie, what a mess. You’ve got little bits of polish all over the floor. You’re stepping on it! No, don’t use the good towel! Put the can away and use the shoe polish in the bottle and don’t spill it. Besides, why are you wearing your school shoes instead of your patent leathers?”
     “Because my patent leathers don’t need polishing,” Vonnie said with patient eleven-year-old logic.
     “Vonnie, some rainy day you can polish all the shoes in the house. Now go put on your patent leathers, Kathryn is calling you for breakfast.”
     “Hey, Mummy, I can’t find any socks,” Timmy said.
     “There must be some in the laundry room. Take your shoes and go downstairs before your breakfast gets cold.”
     “I’m having cold cereal,” said Timmy, always ready for an argument.
     “Get going!”
     Ed was awake when I returned to our room. “Honestly, those kids of yours are going to drive me out of my mind!” I said, glaring at him.
     “Why don’t you take a tranquilizer?”
     “Take a pill? It’s not me! It’s those kids! They’re irresponsible, inconsiderate, lazy, careless—“
     “Children.”
     I snatched open a bureau drawer and the handle fell off. “You see?”
     “Take a pill,” said Ed.
     Vonnie came in, carrying a pad of paper.
     “What now, Vonnie,” I sighed.
     “I want to show you the picture I drew of you. I think it’s the best picture I ever drew.”
     “Not now, go down and have your breakfast.”
     “It’ll only take a minute,” she said, leafing through the pages. “Here it is—oh no, that’s not it, I’ll find it in a minute.”
     “For heaven’s sake, Vonnie!”
     “Oh, here it is. It’s a picture of you. Isn’t it good?”
     “Very good. Now run along.”
     She gave me a hug and ran downstairs. I looked at the picture again. Under it she had printed: “My mother is a beautiful picture to me.”
     I put down the picture and went to the bathroom medicine cabinet. I took two tranquilizers.
     Breakfast might have been pleasant if I’d taken the pills sooner. I got our breakfast ready while Ed drove the children to Sunday school and picked up the papers. When he walked in, he threw his coat down on one of the dining room chairs.
     He does this every night of the week. When I’m not in a bad mood, my thought process is as follows: “The poor, tired boy. He works so hard at making a living for his family, he’s too exhausted to hang up his coat. What a privilege it is for me to hang it in the closet for him!” I put the coat away with a tender smile of understanding. (I know I’m sincere about this because I don’t wait for him to come downstairs and see how understanding I’m being.)
     When I’m in a bad mood, there’s nothing that irritates me more than this habit of throwing his coat on a chair. “For Pete’s sake,” I say to myself, “how am I supposed to train the children to be neat if their own father doesn’t set them a good example! Suppose we all threw our coats on a chair, wouldn’t the house look lovely. I’ll bet it takes him longer to walk into the dining room and drop his coat than it would to open the closet door and hang it up.
     This morning, while ostentatiously transferring Ed’s coat to the closet, I expressed these thoughts aloud. Ed looked surprised and promised to set a good example hereafter.
     Then there was the way he ate his grapefruit. Usually I don’t notice the way he eats his grapefruit because I’m busy tackling mine. But today I watched and listened with an air of distaste. Couldn’t he take a spoonful without that silly gasp? He went after it as if someone were going to steal it from him. After slurping up the last section, he squeezed the grapefruit over the bowl, which he raised to his lips, gulping the juice with the gusto of a parched water buffalo.
     “If you could see yourself!” I exploded. “Would you eat grapefruit that way if you were having breakfast with Marilyn Munroe?”
     Ed looked thoughtful. “No,” he said. “I’d have her feed it to me.”  
     This afternoon when I found smears of liquid shoe polish on the bathroom rug, I summoned Vonnie.
     “Look what you’ve done now!” I said.  “Didn’t I warn you not to spill it?  No more polishing shoes for you until you learn not to be so sloppy.”
     “I didn’t spill it.”
     I asked Timmy and Teddy if they had been using the polish.
     “Not me,” said Ted.
     “Me either,” said Timmy.
     “Well, Vonnie?  This rug didn’t get smeared by itself.”
     “I didn’t spill any, but—well—maybe it came off the bottom of my shoes.”
     “The bottom of your shoes?”
     “Yes,” she said, twisting one leg around the other.  “I polished the bottoms.”
     Who but Vonnie would be inspired to polish the soles of her shoes?  Wasn’t it Vonnie who chewed gum until her jaw got stuck and she had to go to the doctor?  Who sealed her lips with Scotch tape and then asked her father for a kiss?  And at the tense point in the movie when the villainess dove from the float to recover the knife from her victim’s back, wasn’t it Vonnie who exclaimed:  “She’s a good diver!”
     “You’re a character, Vonnie,” I said.  Then I remembered something.  I told her I loved her portrait of me, and I was going to have it framed.
June 29, 1956, Cohasset to Scituate Harbor
     Left Cohasset 6:45 PM.  On our way to Scituate to join Pinkhams, Ed discovered why the Loran wasn’t working—the two-position antenna switch (covering the Loran and the ship-to-shore phone) was on the ship-to-shore position. Wish all our problems could be as easily solved.
     Pinkhams came aboard around 8:30, suggested we go ashore for dinner.  The icebox being full of cold chicken and ham, I talked them into dining aboard on paper plates.  Ed and I had the chicken and ham, the Pinkhams the paper plates.  Ed, Flo and I read magazines until 10:30 while Alden slept like a non-insomniac.
June 30, 1956, Scituate Harbor to Onset
     All set to head for Syspican along with Seabird and several other Scituate boats--the first leg of a two-week cruise, which unfortunately we can be part of only this weekend. (Ed has to fly to Detroit on Monday.)  I would really like to go on this cruise, as I know I could count on Alden to provide plentiful material for the Log.
     He didn’t let me down this morning.  Called to us that something was wrong with one of his engines.  
     “Ed, go tie up at the dock and take the launch out and see if you can figure out what’s wrong,” Alden called.
     “You’ve got to have some breakfast first,“ I said.
     While Ed tied up to the dock, I hurried below and rustled up a nourishing meal of strawberry milk and stale coffeecake.
     “Okay dear, here you are,” I said a minute later, only to find I was talking to myself.  The Captain had departed without so much as a “see you later, alligator.”  He diagnosed Alden’s trouble as a carburetor plugged with dirt and phoned for Doug Morash’s assistance.  The real problem, Doug later found out, was a broken spring in the distributor or some such thing.  Six hours behind schedule,  Seabird II and the Happy Days left Scituate.
     Emerged from west end of canal after somewhat choppy trip to find weather definitely rough.  After pounding into it for a few minutes, consulted with Seabird I1 about turning into Onset instead of trying to make Syspican.  Alden was all for it, so shortly afterward we dropped the hook in Onset Harbor within hailing distance of each other.  Alden, Ed, and I had a swim followed by highballs and Delmonico steaks (provided by Pinkhams' guests, Ernie and Arlene Gavet) aboard Seabird.  Alden is an excellent chef.  We were especially intrigued with his method of preparing charcoal-blackened rolls.  “The browns are rolling,” he announced from the galley.  What he meant was, “The burns are rolling.”
July 1, 1956, Onset to Cohasset
     Alden, Florence, and guests set out for Cuttyhunk at 8:30 a.m., anxious to get across the bay before the weather worsened.  Ed and I went ashore for breakfast and Sunday papers, were not surprised to observe Seabird scooting back into Onset an hour later.  Small craft warnings were up, according to the weather report we had just heard.  Florence said the sea was far wilder than yesterday afternoon, when we abandoned the plan to go to Syspican.
     Ed and I left for Cohasset at noon.  Passed Alden fishing in channel, waved goodbye.  After we left east end of canal, winds very strong.  Blew ferociously the last hour.  Found our mooring occupied by a cruiser, one of whose gas tanks had burst and our mooring was the closest they could put her in a hurry.  Were guided to another mooring by Cliff Dixon, aided competently by volunteer Timmy.
July 3, 1956, Cohasset to Nantasket and back
     Impromptu decision to treat the kids to Nantasket fireworks display.  Brought irreplaceable helper Kathryn Kilpinen along, left harbor around 11:00 p.m., drew alongside fireworks tug off Nantasket shortly before midnight.  Finding way on this moonless night was no easy chore for the Skipper. Communicated with tug to find out if we were in their way, had it pointed out that hot ashes were liable to fall on us.  A minute later, the first rockets began shooting skyward, and as warned, Happy Days made a splendid target.  Ed turned on the motors and we retreated to a discreet distance—although the final spectacle gave us the sensation that the sky was splintering to pieces directly on top of us.  I missed most of this spectacle because my fingers kept obstructing my vision.
     Made hot soup for everyone; couldn’t fill Tim up.  (“I’m eating you out of house and yacht, Mummy,”said our ten-year-old)
     Arrived back at Yacht Club at 1:20 a.m. 
July 7, 1956, Cohasset to Gloucester
     The plan was to leave Cohasset yesterday at 4:00 p.m. but the weather being both foggy and windy, Captain Malley vetoed said plan in favor of leaving this morning.  The Brewers and Barnards arrived at the Yacht Club very much on time—highly irregular, and I might even say inconsiderate, as it made us appear to be later than we really were.  We all took a Dramamine except Whitey, who stuffily insisted it didn’t look very rough to him, and anyway he had a cast-iron stomach.
    In spite of the pill, I began to feel nauseated as soon as we passed Minot’s.  What particularly nauseated me was that Sally and Connie were not.  In an attempt to be sympathetic, Connie described to me a rough trip she once had on a Polish steamship whose unfortunate passengers were subjected to hearty Polish fare such as—well, I should have stopped her at that point.  The Borsch with Sour Cream sounded so offensive to my churning innards that I barely controlled an urge to smother Con-Con in sour cream and cornflakes.  Jackie Baby, up on the flying bridge with Ed, kept throwing up over the side but wouldn’t admit to seasickness.  Felt fine, he said.
     As for Whitey, the man with the cast-iron stomach, he confessed to losing quite a bit of shrapnel and wanly allowed that next time he would join us in the pill-taking ceremony.
      Connie brought nine pairs of shoes, which ought to see her nicely through the weekend.  It would see a centipede nicely through the weekend.
     Bill Brown picked us up at Eastern Point Yacht Club and chauffeured us to his home for a highball before the Club’s buffet luncheon.  After a yummy lunch—chop suey, corned beef, veal, ham, tuna salad, coleslaw, tomatoes, lemon sherbet—we girls took the launch out to Happy Days and snoozed in the sun in our bathing suits while the boys went to inspect Browns’ new boat.
     Couldn’t inspect Kirkfield without taking it out for a spin, of course.  Eventually Bill tied up alongside Happy Days, which gave the girls a chance to inspect the new boat.  Very lovely craft, with lots of room—36-foot cabin cruiser made by Sample.
     Changed into dress-up clothes (Con-Con’s was sensational, but she had a couple of big problems—finally covered them up with a little nosegay—went ashore to cocktail party in our honor at Browns.  When the party boiled down to a moveable number, we took off for the Lobster House.  Jane spent the dinner hour discussing politics with Jack and ministering to his poor sprained middle thumb.  This, of course, involved much holding of hands, and if I were Connie, I’d be plenty jealous.  In fact, I was plenty jealous anyway.
     Harbor very rough, so Ed taxied us to Happy Days in small groups, managing to deliver every one of us in prime condition.  No accidents, no bloopers at all so far this week, much to my regret: it makes for a very dull Log.    
July 8, 1956, Gloucester
     Arose at ninish this morning after a great deal of prodding by Whitey, who woke up with a two-by-four chip on his shoulder.  Talk about your Simon Legrees.  Sally and I finally managed to rustle up breakfast, but I don’t recall Whitey rustling up any thank-yous. 
     Played tennis for a couple of hours at Browns’ neighbors’ courts, back to Browns for liquid refreshment, back to Happy Days for a squabble over how to cook the steaks.  (Somebody failed to bring charcoal.)  Menu: Fried steak (“Ugh,” said Connie, who then proceeded to lick her platter clean and Jack Spratt’s, too), succotash, potato salad, sliced tomatoes, chocolate cake.  It was Connie’s sensible idea to get our main meal safely under our belts, leaving us free to entertain expected visitors.
     First to arrive was Nat Loud, accompanied by her two well-behaved children, John and Ann Adele.  Soon afterward Jack Loud joined us, then the Browns.  Little Ann Adele stood at my elbow while I fixed a snack for her and her brother and told me she loved our kitchen.
     “It is nice, isn’t it?” I agreed.  “But after this, dear, you must remember that on a boat you never call a kitchen a kitchen, you call it a head.”
     Jack Barnard overheard this conversation and practically fell up the gangway in his haste to repeat it to our guests.  And I thought lawyers were discreet!
     Around nine o’clock, Jane asked the Brewers if they’d like to sleep ashore.  Before she finished her sentence, Sally and Whitey had grabbed their toothbrushes and scrambled into the dinghy.  (You can divide our friends into two groups: those who enjoy roughing it and Sally and Whitey.)
     “Never mind, Connie,” I said—Connie was pouting because she thought the Brewers might have at least feigned reluctance to leave us—“ We can play bridge and have lots and lots of fun and hope they both have nightmares and fall out of their comfortable beds.”
July 9, 1956, Gloucester to Cohasset
     The Barnards and the Malleys played bridge until 1 a.m. last night and had a peachy time.  Poured rain during the night, drizzle and fog this morning.  Had planned to leave for Cohasset today (Monday), but it looks as though we are fog-bound.  Ed communicated with his office and said he might not get back till Wednesday or Thursday.  He relayed a similar message to Jack’s office while Jack was in at the dock getting rid of the Brewers and picking up the rubbish.  I mean, getting rid of the rubbish and picking up the Brewers.  Jack turned pale when Connie told him how Ed had fixed things for him at the office, but he shouldn’t have looked so worried.  Ed will help him find another job.
3:00 p.m.  After listening to the weather report at 12:20, the six of us had a conference and decided to make tracks for Cohasset.  The trip home was not nearly as rough as the trip over.  Weather here in Cohasset is “go-juss” as Sally would say.
Friday the 13th of July, 1956, Cohasset to Provincetown
     Our planned trip to Provincetown with Vonnie and Timmy was made doubtful by weatherman's forecast.  Suddenly at 8:00 p.m., just after dinner, Ed made up his mind to go, figuring that with Loran and all the other gadgets at his service, he wasn’t taking too much risk.
     Left Cohasset at nine, after hasty scramble to throw clothes for the four of us in a suitcase and a few provisions in our canvas bag.  All was well until we reached the tide rip off Provincetown. Meanwhile the wind had come up and it was raining intermittently.
     It took us more than an hour and a half of tortuous bumps and grinds to make our way to the Flagship’s white light that signifies a left turn into the harbor.  The children were patient and good, but poor Tim was ashen under his tan and confided that his stomach felt upside-down and inside-out.  As we swung toward the harbor, Ed turned both engines down to dead low, being anxious to avoid colliding with other boats in the dark.  One of the engines conked out, and Ed went down to investigate, leaving me alone on the flying bridge in charge of the Avoid Collisions detail.  It was drizzling and very dark out, except for occasional flashes of lightning.  Then the other engine conked out.  There was nothing for it but to throw over the anchor while Ed fussed over the engines at 1:30 a.m.  After he finally got them going again, we poked our way cautiously into the harbor and dropped the anchor close to a large black sloop.
     The wind grew progressively more violent until it seemed as if it must surely be of hurricane velocity.  The boat pitched about like a toy, and Ed and I were unable to sleep, having all we could do to keep from being flung from our bunks.  The children were so exhausted they slept through most of the gale.  We caged Vonnie in the upper bunk, using a screen devised by the former owners so their baby wouldn’t bounce out.  At 4:30 a.m. even Ed was almost convinced that we were in the midst of a hurricane and called the Boston Marine Operator for a report on the weather.   25-30 mph winds, they claimed, but later we learned there were gusts up to 56 mph.
Saturday, July 14, 1956, Provincetown
     Called Tina and Grandpa on ship-to-shore phone at 9:30.  “We’ll pick you up in an hour,” said Tina.  Ed and Vonnie had a swim, then Ed took us ashore--two trips because it was still plenty rough out.  He laboriously pulled the dinghy up on what used to be the Public Landing, chained the outboard motor to boat and dock.  A fisherman yelled down to him that he couldn’t park the dinghy there for long, it was now a private dock.  “That’s a helluva place to leave it anyway, when the tide comes in, it’ll be smashed to pieces.” 
     “You’re right,” Ed said amicably.  (He had pushed the dinghy half under the dock, and when the tide rose, it would have been squashed.)  Ed moved it over to the new Public Landing.    
     Meanwhile the fisherman, who had been expecting a lot of back talk, changed his tune and walked into town with us, chatting in the friendliest of manners.  Said he’d been coming to Provincetown for thirty-odd years and this was by far the worst summer he’d ever seen.  Advised Ed on how to handle the tide rip problem--either hug the shore or go way outside.
     Went to a restaurant for breakfast, had just ordered when Vonnie spied Tina and Grandpa driving by.  The kids hurtled out of the restaurant in hot pursuit of the folks, who parked the car and joined us.  After breakfast, drove to Orleans.  Ed and I had a nap while the kids went shopping with Tina and came back with all sorts of loot--a plastic raft, a sailboat (guaranteed to sail), and a wind-up speedboat.  Best of all, a haircut for Timmy, who was beginning to look like Hedy LaMarr.
     Had a swim in that warm Cape ocean. Vonnie pushed me around on the plastic raft, Tim’s sailboat capsized a couple of times (“Hey, Tina, take this back to the store, it’s guaranteed!”), Ed bailed out Grandpa’s boat.  The kids went off to explore the pond while the rest of us had highballs.  Tina broiled three enormous T-bone steaks for the six of us--first time I’ve ever seen Ed give up instead of gnawing the bone down to the bone.  Grandpa organized a game of Crazy Eights.  First, he got eliminated, then Tim, then Ed, leaving the smarter sex to fight to the finish.  I promptly was bagged and in the next hand, Tina went out first, making her the Grand Winner of ninety cents. 
Sunday, July 15, 1956, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Good night’s sleep in Orleans.  Lovely warm day.  Children had conned grandparents into letting them stay on until Monday, so on our way to PT, we dropped Tina and the kids at Nauset Light Beach.  Told Grandpa not to wait around to see us off, we might take a swim first, but nevertheless we could see him stationed at the end of the dock right up to the moment we finally steamed toward the mouth of the harbor.  We took our swim, left around 1 p.m.  Arrived Cohasset 4:45.  
Saturday, July 28, 1956, Cohasset to Scituate Harbor
     Left at 10:10 for a day’s sail with Vonnie, Timmy and Margo Whitcomb. Saw Ray Remick. Eastern Airlines pilot, fly over us at 11:35.  Cruised down toward North River, saw Pinkhams and friends aboard Seabird, tried to communicate via ship-to-ship phone, discovered we were not transmitting.  Had a game of Scrabble with magnetized set donated by Barnards.  Dropped anchor in Cohasset at 4:15.
Wednesday, August 1, 1956, Cohasset to Onset
     The Thaxters were already aboard when we arrived at the Yacht Club fifteen minutes late.  For a minute they had us worried--they had asked if it would be all right to bring Debbie along as far Onset where her grandparents would pick her up--but they hadn’t said a word about adding Jody and baby-sitter Anne to the passenger list.  I half expected to see their dog Panda and their five cats come bounding out of the stateroom.  However, when Ed started up the engines, Jayne handed Jody over to Anne and we all stood around waving bye-bye at each other.  Except Jody, who was torn between smiling and waving or kicking and screaming.
     Jayne foresightedly brought along a dozen comic books for Debbie to turn to in case the thrill of her first real ocean voyage were to pall.  The thrill palled so quickly the kid had her nose in a comic book before we even left the dock.  “Debbie, look at Minot’s Light, Debbie, see the big steamship, Debbie, there’s the Cape Cod Canal!”  To all of which Debbie replied dutifully, “Oh boy,” then it was back to Mighty Mouse.
     Arrived Onset around 8:30 p.m.  Debbie said goodbye and thank you for the boat ride, gathered up her comic books and started ashore with Blake in the dinghy.  Blake got the outboard going without any trouble at all, then yelled to Ed, “How do you shut this thing off?”  It’s lucky he thought to ask, or he and Debbie might have putted up over the dock and down Main Street until he ran out of gas.
     Ed took a swim, headed toward the dock to look for Blake.  Blake, meanwhile, returned to the boat to pick Jayne up so she could say hello and goodbye to her aunt and uncle who were with Debbie’s grandparents.  By the time the four of us sat down for Happy Hour, it was 9:30.  We put our feet up on the new hassock Jayne contributed to Happy Days and waited hungrily for our charcoal broiled steaks.  Half a Happy-Hour later, Ed asked Drake if he wanted another blink.  Without clinking an eye, Bwake clickly said yes.  They understood each other perfectly. There was too much steak for the four of us but we finished it anyway.
     After dinner Blake made Jayne a G and G (gin and grape juice).  Then we all went to bed and at 5:15, Ed and Blake got up.  The idea was, we’d get an early start before the wind came up, thus assuring ourselves of a comfortable cruise across Nantucket Sound.  The cruise was anything but comfortable.  As soon as we got into the Sound, the boat began to plunge and roll as gusts up to 30 mph kicked up the sea. 
     After an hour or so of alternately floating between the two bunks and being slammed back on the mattress, dodging flying toothpaste, soap, and spray leaking from bulkhead and portholes, I decided to check on Jayne and make sure she was equally miserable.  If conditions were different in her cabin, she was going to have to move over.  Blake’s porthole being open, his bunk was drenched.  Jayne was in the upper bunk, as miserable as I.  Getting dressed the next morning was so difficult it was impossible, so I curled up in my soaked bunk and spent another hour dodging spray and debris.  Jayne managed to get dressed, then catching sight of her ashen face in the mirror, stretched out on the divan in the saloon.  “Rock ‘n roll” is a term we’d rather not hear in the near future.
     We got into Nantucket around 10:00, stocked up on gas and water, were informed by the dock attendant that we were lucky to have made it, it was really rough outside.  Breakfast cheered us --bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee roll.  
    Went ashore to look the situation over--Jayne, Blake, and I laden with racquets, balls, cameras, towels, bathing suits, etc., while Captain Malley regally led the way, unburdened by such plebeian gear.  The Captain registered at the desk, ascertained that we could play tennis for free on one of the six courts connected to the Yacht Club, announced that in his opinion we should explore the town, take a swim, then play tennis.  In my opinion, his opinion was impractical and ill-considered, so I said to him, Listen Bub, you’re ashore now and here’s the program: we play tennis now.  It might rain or a meteor might damage the courts or we might lose our tennis racquets in the excitement of exploring Nantucket.
      “Aye-aye, sir,” said Ed, snapping to attention.
      “At ease,” I replied kindly, loading him with our plebeian gear.
     Jayne, Blake, and Ed had a snappy game of tennis while I watched the balls go by and strove to direct my serve into the postage stamp on the other side of the net.  After a few games I was wishing I had been more respectful of Captain Malley’s pronouncements.  At least I could have pleaded weariness for playing tennis like a three-year-old after we explored Nantucket.
     The Nantucket Yacht Club has one of the finest set-ups we have seen anywhere.  Besides being physically attractive with lovely landscaping and terraces adjoining a building typical of Nantucket (silver-gray weathered shingles), the Yacht Club offers numerous facilities to its guests: indoor badminton, ping pong, snack bar, real bar, weekly dining and dancing and tennis all day any day. 
     So far we have but one complaint about Nantucket: the young man who runs the launch service is a boor with a Hitler complex.  When Ed asked him why he couldn’t drop anchor close by the Yacht Club, he proclaimed, “Because you can’t, you just can't!”
     When the launch came to take us ashore, Ed said, “Okay everybody, quick like a bunny, hop in,”and leaped in himself to help hold the launch.  
     “Never mind hopping in, just hang on to the boat!” the young man snapped.  It’s a good thing for him he’s not a policeman or Attorney Thaxter would have his badge.
     We hired a car and toured all over the island.  By this time we were so tired we were only half-conscious.  Blake and I kept dozing off, but obediently stumbled after the others whenever we were called upon to admire this view from the bluff or that view of a windmill.
     The original plan had been to go ashore for dinner, but we decided to postpone this treat until tomorrow when we’ll have more energy.  We picked up a few groceries and had hamburg and ravioli aboard the boat.  Folded at 9:30 p.m.
Friday, August 3, 1956, Nantucket
     We are blessed with beautiful weather.  Ed and I had an early swim, banged on Thaxters’ porthole to wake those slug-a-beds.  They joined us in the water, then we rustled up breakfast, gathered up our paraphernalia and went ashore on the launch.  After playing tennis for a couple of hours, we set out for the beach, a walk of fifteen minutes from the Yacht Club.  As we trudged along, a bus went tootling by (“.15 to beach”), and we resolved to squander sixty cents on a ride home when the day was over.
     The Jetties bathhouse was the cleanest, pleasantest, best-run public bathhouse we have ever encountered.  We were delighted with the Family Locker arrangement, two roomy cubicles side by side, one for the Thaxters, one for the Malleys.  The beach was not overcrowded and the people were quiet and good mannered.  We had frappes and hamburgers and hot dogs at the Snack Bar, swam, lazed around for the rest of the afternoon.
     The bus dropped us at the corner near the Yacht Club where the Mad Hatters Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge was fortuitously located.  We ventured in for a drink but decided against eating there later as the place was not on Ed’s Diner’s Club list.  Also stopped at the Yacht Club for cocktails and to enjoy Harry Marchard’s orchestra.  Back to the boat for more cocktails while we dressed for dinner.
     Chose the Ropewalk, the only restaurant that was a member of the Diner’s Club, and were delighted with the service and the fare—although  Jayne was the only one smart enough to order the Roast Beef Special.  Chances are we’ll return Sunday night and order four Roast Beef Specials.
     Before catching launch to the Happy Days, had cordials at Yacht Club bar.  Blake’s was a very very very dry Martini.  A nightcap aboard the boat.  We celebrated POPBN (Pick on poor Blake night) and everyone went to bed mad.  Blake said he was going to keep drinking, but when nobody gave him an argument, he hopped into the sack before the rest of us had finished brushing our teeth.
Saturday, August 4, 1956, Nantucket
     Another gorgeous day.  Jayne and I made so bold as to challenge the fellows to tennis, having recalled beating them last year in Provincetown.  Unfortunately I was still afflicted with servitis, and Jayne would have had more chance of winning if she had taken them on single-handed.  We had lunch at the Yacht Club, caught the bus to the beach.  Another relaxing afternoon, our only regret being that it’s almost over.
     The four of us set out for the Boat House Restaurant, recommended by Charlie Watson, who knows the piano player.  By some mysterious process of elimination, only two of us entered the portals.  Jayne was either lost or hiding and Blake was either lost or looking for her.  Optimistically, Ed asked for a table for four.  Pessimistically, he ordered dinner for two.  We had an excellent meal, marred only by Ed’s aggravating concern for Jayne.
     “Nobody worried about me when I walked home from Thaxters’ in the middle of the night,” I said.
     To which Ed replied inappropriately, “Poor Jayne!”
     Maybe Jayne had something at that, I thought.  On the way back to the Yacht Club I got lost.  I fell behind Ed and peeked around the corner of a building, watching him stride out of sight.  Then I stood there hugging myself, imagining his consternation when he discovered he was alone.  After a long time I spotted him retracing his tracks.  He was muttering something to himself, and I don’t think it was “Poor Barbara!”  Nevertheless I decided to forgive him, so next thing he knew, he’d found me again.  Without a word being exchanged, such as “Oh, thank God, darling, don’t ever leave me again,” we filed Indian style back to the yacht club.  The launch took us out to Happy Days where we turned in, not without the accusation from Ed that I was pretty callous about the Thaxters.
     Guess who was snoring when the Thaxters arrived on the launch at midnight?  Not I, said the captain’s mate, but hearing Jayne’s call in my sleep, I hopped out of my bunk, sprang up through the porthole, skittered along the railing and dove into the cockpit just as Jayne was opening the door and calling my name. Still half asleep, I tackled her, somehow having the notion that if I didn’t, she would close and lock the door.  Or did I dream this part of my story?
     The Thaxters and I had lots of fun regaling each other with the evening’s events. Suddenly we thought of poor Ed down there sleeping, missing all the fun.  We marched down and started tickling him, but all he said was “Go away.” Finding this a refreshing change from “Poor Jayne,” I crawled into my bunk and went to sleep.
 Sunday, August 5, 1956, Nantucket
     Another perfect day.  One thing we can’t complain about is the weather.  We played tennis, then Thaxters and I went to Jettie’s Beach while Ed did some chores on the boat.  He told us he would probably join us around 2:00, and at 2:00, just as we were wondering where he was, there he was.  Ed spent the afternoon constructing a gigantic triangle made of shells.  “If my father could see me now!” he said, having just talked to Grandpa on the phone.  Grandpa was not pleased to hear Ed was not returning to work until Tuesday morning.  Blake took several pictures of Ed and his Vitally Important Shell Project.
     “This is my annuity,” he explained.
     Had four delicious Roast Beef Specials at the Ropewalk, then walked a few blocks to the wharf where the Boathouse Restaurant is located, with the plan of ordering cordials (three Drambuies and one Martini, very very very dry for the captain) and introducing ourselves to the piano player.  Eddie O’Hearn, his name was, and he remembered Cohasset's Charlie Watson and his annual party for musicians very well.  He played “If I Loved You” for us, after which we hastily departed as it was getting near the 10 p.m. launch service deadline.  One startling fact had come to light as we sipped our cordials: the Thaxters are enthusiastic about Chinese food and we never realized it.     
     “I’m flaspergabbered!” Ed said cordially.
     Had another round of cordials at the Yacht Club bar, finding ourselves with minutes to spare before the launch left on its last trip.  When Ed made a remark about Terry and the Pilots, and Blake said his stomach felt taunt, it was plain to see they were again speaking the same language.
Monday, August 6, 1956, Nantucket.
     Ed got up at 6:20 to listen to the weather report, learned that the wind was 15-20 mph, no small craft warnings.  We all took a pill and were under way by 7:00.  After taking great care to make everything secure, it was almost a letdown to get out on the open ocean and enjoy comfortable sailing and another beautiful sunny day.
     One of the engines conked out when we were halfway home, leaving Ed understandably depressed. He has had more trouble with those two new engines than he ever did with the old ones.  “If I have to be towed in . . . “ he muttered darkly.  But the one engine held on and we steamed past Minot’s Light at 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 12, 1956, Cohasset
     Left harbor at 10:00, Wes and Marion Marsh aboard.  On way out to draggers, saw one shark, but he nose-dived as Wes was about to throw the harpoon.  Had beer all around, then I served crab meat soup made with green peas, mushrooms and tomato soup. Oh, and crabmeat.  Marion contributed corned beef on pumpernickel sandwiches.
     It was warm and beautiful out until around 2:00 when a strong wind came up.  On our way back to Cohasset, a rain squall drove us below, but it soon blew over.  Passed Minot’s at 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 17, 1956, Cohasset
     The PT hex continues to vex.  It seemed like a jolly idea to cruise over to Provincetown with the Remicks at night, after the golf club dance.  Ed and I left the dance at 11:00, Ray and Dottie having announced their intention to follow us at midnight.  Ray had taken a nap during the day, so I suggested to Ed that we too should get some rest before we took off.
     I can say with authority that a good place to get some rest is definitely not on a boat tied up to the yacht club float on a mid-summer Friday night.  We heard the Heaths and the Merrills disembarking with hilarity from Sherbie’s boat.  No sooner had they gone than a couple came down the stairway to the dock and had an intimate conversation in voices that were just hushed enough so that we couldn’t quite hear what they were saying.  Very frustrating.  Then the couple saw a car drive up to the club, and they hastily leaped into the water. 
     “Now remember, we’ve been swimming for half an hour,” the girl instructed her companion.  Their friends came down to the dock, the couple assured them they’d been swimming for half an hour, and it took all the will power I could muster to keep from calling through the porthole: “They have not!”  
     It was after 2 a.m. when Cinderella Remick and her Prince tiptoed aboard.  Dottie promptly hit the sack and Ray joined Ed at the topside controls.  Ed started the engines, the controls were in reverse, and we almost ran aground.
     Neither Dottie nor I got a bit of sleep during the five hours it took us to reach Provincetown.  Both of us were brooding about the Andrea Doria and half expected to collide with another boat any minute.  At one point we must have nudged a lobster pot--in my nervous state it seemed the whole boat shuddered.  I sat bolt upright, smacking my head on the ceiling. 
     Another thing that made it impossible to sleep was the noise of the engines and the vibrations.  I was vibrating along with the engines.  If I hadn’t kept my feet tucked under me, I might have bored a hole right through the boat.  Like the guy who was so screwy, he went through the floor if he turned around three times.
Saturday, August 18, 1956, Provincetown
     After our arrival at 7:30 a.m., I kept waiting for Ed and Ray to go to bed like sensible people, by 8:30 realized I was being naive and got up.  Beautiful morning.  Ray wanted to prove to Dottie how simple it is to keep house aboard a boat, so he prepared breakfast, taking only a minute or two over an hour.  At 10:30 a.m., we all went to bed like sensible people.
     At 1:15  Ed called Grandpa and Tina, arranged to meet them at Town Landing at 6:00 p.m.
     Remicks and Malleys went ashore, half swamping dinghy on the way, much to Dottie’s alarm—we assured her that her shorts would be dry in no time.  There seemed to be no suitable place to leave the dinghy, so Ed asked permission of owner of private landing to tie up, offering a couple of dollars.
      “It won’t cost you,” the fellow said, but Ed stuffed the money in his benefactor’s back pocket.  We walked to the Towne House and made a reservation for dinner this evening.  Poked along the narrow street, bought fried clams, ice cream, etc. because we’re all on diets and can’t eat lunch.  All except Ray, who ordinarily has two full-course dinners a day to nourish his tapeworm.
     “Dottie is the only person I know,” he says, “who ate so many Ayds, she gained weight.”  This comment made while he wolfed down two cheeseburgers and an order of French fries.
     Took a tour of Provincetown’s Historical Museum.  Dottie and I were so exhausted that every time we saw an antique chair that looked as if it wouldn’t fall apart, we sat down.  It was sort of like musical chairs with no music.
     Dottie and I had quick naps before Happy Hour.  Ed picked up Grandpa and Tina in the dinghy, Pinkhams and Reeds rowed over from Seabird.  With ten of us in the saloon, there wasn’t much room for dancing or even much elbow room.  Ray needs half an acre, as you would know if you have ever seen him raise a drink.
     The wind had come up (what else could we expect in Provincetown?), and getting us ashore in the choppy sea presented a problem. Someone had the brilliant idea--in all modesty I can’t mention who--of pulling up the anchor and dropping us at the dock directly from Happy Days.  This worked out very well, as Ed was able to talk another private dock owner into letting him tie up while we had dinner.
Sunday, August 18, 1956, Provincetown to Cohasset
     The boat pitched and tossed all night.  We arose at the crack of 9:30 and I made a bargain with Ray.  I would prepare breakfast and he would finish writing up the Log for August 17th.  He got as far as “Barbara and Ed were sleeping deeply,” and then I was unable to interpret his subsequent handwriting.  Perhaps it described the marvelous party that was thrown for me on my 35th birthday.
     A strange combination of high winds and fog made it appear that we might be weather-bound for some time to come.  Ray called Northeast Crew Scheduling and told Pete not to count on him to fly tomorrow.
     At 12:20 weather report predicted gusts up to 40 mph, small craft warnings to be displayed until early evening, showers likely during the afternoon.
     Went ashore, Stopped at Sorcerer’s Apprentice to look at their hand-made jewelry and pottery. Dottie bought a pair of seashell earrings that open to reveal a sea monster bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ray.  As we walked toward center of town, noticed a crowd and a couple of ambulances outside a rooming house.  Ed, Ray, and Dottie walked by with hardly a second glance, but I loitered long enough to observe an empty stretcher being carried out of the house with the impression of a head in the pillow.  I deduced that the patient had died on the stretcher, so the ambulance crew unloaded him back on the bed--or wherever he had been--and now he belonged to the coroner.  No one appreciated my report.
     The wind had gone down and it was almost flat calm when we reached the dock at 3:30.  “We’re leaving!” Ed and Ray decided, and before the Pinkhams could say, “Hey, wait for us!” we were off.
     Fastest trip back ever.  Less than three hours.  Ray claims his navigating skill is responsible for our record time and hopes this will be made clear in the Log. I repeat: Ray claims his navigating skill is responsible for ete. etc.
Saturday, August 25, 1956, Cohasset to Provincetown
     Ed had to work this morning.  Got home around 3:00 and we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to run over to Provincetown.  Tossed clothes, magazines, books into a suitcase, milk, orange juice, lemons into a paper bag, kissed the kids goodbye, and were on our way by 3:40.  Pleasant trip across until we reached Race Point and tide-rips where we hit rough going.  We’re getting philosophical about Provincetown, so we didn’t let it bother us as the boat bucked wildly and tried to throw us overboard.
     After a hot shower and a couple of highballs we felt revived enough to face the trip ashore for dinner at the Towne House.  We bounced over to the Town Landing in the dinghy, not without shipping a splash of water every now and then.  After dinner we purchased a bottle of Drambuie and returned to Happy Days.
     We played Rummy for a while, and I was comfortably ahead when Ed said, “I don’t think much of this game, let’s play Hearts.” After I won four games out of five, he didn’t think much of that game either, how about a few hands of poker?  At 1:30 a.m. we called it a draw.
Sunday, August 26, 1956, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Had breakfast ashore, met Grandpa and Tina at dock at 10:00. Took them out for a day’s sail, no sign of fish.  Dropped them off at 2:30, headed for home.
Sunday, September 2, 1956, Cohasset to Barnstable
     Labor Day weekend has been disappointing to the seagoing Malleys -- all because of that foulest of weather conditions, FOG!  We intended to take off Friday evening but were fogbound.  Saturday morning we could barely see “Big-Big” from the house, let alone Minot’s Light.  Saturday afternoon Ed was puttering around on the boat when who should come rowing toward him out of nowhere but Bill Brown.  Bill and Jane were tied up at the dock behind Hugo’s, having made a successful run from Gloucester to Cohasset during a spell when the vapors thinned out temporarily.  We spent the evening with the Browns, Brewers, and Thaxters, ending up at our house for cordials.
     This morning the visibility was still very poor, and Logan Airport reported that the fog would be “up and down” during the day.  Maybe we could sneak across to Barnstable when it was “up.”
     We were rowing out to Happy Days around 9:00 a.m. when who should come out of the fog yet again but Bill Brown, who has this disconcerting habit of putting in an appearance when you least expect him. Like waving at you from the picture window of your house in Fort Lauderdale. 
      Most of these events trigger not even a glimmer of recollection.  How did he get into the house?  Had we gone out and left the door unlocked?  Who is Bill Brown, anyway?   Oh wait, I remember he was a classmate of Whitey Brewer’s. 
      Ed followed Bill out beyond Minot’s and we found ourselves in the Never-Never Land of Fog.  Fog hovered over us and pressed around us and we were alone in a heavily shrouded silence.  We wandered slowly about like lost souls, and out of the mist occasionally drifted other lost souls--sailboats soundlessly appearing and disappearing; three fishermen in a rowboat, doomed to drift and fish through all Eternity; Bill Brown yelling “Soupy out here, isn’t it!” and ruining my reverie.
     To go or not to go, that was the question.  Was it going to get better or was it going to get worse?  I favored taking a chance, privately thinking we might be lucky enough to collide with another boat, giving me fresh material for the Log and possibly Yachting magazine.  But Cautious Conrad decided to head back.
     We were on our way in when the fog seemed to lift at bit.  Ed was literally going around in circles, trying to make up his mind whether to go ashore and drive to Barnstable (where his folks had been expecting us for lo these last five days) or wait awhile longer for improved visibility.
     “Oh come on, let’s go!” I said recklessly. By this time the fog was so dissipated, we could practically see Barnstable, so Cautious Conrad clenched his jaw, straightened his cap, and we were on our way out again..
     Arrived 2:30, Grandpa and Tina on hand to greet us.  New slips for visiting yachts offered a safe, inexpensive haven for the Happy Days and tempt us to return again more often.  If only Provincetown had similar facilities.   On the other hand, one of Darrell McClure’s best illustrations for  my “Water on the Brain” article shows Ed hanging from the Provincetown pier.                   
Monday, September 3,1956, Barnstable to Cohasset.
     Enjoyed our day and a half visit with the folks.  Last night before dinner Ed and I had a swim in Pleasant Bay to wake us up and sharpen our appetites.  Wonderful steak dinner followed by wonderful bed.
     Ed and I got up around nine, had a swim, then breakfast with Grandpa and Tina.  They regaled us with stories of Terrible Timmy: the time he wanted a pair of rubber boots to wear down to the pond and called Grandpa “an old skinflint” for not surrendering one of his best pairs; the time he and his grandfather had a jam of some kind and Tim retired to his room, sending Vonnie down with the message that he wouldn’t come out until Grandpa apologized to him.  “Goddamit, I should say not!” Grandpa bellowed, and a few minutes later Timmy came meekly down the stairs with no further talk of apologies.  We all agreed he was the brassiest (spelled with two t’s in the middle) lad we had ever seen but that he would go far.  “How soon?” Ed wanted to know.
     Piled into the jeep and took a run over to Nauset Beach.  Ed was dismayed by his father’s manner of driving and volunteered a running stream of advice and reproofs from the back seat.  “Take it easy, what a cowboy, watch out for those kids, slow down,” etc.
     He sounded exactly like Grandpa two years ago when Ed was driving the jeep, but neither of the men would believe this.  “Whose side are you on?” Grandpa demanded, and I told him, “I’m agin both of you.”
     Ed had a swim in the icy surf, I snoozed in the hot sun.  Back to the house for early cocktails and dinner.  Left Barnstable Harbor 6:45.  Beautiful evening, flat sea, no problems until we passed Minot’s light and couldn’t find Whitehead.  Whitehead’s beacon wasn’t working, but Ed finally spotted it looming up in the dark and we tied up to the dock at 10:45. 
Friday, September 7, 1956, Cohasset to Provincetown
     The Marshes drove into the driveway at 4:00 p.m.  
     “Why are you all dressed up?” Vonnie asked Marion.  
     “I came right from school, Wes wouldn’t let me change,” Marion explained.  She had to go to a meeting after school, and when the lady in charge concluded by asking if anyone had any questions, no one uttered a sound.  No one dared with Marion’s bullwhip over their heads.
     “Kiss, kiss!” cried the kids.  “Peeppeeppeep,” squeaked our pet seagull, flying up on the hood of the Marshes car and splattering it, to Marion’s chagrin.  “Goobye, goobye, goobye,” Ed said, roaring out of the driveway.
     We were on our way at 4:20, arrived three hours and twenty minutes later as the last red glow of the sun faded behind the Provincetown tower and surrounded the skyline.  I missed most of the sunset, having gone below for a nap.  Marion hated to turn on the lights, she was so absorbed in the view.  The water was flat calm, a condition we never expected to see in Provincetown.
     After Happy Hour and dinner, went ashore for cordials at the Ace of Spades.  The people there all looked disappointingly normal—season’s over, I guess--except for one girl who was with a character that could have been either male or female, and also a man who was accompanied by a cat.  Leave it to Marion to strike up a friendship with the cat.  She found it waiting in line outside the Ladies’ Room, picked it up, brought it over to our table where we nervously admired it (the beast’s owner was looking very jealous).
     The young couple at the table next to ours were located so close to us, you’d have thought they were our bosom buddies.  Leave it to Marion, in five minutes they were. She learned they were from Philadelphia, had three children, two boys and a girl, and were spending the week in Provincetown--their names, Janet and John DeMoll.
     A lady strolled from table to table handing out cards which read in French: “Paint your portrait in ten minutes. $1.50.” She had yellow hair and glasses, wore a black beret on the side of her head, and was dressed in a voluminous garment apparently cut from a Mexican blanket and reaching not quite to her knees.  The DeMolls told us she got amazing likenesses in her ten-minute portraits, but none of us felt like putting her to the test.
     The DeMolls announced they were making the Atlantic House their next port of call, so as soon as we finished our second round of drinks, we followed them.  The bar was jammed with men and I wondered if Marion and I would be allowed to enter; then I spotted Janet and her husband leaning against the wall, sipping their drinks.  We didn’t stay long as there was no place to sit except on the floor, and there you got stepped on.
     Our next stop was our old favorite, the Towne House.  Shortly after we arrived, the female impersonator went into his act, wearing various wigs as he played the piano and sang comical songs.  We all enjoyed his routine except Wes, who was busy trying to make time with the hostess.
     A couple of middle-aged ladies got up and did a dance--leave it to Marion to plunk herself down in the booth with their husbands, only we were never able to convince her the men were married.  One man told her confidentially that the other fellow was a lesbian.  Now there’s a queer one for you.  [Sorry, that’s the way our minds worked in those days of ignorant and complacent bigotry.] Mr. Lesbian claimed to be a waiter at the Ritz-Carlton and urged Marion to stop in and see him next time she was in Boston.
     At 1:30 we had to drag Marion away from the table—literally.  She kept breaking away from us and trying to run back to her friends whose line she had swallowed hook, line, and sinker.  (Their wives had gone home mad earlier in the evening.)
     We invited our new friends to come out for a nightcap on the Happy Days.  At first the DeMolls demurred, but they accompanied us to the dock and after a little more coaxing, accepted our invitation.
    At 3:30 a.m., Janet was saying, “We really ought to go.” We then invited them to spend what was left of the night with us, but they preferred to go on their way. Ed climbed over the side of the Happy Days cockpit and stepped into what he thought was the middle of the dinghy.  Unhappily, it was the gunwale, and if he had deliberately set out to sink the craft, he couldn’t have done a better job.  He sat there laughing like a baby in a bathtub as he descended into the drink.  Judging by the bubbles that came up after the waters closed over his head, I think he must have been still laughing.
    The dinghy disappeared completely, but Ed eventually rose to the surface, full of chuckles and salt water.       
     “Ed Malley,” I said crossly, “you better find that dinghy right now!  How are the DeMolls going to get ashore?”  Ed made a few half-hearted surface dives but was unable to locate the dinghy.  
     After Ed hauled himself aboard, I suggested we pull up the anchor and take the DeMolls to the dock in the Happy Days.  Wes vetoed the idea and on second thought I could see his point. A man who could swamp a dinghy without half trying could hardly be expected to maneuver a 40-foot boat at 3:00 a.m.
     I gave the DeMolls my blanket and we tried to convert the couch in the saloon into a double bed.  It staunchly resisted our efforts and refused to be brainwashed—a couch it was, a couch it would remain.  At last we beat it into a semblance of a double bed, although it looked more like a book that had been left open and rained on.  I hope the DeMolls had a comfortable night, and if they slept on the floor, perhaps they did.
Saturday, September 8, 1956, Provincetown
     “As I was saying,” Janet DeMoll said wearily this morning, “we really ought to be going.”
     Marion and I, very much in each other’s way in the galley, at length put scrambled eggs and bacon on the table.  We breakfasted and reviewed the events of the night before.  This morning John had retrieved the dinghy with the boat-hook, having spotted it floating under the surface, conveniently within reach.  I didn’t hear Ed berating himself, as he had berated me on a similar occasion: “You swamped the dinghy?  Oh, my outboard motor, it’ll be ruined!”
     We invited the DeMolls to go tuna fishing with us, but strange to say, they seemed eager to quit our presence.  Dropped them at the dock, went out looking for tuna, but it was rough and we were tired.  Returned to the harbor at 1:00 and slept the afternoon away. 
     Went ashore after Happy Hour, had dinner at the Towne House.  The hostess remembered us but let us in anyway.  Wes gave her a cigarette lighter he had picked up the night before, as it was exactly like his own.  The hostess said it belonged to one of the ladies who went home early last night after Marion moved in on her escort.  We asked her if Marion’s friend was really a waiter at the Ritz Carlton.  “Oh no, he’s a millionaire.”
      Ed lost his wallet some time during the dinghy-sinking episode.  He had a vague felling he may have tucked it away “in some safe place” when he changed into dry clothes, but since we have torn the boat apart in a fruitless effort to find it, I’m afraid it’s at the bottom of the sea.  Not much money in it, but all his charge cards, license, girls’ telephone numbers, etc.
     After dinner we all piled into the dinghy and headed cheerily for the Happy Days.  Suddenly Wes shouted, “Hey Ed, slow down, whoaa!”  The bow of the dinghy had dipped into the sea and scooped up several gallons of water.  Too many steak dinners. But we made it all right, with Ed rowing because the outboard conked out.  Still no self-reproaches from the dinghy swamper.   Four pairs of wet feet to show for our trip.
Sunday, September 9, 1956, Provincetown
     The local fishermen made an awful racket starting before sunrise.  Marion, Wes, and I got up around seven and had breakfast, but Ed didn’t put in an appearance for another hour, mumbling something about the crack of dawn.
     He asked the Boston Marine Operator for a repeat of the 6:20 forecast. It didn’t sound good--increasingly high winds from the northeast.  “We’d better get going,” the fellows decided.
     Left around nine, had been going a little over half an hour when one engine quit.  It was far too rough to keep heading out under the circumstances.  Wes turned the boat back toward Provincetown while Ed labored over the dead engine.  Surrounded by screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, old and new spark plugs, he tinkered and cussed.  Even with the switch off, he kept getting shocks.  A box full of lures fell into the engine room and spilled colorfully, adding to its decor and our captain's shocking vocabulary.                 
Saturday, September 15, 1956, Cohasset to Scituate Harbor and back
     Just Ed and I on a day-trip, looking for tuna.  Chilly out, a bit rough.  No tuna.  Bemoaned the briefness of summer, now nearly gone.
     [And now, all of a sudden, a half-century is gone.  bbm, May 3, 2014]