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Thursday, June 22, 2017

WHAT ARE YOU DOING, MAR GO-O-O-O ! (11)


Fort Lauderdale, April 4, 1959
TED AT SIXTEEN
   The airport limousine picked Ted up at 7:30 this morning—end of his vacation.  I think he had a pretty good time, although his moodiness got us down—especially Ed, who has no patience with the impatience of the young.  We took him to have his portrait done by a drug-store artist who sketches pastel caricatures in half an hour for five dollars.  Ted is shown with flippers, tank, mask and a spear, astride a cynical-looking fish.
Sunday, June 21, 1959, Cohasset to Province-town and back
     Left dock only one half hour behind schedule (10:30).  Aboard were Kathie and her friends Priscilla Lincoln, Roy McDonald, Sue Churchill, Sue’s friend Ned, Kathie’s fellow veterinarian Leo, Swarthmore classmate Becky, and Bruce Elder.
        About two hours out, Kathie suddenly remembered why she was so hungry--she hadn’t had any breakfast.
     “Where did you put the sandwiches, Dad?”
     That was an interesting question.  Dad had put the sandwiches on the dock prior to rowing out to the Happy Days, and somehow in the flurry of getting gas, ice, water, kids aboard, etc., no one had been appointed to remember not to forget the sandwiches.  There was a brief but animated exchange of name-calling, but being civilized people we ultimately decided that it was all Dad’s fault.  Poor Kathie had built those sandwiches from 9:30 to 1:15 last night.  We called Marg Hill and she promised to bustle right down and rescue the sandwiches before some delighted dog discovered them.
     Meanwhile we debated the question of whether to return to Cohasset, pick up the sandwiches, go out again for a short time (Dad’s suggestion), or keep on toward Provincetown, go ashore for a snack, and get home late (Kathie’s suggestion).  Kathie won out because, as she said, it was her last boating chance (Germany-bound Friday), and she was therefore entitled to special consideration, was she not?
     Spotted all kinds of marine life: whales, sharks, tuna.  One of the sharks had a fin as big as a cellar door.  Kathie maneuvered the boat close enough to this granddaddy for her father to throw the harpoon at him.  He couldn’t miss.  The line whipped from the barrel, the barrel went under, and, goodbye barrel, goodbye Granddad..
     Got to Ptown around 3:45, only slightly starved thanks to Priscilla’s eight egg salad sandwiches and the case of beer which Leo, clever lad, had not left on the dock.  That boy is going to amount to something some day.
     Walked into town, ordered hamburgers, hotdogs, pickles, popcorn, etc.  While the order was being filled, the kids all had ice cream as a first course.  I was hoping they’d ruin their appetites but there wasn’t so much as a kernel of popcorn left for the seagulls and me.
     Gave the young folks until 4:30 to investigate Ptown, then headed for home.  Arrived Cohasset 8:15.

Saturday, July 4, 1959, Cohasset to Onset   
     Left Cohasset shortly after 10:00 a.m. with Tim and his buddy Neil Porta.  Ideal cruising weather--sunny, warm, ocean calm.  Arrived Onset 3:30, tied up alongside Seabird II.  Had cocktails, took launch ashore for clambake.  Alden took a peek at the predicted Log Race results and found he had come in fourth--n big improvement over fiftieth last year.  Had his eye on a compass as his prize, but it was selected by one of the top three.  Settled for a radio.
     Chatted with Alden, Florence, and Warren aboard the Happy Days until 10:00 p.m.
[Where were Timmy and Neil all this time?  A puzzling omission by the Log-keeper.]
Sunday, July 5, 1959, Onset to Cohasset
     Another beautiful day.  Left Onset around 11:00, arrived Cohasset 3:30. [Once Mom left Janeth and me at a day-care service at Jordan Marsh while she went shopping.  She forgot to pick us up, but this is ridiculous.  Where are those boys??]
Friday, July 10, 1959, Cohasset to Gloucester
     Weather threatening as Ed and I left Cohasset at 6:15.  Debated between Ptown and Gloucester, chose Gloucester as being nearer and more sheltered.  Dropped hook in Smith’s Cove at 8:30.  Had a couple of drinks, charcoaled a steak.  Then I keeled over on the couch for a brief catnap, figuring on reviving the minute the self-appointed galley slave finished his chores.  When I came to, Ed was in his pajamas and reading “Gents” in his bunk. I crawled into mine and resumed my catnap, not without chastising myself for being such a party-pooper.

Saturday, July 11, 1959, Gloucester
     Slept until 10:00 a.m.  No point in getting up earlier as the end of Hurricane Andy was lashing the harbor with wind and rain.  Agreed we were glad we weren’t rolling around in Provincetown Harbor.  By 11:30 the weather had brightened and the wind had abated enough for us to venture ashore in the dinghy.  Ed wanted to buy a paper but was embarrassed to ask for change from a five-dollar bill.  Help-meet that I am, I solved his dilemma by purchasing four dollars worth of jewelry.  “Most expensive newspaper I ever bought,” the ungrateful man said.
     Browsed through “arty” shops, mostly owned by artists whose paintings were displayed along with handmade jewelry, antique china, and glassware.  Called Browns on spur-of-the-moment to see if they were available for dinner tonight.  They were going fishing for a couple of hours late in the afternoon but expected they could join us when they got in.  Jane told me they had recently harpooned a 500-pound tuna, and she and Bill have become avid fishermen.
     Word of the 500-pound tuna inspired Ed.  Within an hour we were cruising through the Anisquam Canal, on our way to Ipswitch Bay where Jane said the tuna had been swarming.  For us they didn’t swarm, but we did see a seagull basking in the sun.  Returned to Smith Cove by 5:30, had time for a nap before the Browns arrived.   Ed discovered to his dismay that he had forgotten to bring a tie.  Rushed ashore to see if he could buy one, came back with one that a kindly art gallery owner offered to lend him.

      The Browns nestled alongside, we had a couple of shooters, and then putt-putted to the Lobster House dock.   Party broke up early as Browns had plans to go tuna fishing at 6:00 a.m.  Good luck to them.  May they see more basking seagulls than we did.
Sunday, July 12, 1959, Gloucester to Cohasset
     Slept till 9:00, Ed went ashore for Sunday papers while I got breakfast.  Headed for tuna grounds at 10:30.  No tuna.  No seagulls. 
Friday, July 17, 1959, Cohasset to Province town
     Left Cohasset at 4:30 p.m. with two very thrilled young ladies, Vonnie Veronica and Margo Embargo, as they have nicknamed each other.  Beautiful evening, flat sea, balmy air.  But what happens when we reach the environs of Provincetown?  Up comes the chop, and we pound our way into the harbor as usual.
    Fed the ravenous girls clam chowder to hold them while Father stoked the charcoal and tended bar.  When the steak was done to a raw-ish turn, Ed set it momentarily next to the pail of water he keeps handy to douse flame-ups from the grill.  Margo ambled out into the cockpit for a breath of fresh, smoke-filled air and accidentally bumped the handle of the pail.  Whoopsy-daisy, the steak heads for a bath.
     “What are you doing, Mar go-o-o-o!” Ed says.
     Getting the grouch aside I remind him that it was an accident and to please not go around hurting  people's feelings.  In the end he thanked Margo for the best steak we’d ever had.
Saturday, July 18, 1959, Provincetown
     Went ashore with the girls around 10:00 a.m., hired bicycles, cycled to public beach.  Returned to town mid-afternoon in order to window shop and sight-see.  Most exciting sight was Ptown Harbor as seen from the top of the monument.  We were charged only fifty cents apiece for the privilege of making that long, long climb.
     Harbor choppier than ever, resulting in a scary trip back to the Happy Days.  Ed took Vonnie and Margo out first while I bought lobster meat and steamers.  The dinghy behaved like a bucking bronco in a bad mood, so it was a relief to dismount.  Fed the girls, then the four of us went ashore to go our separate ways, the young ones to the movies, the old folks to dinner at the Towne House.
Sunday, July 19, 1959, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Small craft warnings still up this morning, but the captain of this large craft was not intimidated.  There were only three Dramamines left, so I said, “Women and children first,” meanwhile offering up a prayer that Ed wouldn’t turn green in the middle of the tide rip.
     Later, as he was putting up the steady sail, Margo came below to report that "Mr. Malley is trying very hard to be good-natured, but I think it’s taking all his strength.”  
     We were halfway home when the wind subsided.  Decided to head for the Stellwagon Ledge and look for tuna.  Encountered other cruisers, among them Bill Brown’s Kirkfield, but the tuna were scarce as whale’s teeth.
     After a couple of hours the wind kicked up again and it seemed wise to steer a course for Cohasset.  Arrived 4:45.
Thursday, July 23, 1959, Cohasset to Onset
     For the third successive year we are making a stab at reaching the Vineyard with the Barnards.  Our luck is running true to form, as Connie’s staunch allegation testifies: “Y’know, I really like fog.”
     When we left Cohasset at 12:45 p.m., the visibility was fair.  Our captain had every intention of pushing on to the Vineyard until we reached the railroad bridge in the Cape Cod Canal.  Then Connie’s favorite climate closed in and it was Onset Ho!
     Dropped the hook around 5:00.  The boys had a swim, the girls puttered around in the galley, breaking out artichoke hearts and other goodies.  During Happy Hour Ed gave Jack a lesson in navigating, while Connie and I caught up on her New Yorkers.  The only discord marring this peaceful scene occurred when I suggested it was time to start the charcoal.  Ed never thinks it’s time to start the charcoal.  If he had his way the coals would be in a perfect state around midnight, but what state would the four of us would be in? 
     After dinner we settled down for a game of bridge.  Then we had to unsettle ourselves and look for a deck that had more than 51 cards.  (I’ll never forget the time we played several rounds with the Pinkhams before we discovered we were exactly four cards short.)  Finally unearthed a couple of battered but numerically correct decks and the game commenced.  In deference to the boys, I shall say no more.
     Retired at 12:30.  Edward didn’t kiss me goodnight.  He didn’t even say, “Goodnight, you lucky witch.”
Friday, July 14, 1959, Onset to Oak Bluffs
     Ed and Jack started the day with a bracing swim before breakfast; they were unsuccessful in persuading Con and me to do likewise.  “It’s really wonderful after the initial shock,” said Ed, but Con said dryly that somehow she didn’t feel up to initial shocks so early in the morning.
     The fog had lifted by the time we left Onset (9:30).  Buzzard’s Bay was in one of its typically turbulent moods, so we had a typically rough trip across.  Rivulets of water seeped through the deck-house windows, trickled over the bulkheads and onto the floor.  A vent designed to carry off such unwelcome water was plugged up, and Jack volunteered to do something about it.  First he worked on it from the inside, spread-eagled on the radiotelephone.  Every time the boat lurched, Connie feared he might disembowel himself, or worse.  She took a couple of pictures to remember him by.  Then our intrepid hero edged his way to the outside opening of the vent, and crouching precariously on the side of the boat (which was doing its evil best to throw him), completed his repair job.
     At 11:00 we wound our way through the tricky currents and rocks at Wood’s Hole and entered Nantucket Sound.  The Sound of Fury, you might say, so we were subjected to further buffeting. What was battened down became unbattened, and by the time we reached Oak Bluffs Harbor, the interior of the deck-house was ship-shapeless.
     From Captain Pina we obtained gas, water, and advice on where to rent a car (from Captain Pina).  Picked up somebody’s mooring, had a brief visit from Gert Young, Timmy’s fourth-grade teacher, and her husband Clark.  They told us it was all right to moor there, the owner was away and wouldn’t mind a bit. We had beer, pickles, and do-it-yourself egg sandwiches, only the boys didn’t get the message. They had do-it-for-your-husband sandwiches.
     Went ashore to make telephone calls, hire Captain Pina’s car.  Barnards suddenly recalled having visited a beach in Chilmark, a beach with surf, they claimed.  In a flash Ed was off to the boat to pick up suits, caps, towels, sun oil, Jack’s license.  We piled into Captain Pina’s Ford, and with Jack at the wheel, headed for Chilmark.  Stopped at post office to find out where Barnards’ friends, the Patches, lived. 
     When Jack tried to start the car up again he got no action.  After a while the battery sounded ready to lie down and die, so the boys decided to push the Ford backwards, partway down the hill and into a driveway across the street.  From there, the car could roll forward the rest of the way down the hill and would eventually, they hoped, get going under its own power.  Putting Part One of this plan into execution, Ed and Jack began to push.  Due to an oversight (no one behind the wheel), the car almost got away from them, but thanks to Jack’s record-breaking sprint and dare-devilish leap into the runaway vehicle, disaster was averted.
     Part Two was nowhere near as exciting; the car rolled to the bottom of the hill and stopped.  Ed looked under the hood (men are so impressive when they look under hoods), then got into the car to wait for a push from some kindly motorist.  The push was soon forthcoming and a few minutes later, Ed chugged back to pick up the rest of us.
     “I want you to notice something, Jack,” he said.  “I want you to notice the position of the key in the ignition when the motor is going.”
     Moral: never try to start a Ford or any other kind of vehicle with the ignition turned off.  It’s bad for the battery, bad for the nerves, and you'll be relegated to the backseat for the rest of the day.
     We found the Patches’ camp but no one was home.  Con and I changed into our swim suits in the bedroom, while Jack wrote an explanatory message for the owners.  We drove to Squibnocket Beach and were turned away by a Gestapo-type Custodian of Peoples’ Property, in spite of our announcement that we were guests of Mrs. Patch.  We couldn’t stay unless Mrs. Patch was with us, proclaimed this churlish individual, adding pointedly, “She knows that.” It was plain that he considered us a gang of conniving interlopers.  We slunk back to the car. Ed said outsiders would get the same brush-off at Cohasset or Scituate, but that’s different: we’re not outsiders!
     A boatyard workman directed us to a public beach at Gay Head--a much more desirable beach than Squibnocket because there was a lovely surf and no mean man telling us to go away.  We swam, had a long walk up the beach beside the sheer, red-tinged vertical drop of Gay Head, then drove back to the Patches to change.  We found a Patch boy on the premises and a note from his mother urging us to stay for the weekend, no less.  She turned into the driveway as we were leaving and again invited us to stay.  What a hospitable lady--I do believe she meant it.
     On the way back to Oak Bluffs Harbor we stopped to telephone the Ocean View.  Grace Porta answered.  Disguising my voice, I made a reservation for dinner at eight for Mr. and Mrs. John W. Mallard and friends.
     We showered and dressed, then went ashore to surprise the Portas.  They were as cordial as ever--sat with us while we dined, wouldn't let us pay the tab, tried to talk us into staying at the hotel as their guests.  We had a round of drinks at the bar, then rowed back to the Happy Days for bridge.  Con and I had all the face-cards again.  Ed has sworn off bridge forever.
Saturday, July 25, 1959, Oak Bluffs to Menemsha
     Spent most of the morning debating how to spend the day.  At 11:00 headed for No Man’s Land.  An unpleasant swell made it difficult to do much besides sit and hang on, which gets monotonous after the first hour or two.  Connie went below for a snooze.
     Late in the afternoon we made for Gay Head, but no one would venture an opinion as to whether we should anchor at Menemsha or Cuttyhunk.  At length our vacillating captain turned into Menemsha and was greeted by a halloo from Bill Sawyer.  With Bill and a few hundred other spectators watching interestedly, we dropped the hook and lifted it a phenomenal number of times in our effort to find the ideal spot to anchor. Connie said we were the cynosure of all eyes;  the Captain said he didn’t give a damn.  We ended up anchoring in the very place we had our eye on originally.  Then we hopped into the dinghy and putted over to the beach for a quick swim before Happy Hour.  Ed claimed that three local fishermen ambled over and studied us long enough to satisfy themselves that such an unsea-manlike crew could actually swim.  My claim:  they were studying Connie's famous profile.
     We charcoal broiled hamburg patties for dinner.  Went ashore to telephone home.  Tim seemed to be the only one around.  He answered my questions politely but vaguely.  Finally catching on that he was watching a TV program, I said, “Well, I’ll let you go now.” “Okaygoodbye,” he said. Click.
     Wound up the evening with another bridge game.  Until around midnight this tiny harbor rang with the sound of other celebrants, including a barbershop quartet.  Our game was interrupted when we felt something jolt us: there, outside the window of the deck-house, was the kibitzing pulpit of a neighboring boat.  As it drifted off our stern, a sailboat swung against us.
     The owner of the first boat commented that we must be moored incorrectly, and anyway he was here first.  Jack didn’t like his attitude.  However, within a few minutes the three boats had drifted apart, and we finished the last rubber without distractions.  Retired around 1:30.
Sunday, July 26, 1959, Menemsha to Cohasset
     Up at 8:00, had a swim, breakfast, and were on our way by 9:30.  “This is the day we’ve been waiting for all summer,” said Con.  Buzzard”s Bay was as tranquil as a frog pond, and even on the forward deck where it is usually cool, Con and I were able to sunbathe after coating each other with baby oil.  [Not a good idea, we would learn in the future.]
     At the east end of the canal, Ed shut off the engines and we had a swim before lunch.  Mosied slowly home, keeping an eye out for fins, but our would-be victims were lying low.  Arrived at home port shortly before 5:30.

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