Pages

Saturday, July 8, 2017

(1) OUR CAPTAIN SAID HE HAD PLENTY OF FIRE PRESERVERS AND LIFE EXTINGUISHERS.


Saturday, May 25, 1957, Cohasset to Gloucester
      We have never before had our boat in the water so early in the season. A few things left to be done — in fact, Jim Gracie was taking the Lord’s name in vain when we arrived on the pier this afternoon. He had just snapped the handle on the clutch gear and was trying to make repairs. The doorknob of the forward cabin door was off and, not noticing this fact, I pushed it shut, much to Jim’s further distress. He had to take the hinges off the door to get it open again. The final straw came when Ed and Jim started to haul the dinghy up to its davits and one of the seats tore loose. These mishaps were amusing to me, but I was laughing alone.
     We had a pleasant run over to Gloucester, docked at a marina in Smith’s Cove.  Saw Bill Brown’s boat in a nearby slip. Had showers and went looking for a taxi, saw a bus going our way and rode into the city of Gloucester. Had in mind finding an oyster bar but nothing turned up. Found a place where we purchased freshly boiled lobster meat for an hors d’oeuvre. Started nibbling as we departed from shop, tasted so good we turned around and went back for more..
     Had charcoal-broiled steak, watched TV on our little new portable, worked on my article about the Remicks' Witch-Way.  Ed read what I’ve written so far, said I’d better change Ray’s name to Smith.
P.S. Gremlins still at work. Ed leaned over the side of the boat to shake out the Hibachi grille. Splash--out fell the grate. Must remember to tell Alden he’s not the only captain to pull this stunt.
Sunday, May 26, 1957, Gloucester to Cohasset
      Saw Bill Brown working on his boat this morning, invited him over for a drink at noon. He and Jane climbed aboard a few minutes after Ed had listened to weather report predicting south-westerly winds 20-30 mph. So anxious to get going that he was a poor host. “Just thought I’d warm up the engines,” he said, warming them up with a frightful din. Jane, Bill, and I shouted pleasantries at each other while the captain stood around looking as if he thought our guests would never finish their drinks.
      Had a fine trip home with winds up to three mph at most.
Saturday, June 1, 1957, Cohasset to Scituate
      Came aboard at 1:30 p.m. with a suitcase, magazines, groceries.  Coastguard Temporary Reserve was poking around the Harbor, inspecting boats, and our turn soon arrived. Everything was in order.
Loafed for couple of hours, then cruised over to Scituate Harbor where we had a date with the Pinkhams for the Yacht Club’s opening dinner.  Reids and Tonrys also present.
     Went boat-hopping during cocktail hour. Particularly impressed with Lou Tonry’s big schooner. Saw John Quinlan and his sister Mary with whom I used to play hopscotch back in elementary school. Danced for an hour after dinner, then gave up.  Florence was tired, too, so under protests from Alden, we went down to the dock, looking for launch service. No launch service. Piled into Pinkham’s skiff, Alden getting in with a leap and a clatter that nearly sank us. Claimed he did it on purpose in order to demonstrate how seaworthy his skiff was compared to ours.
Sunday, June 2, 1957, Scituate to Cohasset
      Small craft warnings up. Enjoyed several lazy hours chatting and playing a sort of round-robin bridge game with Reids and Pinkhams aboard Seabird II. Florence prepared a steak dinner and served hot blackberry pie for dessert. Learned of Warren’s motto for Alden, as hapless skipper of Seabird II—“Think before you goof!”
     This would make a good title for a Yachting article with Alden as a Hairbreadth-Harry type and Florence the beautiful maiden in distress. When it comes to material, our friend is a gold mine.
I did write an article about Alden’s various boating mishaps, many of which he recounted to me himself. He read the result, thought it was hilarious, and gave it his seal of approval. Yachting accepted the article but didn’t publish it for four years. By that time, Alden was being reviewed for a promotion, and the article was not seen as hilarious by the big brass. His promotion was postponed for a year.]
     Mid-afternoon excitement when the fellows observed Coastguard dashing across the harbor. Cruiser was in trouble, half-sunk. Watched Coastguard pumping her out, regretted we had neglected to bring camera. Alden had his camera, though. Kept calling “Here, Caesar” to Coastguard’s canine mascot because "I want him to be looking at me when I take the pictures."
      Florence tells us Alden is known as “Mr. Hornblower because of his fondness for summoning launch service several times a day.
     As we were leaving Scituate Harbor at 4:00 p.m., Florence hallooed to us that our boarding ladder hadn’t been taken in.  In spite of her warning, Ed forgot to attend to it, so did I, and it was broken into little pieces by the hard, uncaring water.
     Rain and fog going home.
Saturday, June 8, 1957, Cohasset to Provincetown
      Came aboard shortly before 2:00 p.m., found canvas fitters fitting canvas and had to dismiss them, because we were on our way to our favorite port. As clear a day as we have ever seen. Ed was sure he could see the twin lights off Cape Ann before we had even passed Minot’s. Wind from southeast when we started, but changed to southwest, which forecasts a rocky night in PTown Harbor, as usual.
      TV not very good tonight--reception-wise, that is. Someday I suppose we’ll regard our first small portable in the same light as we now look at crystal sets. Drinks, charcoal-broiled steak, a nightcap while we played cards. I won at Rummy, Ed won at Hearts and Honeymoon Bridge. Fine with me; I’d rather put up with his gloating for a week than his sulking for a day.
Sunday, June 9, 1957, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Wonderful night’s sleep, not rocky after all, morning flat and lovely. After breakfast rowed ashore to buy papers and mosey around PTown. Discovered a new shop, “Mr. Kenneth’s,” crammed with bizarre straw hats, jeweled fly swatters, zany hand-painted greeting cards (originals by Mr. Kenneth), charming masks of feathers and sequins. Ed escaped after putting out a mere $5.85 that paid for a bonnet for me, two greeting cards, and a Fisherman’s Crying Towel.
     Read Sunday papers aboard the Happy Days, had a beer, some lobster and crackers, steak sandwiches. Were considering a nap when a familiar-looking craft hove into view. ‘Twas the Seabird II, with Merrie Alden Pinkham and crewe. Pinkhams guests were the Wellmans and the Grimms. We “nested” and had highballs on Seabird, then at 3:00 p.m. Ed and I made our departure.
Sunday, July 16, 1957, Cohasset to Plymouth
      Ye Newe Mayflowere being located at nearby Plymouth, we gathered thirteen strong aboard the Happy Days and set forth at 10:30 to view this historic replica. The Bowens with children, Pete and Lee were aboard, Vonnie and Cindy Tufts, Kathie and her pals Priscilla and Judy, Timmy-Lord-help-us, Kathryn Kilpinen, my indispensible household helper, and of course, Ed and I. We stopped at Scituate Harbor looking for Mr. Hornblower, but no sign of Seabird II.
       Onward to Plymouth. Couldn’t have been a better day for the trip. Thought we saw Alden for sure coming out of Scituate Harbor, way outside the channel, but it turned out to be some unknown “Think-Before-You-Goofer.” Surprisingly little water traffic in vicinity of Mayflower, so we were able to run by several times and take movies.
     Had brought a huge block of frozen clams. The first potful I steamed weren’t a hit because they were still half raw. Subsequent batches, steamed longer, went fast, but a certain character, we discovered, was biting off the necks only.
     “What are you doing, Timmy?” I asked. “Throwing away all those delicious stomachs?”        
     “I didn’t throw them away, I put them back in the pot.” Appetites were so hearty that even Timmy’s discarded stomachs were treated as delicacies.
     Nan provided a platter of raw vegetables, stuffed eggs, and a gigantic submarine sandwich from which she sliced small portions.
     The children had a wonderful time swimming, once they became accustomed to the frigid water. Ed made several attempts to join them, finally claimed he could get in all right, but then he would sink like a block of ice and how would we get home? Those rugged individuals Judy Merrick and Joe Bowen took the plunge.  I just took movies.
     Started for home at 3:30, Kathie at helm. She spurned the help of the automatic pilot, preferring to prove that she was as efficient as any old machine.
Friday, June 21, 1957, Cohasset to Gloucester
      “Do you realize today is the longest day of the year?” said Marion, as we started for Gloucester at 6:30 p.m.
      “My God,” said Ed, “it’s practically winter already.”
      It is depressing to think that Nature, after presenting us with the gift of this lovely long day, will henceforth hold back more and more of the sun until it’s pitch black at 5:00 p.m. I can think of only one consolation: the children will know when it’s time to come home for supper.
     Picked up a mooring at Smith’s Cove, had Happy Hour with the Marshes. Marion prepared Hungarian Goulash with rice, added French Dressing, thinking it was extra gravy. The result was so tasty we have decided to call it “French Hungarian Goulash” and send the recipe to the next Pillsbury contest.
Saturday, June 22, 1957, Gloucester to Rockport
      Heard Marshes stirring around 7:30, got up to a beautiful morning on the next-longest day of the year. The aroma of frying bacon had no effect on our slumbering Captain. We tried hammering on his stateroom door, and that did it. Then Marion demonstrated an easy way to peel a soft-boiled egg.
     “You tap the top of it with a spoon to crack it, like so, then you roll it gently between your hands like so . . .  ”  The egg disintegrated at this point, but Marion concluded gamely, “and then you lick your fingers like so.” Since this was my egg she was licking off her fingers, she got no pats on the back from me.
      Ed worked on the generator for an hour while the Marshes and I read our books. The generator had refused to shut off last night after we picked up our mooring. Ed finally had to throw the main battery switch to silence the thing. It is now fixed, but only on a temporary basis. (Jim Gracie, we need you.)
      When we went ashore, we moseyed along a narrow little street, and our attention was caught by a display of dozens of rose bushes behind a weathered wood fence. We leaned on the fence, admiring and exclaiming, whereupon the owner suddenly spoke up from behind an evergreen and invited us into his yard. He was a genuine Cape Cod character, brusque, laconic, but not above enjoying our pleasure in his hobby. He has lived in Gloucester for fifty-one years, told us his garden is one of the most photographed spots in Gloucester. It overlooks the harbor, so we were able to point out our hobby to the gentleman.
      “Ever catch a tuna?” he asked.
      “No,” the Captain confessed, at which our host laughed outright for the first time. .
      We boarded the next bus and got off in the center of Gloucester, picked up souvenirs for the children in Bill Brown’s department store, shopped for groceries at the First National.
      Returned to Rocky Neck, broke out the beer, started for Rockport. As we went through the Annisquam Canal, I served some of my famous steamed frozen clams. Freezing doesn’t seem to hurt them. Had to stop when the tender of the railroad bridge waved a red flag and minutes later a train roared over the bridge.
      At 3:00 tied up at the Public Dock (“15 minutes only”) and Ed went to the Yacht Club to inquire about a guest mooring. Like Cohasset’s Yacht Club, no such thing existed. We were advised to pick up the Sea Scouts’mooring, which we did with difficulty. It’s a small, crowded harbor and the nearest boat seemed determined to nest with us, a complete stranger. We barely managed to keep her at arm’s length.
      Ed had a swim--by degrees. He stalled around so long I finally said,“Get out of the way,” and lowered myself into the water from the ladder. It was wonderful once you got out, which I did immediately. After five or six hours of “accustoming myself to the water,” Ed had a real swim. From then on he kept hounding me to have a real swim, too. In the end I silenced him by agreeing to take a real swim if he’d agree to take a course at Arthur Murray’s with me. [He eventually did this, groaning and protesting all the while. When it ended, he was too smart to let the dance school’s sales people con him into signing up for 5-year or even lifetime courses at their special low rate.  bbm 10-28-00.]
      After charcoal-broiled steak for dinner we went ashore in the dinghy. (I forgot to include Marion’s trick-of-the-week. Even before her first cocktail she tried to light a cigarette with her new lighter. The lighter worked fine, but she’d neglected to put a cigarette between her lips. “Hot-lips Marsh,” we call her.)
      As I was saying, we tied up at Sandy Bay Yacht Club’s dock. There seemed no way of getting out of our fenced-in confines except by going through the Yacht Club proper. In the main room were four dignified elderly gentlemen playing cribbage. “Hi,” Marion said gaily as we went by. They replied with a stare and a slight nod, whereupon Wes lectured Marion on the proper way to greet elderly cribbage players. “If you must say something, say `How do you do.” “Oh phooey,” said Marion.
      We pushed through the gate, then had a discomfiting thought--would we be able to get back in again? Above the gate -- which had swung firmly closed -- was a sign warning, “For Yacht Club members only.” Wes vowed he wasn’t so old that he couldn’t clamber over the picket fence if necessary. Well, we’d hurdle that fence when we came to it, but meanwhile we wanted to see Rockport.
      Having promised Vonnie I would call her, I stepped into a phone booth and rang the house. Vonnie had gone to Plymouth to see the Mayflower II with the Tufts and had seen V.P. Nixon really close. Timmy wanted to know if we’d caught any fish, his stock question whether we are phoning from Fort Lauderdale or Scituate Harbor.
      Our tour ended, we gathered outside the sacred gate of Sandy Bay Yacht Club and attempted to open it. As we had feared, we were locked out. Ed followed the fence along until he spotted some young members on the other side, sitting on the porch. “Will you let us in, please?” 
     “Just give the gate a kick,” we were told. No secret password, no card or permit; just give the gate a kick. This is worth remembering.
Sunday, June 23, 1957, Rockport to Cohasset
      Spent an idle morning poring over the Sunday papers and taking movies of a couple of amateurs in a sailboat. I kept my fingers crossed when it looked for a while as if they would capsize but no such excitement for the Log.
      Around 12:30, started for home by way of Cape Ann. Marion prepared a delicious salad for lunch, using no dressing except a little lemon juice.
      Arrived 3:45. Winds predicted by Weather Bureau were not as gusty as expected. It’s extremely hot in the harbor — pity the poor landlubbers.
Saturday, June 29, 1957, Cohasset
      Ed worked on engine in harbor this afternoon. Too windy to take Vonnie and Timmy to Scituate Harbor for the night, as planned.
Sunday, June 30, 1957, Cohasset
      Vonnie and Debbie Eaton spent the night aboard the Matthews.  Ed, Tim, and I came down to the Yacht Club at 10:15, found the skiff back at the dock, no sign of the girls.  I went back to the house looking for them, thinking we might have missed them when we picked up Sunday papers. No girls. Called Lou Eaton. “Are the girls over there?”
      “No,” he said uneasily.
      “Well, they’re in from the boat,” I hastily reassured him—“That’s good!”—“but now they’re among the missing, and we had planned to take them to Scituate Harbor for some swimming and fishing.”
      Story’s happy ending: I found Vonnie and Debbie. They were up in the barn, getting an old birdcage for Vonnie’s teddy bear.
      Last night they smuggled the teddy bear and their dolls to the boat in a wicker basket.
      “Why don’t you just carry them?” I asked.
      “We don’t want anyone to know we still play with dolls at our age.”
      We anchored off the coast of Scituate, the girls swam.  I fed them ravioli and hamburg patties. Later we sailed into Scituate Harbor, found Pinkhams and Reids aboard the Seabird II. Alden swam over and chatted for a while with Ed. Squall was approaching from northwest, Alden thought we should stay in harbor until it passed over, but Ed decided to high-tail it back to Cohasset. Arrived 3 p.m. in plenty of time for Tim’s Little League game at 4:00.
Friday, July 12, 1957, Cohasset to Provincetown
         Departure time for weekend with Jack and Connie Barnard--3:30 p.m. At 3:00 I went down to the dock with suitcase and fresh sheets, thinking to get things shipshape before we started, beheld Jim Gracie, laboring down in the black hole, the rug rolled up, the hatches wide open.
      “Something wrong?” I asked.
      “No, just trying to get these gears to work a little easier.”
      I crawled over him and began stowing away clothes and stripping bunks in the staterooms.
      “When are you planning to leave?” Jim called.
      “In half an hour,” I said. “Oh,” he said. “Why?” I said.
      “I thought you were going tomorrow morning.”
      A horrible suspicion dawned. I opened the icebox door. No ice. “No ice, Jim?”
      “No ice, no gas, no nothing,” he sighed.
      I knew Ed was on his way, and not caring to be a witness to mayhem, I thought of an important errand and scrammed.
      When I returned, the impossible had been accomplished -- it was quarter of four, the boat was gassed and iced, Jim was still alive. The Barnards were ready and waiting, Ed looked only slightly apoplectic.
      Con-Con had forgotten a most important item -- her stock-in-trade (and I don’t mean bathing suit)
-- her camera. There wasn’t time to go back for it, not if she wanted to join us, so at 4:00 we got under way. Captain Bligh would brook no further delays.
      Arrived Provincetown 8:00 p.m. Broke open Jack’s contribution, imported champagne that had been cooling in a bucket of ice.  It tasted every bit as superb as domestic. After a steak dinner, we lowered the dinghy and putted into the Provincetown dock. Our first port of call was our old hangout, the Ace of Spades. It was as exclusive as ever. In order to get in, you had to -- or Ed had to -- produce identification for what appeared to be a policeman and then sign the register.  Satisfied that Ed was not Public Enemy # One, this official allowed the rest of us to enter, provided we would also sign the register.
      The place was packed with hordes of tourists seated on kegs around circular tables, stealing speculative glances at one another, their expressions plainly saying, “Do you suppose she's one? Or ”Do you suppose he's one?” An attractive black-haired lad thumped away on the piano; behind him sat a dark-skinned slant-eyed girl who looked like Eartha Kitt. 
     “Channel, “ the blond lady with glasses who will paint your portrait in ten minutes for $1.50, was on hand in one of her remarkable get-ups. This time she was wearing something that looked like a short loudly-striped beach coat over something that looked like a stylish-stout bathing suit.
      Our next stop was the Atlantic House. The downstairs bar was impenetrable, so we climbed up to the second floor and were seated at a table. The jazz piano player was followed by a large, handsome woman who proved to be an excellent entertainer. She knew how to project a song -- and woe unto him who didn’t listen. Her henchmen stood ready to gag any customer who tried to compete in voice volume.
      We left as the bar was closing and headed for our sea-going cocktail lounge. It was only 1:30 when Ed concocted our nightcaps, which seemed an excellent time to start a rubber of bridge. `Twas the girls against the boys, and being too modest to brag about the outcome, I will let the record speak for itself. (By the way, is down four doubled and vulnerable really only 1800 points or did we cheat ourselves?) [We cheated ourselves. I just looked it up and it’s 2300. bbm 10-28-00.]
Saturday, July 13, 1957, Provincetown to Barnstable
       Got up around ten, which gave us nearly six hours of sleep. Jack and Con had a swim. I fried bacon and cut up last night’s cold boiled potato and browned it in the bacon fat. [Horrors!] This was a special treat for Jack who had declared last night there was nothing he would like better for breakfast. That was last night. This morning he looked at the fried potatoes and then hastily looked away. He looked at the ceiling, he looked at the floor, he looked out the window. He preferred to look at anything as long as it wasn’t fried potatoes.
      “Don’t you feel well, Jack?” asked Ed.
      “Oh, I feel all right,” Jack allowed. “I’m just not sure how long it’s going to last.”
      While the rest of us had a hearty breakfast, Jack sat mutely absorbed in his inner workings. He appeared to be measuring the distance to the head, at times, and I hoped he would make it if the occasion (or anything else) arose.
      The aroma of hot coffee had a beneficial effect, fortunately, and after a few tentative sips, the man actually smiled. “I do believe,” he said cautiously --  “I do believe I’ve crossed the bar.”
      At 1:00 p.m. we set out for Barnstable, where we had arranged to call the Stapleses and Kingsburys and get together for dinner. [Art Kingsbury was Ed’s roommate at Wesleyan; Mary Staples was Art’s sister.]
      We were able to get a slip at the new Barnstable Marina, a popular port. As there were yachts close by on either side of us, I recommended to our Captain that we have Happy Hour with the Staples and Kingburys aboard the Happy Days, then after dinner go back to the “Farm,” in Sandwich, for further revelry, thus sparing our neighbors any late hour disturbance.
      Our guests arrived at 6:30. Connie and I were decked out in our most flamboyant costumes, Con in a becoming print sheath, exotic-looking with its hot tropical orange and scarlet color combination. Burnt orange sandals to match, drop earrings carrying out the color scheme. I wore my bright red “squaw”dress. Not to be outdone, Jack and Ed donned their flamboyant Madras jackets. A more violent collection of colors and patterns have never before been assembled in the saloon of the Happy Days.
      Introductions completed, the eight of us sat around reminiscing and discovering friends and acquaintances in common from old college days. This is always great fun for everyone but me, whose old college days at Smith hardly lasted long enough for me to get acquainted with anyone but the mailman. He was impressed by Ed’s daily letters.
      Dick was bowled over by Con-Con so fast, I can only call it a strike. Not that she went out of her way to be devastating -- she just sat there looking delectable and Dick sat there looking hungry.
      We progressed to the Barnstable Inn. Alone with Mary and Marietta in the Ladies Room, I agreed that yes, Connie was a fascinating female but assured them that when they got to know her better, they couldn’t help but like her anyway.
      After dinner we were driven to the Farm, saw the remodeled barn where Art and Marietta are spending the summer with their two children, a handsome boy and a cute blond girl who looks like her Auntie Mary. Then Mary showed us her three little boys, none of whom seemed to mind being roused for midnight introductions.
Monday, July 29, 1957, Nantucket to beach and tennis courts
      In spite of good resolutions, slept late again today. Had planned to go to the beach first, play tennis later, in order to enjoy the sun at its warmest. First, however, it was necessary to replenish our ice and water supply. Instead of returning to our mooring location, Ed took it into his head to go for a little spin in the boat. When I realized what he was doing, I expressed my opinion of such time-consuming, tennis-sabotaging nonsense.
      “I expect this was the shortest spin we’ve ever been on,” Ed commented as he dutifully swung the boat around. “Now we know who’s boss in this family,” he added, hurting my feelings in front of the Thaxters. We all know who’s boss in their family, I could have retaliated but refrained.
      It was after 11:30 when we went ashore. Ed wanted to buy bathing trunks, so we walked into a fancy shop where he found a pair for $11.95. He left them where he found them and walked back to the village dry-goods store, promising to meet us on the bus (which he would be catching at a different stop).
      Figuring we had time and money to burn, Jayne and I explored the fancy shop while Blake paced up and down outside, alternately reading “The Black-eyed Blonde” and threatening us with bodily harm if we missed the bus. I bought a bathing cap covered with black petals, which made me look like Gina Lollobrigida from the ears back. Jayne yearned after a $115 dress and some $19 sandals but resisted temptation. We joined the restless tiger outside and walked to the bus stop. Met the bus on its way back from the beach and were told by the driver that he was going to lunch and wouldn’t be back until 12:30.
      Now the question was, where was old Ed? Jayne and I suggested that Blake walk back to the village bus stop to see if he might be waiting there. Meanwhile, we might as well browse around the fancy shop a little longer. Blake groaned and lowered his bushy, sun-bleached eyebrows. Unlike most folks who raise their eyebrows to express displeasure or disapproval, Blake always lowers his. Jayne and I asked the prices of a few more fabulous items, receiving the bad news in a blasé manner for a couple of dames accustomed to shopping at Sidney Gates in North Scituate.
      Now the question was, where were old Ed and old Blake? We trudged over to the village bus stop, found old Blake with his nose stuck in the Black-eyed Blonde, figuratively speaking, but old Ed was still among the missing. We sat on the curbstone and waited for the bus driver to finish his lunch. Twelve-thirty arrived, but our driver didn’t. We decided he was a greedy boor. At 12:40, Blake decided to give him a punch in the nose if he didn’t show up pronto. At one o’clock the bus drew up and we all piled meekly in.
      Ed was waiting for us at the Jettys Bath House, smugly rocking on the porch, his feet propped up on the railing. He had caught the bus before the driver went to lunch, so obviously Jayne and I were to blame for this fiasco, having wasted so much time in the fancy shop. This was obvious to Ed and Blake, that is. To me, it was obvious—after giving the matter some serious thought—that Ed and his “little spin” were to blame. I had difficulty getting him to see this, but he complimented me for trying. “Drop dead,” is what he said, actually, but I knew he meant it as a tribute.
      More loafing on the beach after lunch on the terrace. Then we caught the 5:00 bus back to the village. Picked up steak and groceries at First National, ran up a bill we didn’t have cash enough for, learned the manager would accept a check. Had one set of tennis and got kicked off at six because of the water shortage. (It follows, really it does.)
      During cocktail hour our captain, a sheet or two to the wind, contributed this reassuring tidbit of information: he had plenty of fire preservers and life extinguishers. After dinner we played bridge.
Tuesday, July 30, 1957, Nantucket
      Every morning I say to Ed from our forward cabin, “What time is it?” This morning it was 9:30. I’ve been wondering what time we’d all get up if I failed to ask this question. Presumably it is my stirring around as I get dressed that galvanizes the rest of them into opening their eyes. I’ll bet without me they’d sleep through to Happy Hour.
      Took launch ashore at 11:30, tried to arrange for court, were told by Miss Fussbudget there wasn’t one available until 1:00. The fellows decided to go take a look at the Coastguard boat, and Jayne and I went shopping. We returned to the Yacht Club at 12:40, found Ed and Blake playing tennis—they’d been playing for half an hour. The lady at the desk certainly gets things mixed up; Jayne and I are convinced she does it on purpose.
      Played three or four sets of tennis, seemed too cool, windy, and overcast to go to the beach. Somehow frittered away the afternoon doing not much of anything. Saw a girl come in from sailing, supported as she walked, by a man—her arm had been injured, perhaps broken, we heard.  Moral: stinkpots are safer than sailboats.
      Called home. Ted has been throwing stones at Vonnie. Ed called his dad. Grandpa didn’t sound pleased at his announcement that we might stay over until Sunday instead of going home Thursday night. Ed was downcast because he says there’s no real necessity for him to go back.
      Returned to the Happy Days at 4:30. Had early cocktails, early dinner, early bridge game.  Retired at 11:00 after vowing that  we’d get up at eight.
Wednesday, July 31, 1957, Nantucket
      I roused everyone at eight, as agreed. It took a lot of door slamming and pot rattling but I finally did rouse them. Much thanks I got for my efforts. Jayne and Ed were so morose they would hardly speak, and when they spoke I wished they hadn’t. Ed grumbled that when I brushed my teeth I sounded like a power lawn mower. This, after all I’d put up with night after night, cooped in with him and his dental floss. 
     We were playing tennis by 9:30, lunching at 11:30. We discussed the possibility of staying through Sunday or meeting Ray at some port on our way home Saturday. (We had been calling Ray day and night for the last three days, but there was never any answer.)
      Ed got on the phone to see how things were in Boston and Detroit; Blake, Jayne and I took the noon bus to the beach. The driver was going to lunch, so Ed walked after completing his phone calls.
      Jayne did her disappearing act after dinner, so Ed and I took the launch out to the Happy Days, leaving the skiff for Blake. Since she was only a little bit mad, she didn’t stay lost for more than half an hour.
      Took movies of Blake getting nowhere as he tried to row Jayne back to the Happy Days. What with one oar slipping out and the tide against him, it looked for a while as if he’d never make it. A nautical Sisyphus, you could say.
Thursday, August 1, 1957, Nantucket to Falmouth
      Fogged in early this morning, clearing by nine. “Off again, on again” Malley was apparently serious about heading for home. I expressed disappointment, my point being that this might be the best opportunity we’d have to carry out our long-anticipated rendezvous with the Witch-Way. The Thaxters were game, provided they could be in Cohasset by noon Sunday, as the deadline for their various club championship tennis matches is Monday. Called Ray and learned his schedule. Falmouth Friday, Hadley’s Harbor Saturday. Conferred and conferred and conferred. Well, maybe, maybe we would meet Ray in Falmouth.
      First Ed had to call his father and test his reaction. Perhaps, he confided to Blake, he would exaggerate the weather conditions a little. Grandpa failed to pass the test. His first reaction was Grrrr. His second was “Don’t give me that *^#)+* about fog!” “Okay, Dad,” Ed said, vanquished, “I’ll  see you on Monday."
      Next, Jayne had to pull together a lot of loose ends at home. Dogs, cats, children, arranging tennis matches—she returned from the telephone booth looking as if she’d been accidentally locked in a steam room for five days. There!” she gasped, collapsing into a chair. A beer for breakfast revived her. As a matter of fact, it was too late for breakfast anyway, we would settle for lunch as soon as we went to the beach.
      Missed bus by a hair, took giant steps to next stop and caught it. Spent afternoon loafing and sunning. Ed constructed a new mosaic. Blake regretted that he hadn’t brought his camera. Played tennis 5-6 o’clock. I phoned house, talked to Kathie, Vonnie, Mom, Big Vaughan. All is well except Ted is being fresh.
      Had a drink on the Yacht Club terrace with Thaxters, decided it would be fun to invite Alden and Florence to nest with us in Falmouth tomorrow. I talked to Flo; she said she’d relay the message to Alden.
      Early cocktails, early supper, 9:30 bed. Unbelievable.
Friday, August 2, 1957, Nantucket
      Had our regular a.m. plunge at 8:30. Jayne and Ed had a stimulating argument about the temperature of the water. Jayne: “I think the water’s colder today.” Ed:“No, it isn’t.” Jayne: “Yes it is.” Ed: “No, no, no, no, no!”
      Blake settled the impasse with one of his more profound pronouncements: “The reason the water feels colder today is because the temperature is lower.”
       Then Blake dove in. With a shocked roar, he rose out of the water so high I thought he was standing on a reef. “It’s cold!” he bellowed.
      Jayne took movies of Blake doing some of the water stunts he learned in Europe. The stunt from Germany is to raise one foot out of the water. The stunt from France is exactly the same, only you raise the foot a little higher. In France, he explained, they do everything to extremes.
      Played tennis. Left for Falmouth at 12:30. Beautiful trip across, weather perfect. Arrived 4:15, picked up a mooring opposite Falmouth Marina Railways. Roy Whisnand cruised into the harbor five minutes later. Told us he was going to Hadley’s Harbor for the night. “What’s the matter, you chicken?” he wanted to know.
      “Stay here and play with us and the Remicks.”
      “Isn’t Ray going to be in Hadley’s Harbor?” asked Roy. We heard this question with a sinking feeling. Could we have misunderstood Ray?
      No, we had all heard him say Falmouth Friday, Hadley’s Harbor Saturday.
      “If that blockhead has fouled this up. . . ” Ed said.
      Roy went on his way. At 5:15 Ray steamed in.
      Had cocktails aboard the Witch-Way with Remicks, Tosis, Pattysons. Rowed back to the Happy Days around 7:30 to dress for dinner. Once we were all ashore, Ray called a couple of cabs and we drove to the new Coonamesset Inn. Everyone autographed Ed’s new Captain’s cap, then stamped on it and rubbed dirt into it to make it look properly weathered.
                                   
                                        NEW CAP, PROPERLY WEATHERED

      Returned to Witch-Way. Jayne and I outlasted Marie, Debbie, Dottie. Blake piloted the skiff “home,” maneuvering so slowly and cautiously that it took us twenty minutes to go a hundred yards. Several boat lengths from the Happy Days he cut the motors so we could “drift down on her.” This cost us another twenty minutes, especially since Jayne playfully pushed us away from the boat whenever we got near it. The captain was irked.
Saturday, August 3, 1957, Nantucket to Falmouth
      Slept late this morning, breakfasted on scraps remaining in icebox, had to split eight ounces of milk three ways. (Blake nobly abstained.) A trip to the market was in order. We chugged over to the Witch-Way. Dottie and Ray decided to come ashore with us for the exercise. We asked a man how to get to the village and he hospitably offered to drive us there. Our bundles were so heavy, we took a cab back to the harbor. Our exercise for the day was mainly climbing in and out of cars.
      Sat around Witch-Way waiting for electrician to finish working on Ray’s wiring. We had hoped to meet Roy Whisnand in Hadley’s Harbor for lunch, but at noon the electrician disappeared—for lunch, we presumed—and it appeared Ray might be tied up for hours. Thaxters and Malleys returned to the Happy Days and had sandwiches.
      Ray was set to go shortly after 2:30. We played tag with each other across Buzzard’s Bay, arrived Marion two hours later. While Ed and Blake were attempting to drop the anchor, I did some backseat piloting. After hauling the anchor up and changing location three times, they finally settled on a spot that suited me. Ed is now looking for a wife to suit him. The Witch-Way pulled alongside and nested but was a little too amorous—she squeezed the stuffing out of our bumpers. The sawdust-like insides were blown all over both boats, a pretty mess. Blake and Ed washed down the sides with buckets of water, but we were still well stuccoed inside.
      We had invited the Witch-Way crowd over for cocktails. After we all had a swim, they piled over, bearing melting trays of ice (Ray’s generator wasn’t working) and hors d’oeuvres supplied by Gerry Tosi. Ray started up his charcoal grill after an hour or so and Ed started his. There was a mild bit of rivalry between them to see who could build the most efficient fire. Ed won, but it was a Pyrrhic victory—by the time our guests departed to eat their steak, our coals were so low that our steak wouldn’t give a sizzle. Meanwhile Ray’s guests decided they’d like to be able to see what they were eating (no lights because of the generator trouble), and one by one they filtered back to the Happy Days. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t much of anything working on Ray’s boat except (said Dottie) Dottie. Ray was so jealous of our generator that he kept claiming the“glaring lights” on our boat were blinding him. He also came up with snide comments about our “thin, paper-thin minute steaks” as compared to their thick, juicy, tender, delicious sirloin. Ray’s sense of humor evoked roars of laughter from Ray.
       Jayne was telling the Tosis and Pattysons that her mother had married Blake’s father.
       “This is one case where the children aren’t crazy even though Jayne and Blake are `sister and `brother,’” Dottie pointed out.
      “No, in this case, it’s the parents who are crazy,” I said. No one heard me except Ray, and he laughed so heartily that I vowed I would hereafter laugh at his jokes.
       Our guests departed after dinner, and Jayne and I did the dishes. It was only around 9:30, and we congratulated ourselves that things had broken up so early. We were leaving Marion at 7:30 a.m. and thank goodness we would get a good night’s sleep.
      We were peacefully enjoying a nightcap when the invasion started. One by one Ray’s guests—who were also having a nightcap and wanted to see what they were drinking— drifted over to join us and our glaring lights. In no time at all the party was going strong again.
      At last they decided they’d better leave because we kept telling them to. We un-nested and the Witch-Way anchored within shouting distance.
      “We’re still in pretty good shape,” I said. “It’s only 10:30.” We were finishing our drinks when we heard a splash outside the boat.  It was Gerry Tosi, out for a stroll in the water.  He was followed by Bruce Pattyson. Got to bed at 11:30.
Sunday, August 4, 1957, Marion to Cohasset
      Blake and Ed were up at 7:30 and it was anchors aweigh for Cohasset. It poured rain off and on, ran into heavy fog when we entered the Canal. At the east end, we stopped at a little harbor where we had arranged for the senior Thaxters to bring Debbie and her cousin Diane. The idea was to pick the girls up, saving Jayne the drive to Centerville in the morning. As we were over an hour late, Jayne was concerned that the folks might have assumed we were weather-bound. They might wait a while and then drive back to Centerville with the girls.
      The only dock space in this harbor belonged to the government, so Ed decided to tie up beside a sailboat, which in turn was tied up next to a trawler. The people aboard the sailboat were very cooperative and friendly. As they seemed interested in our boat, we invited them aboard while Ed and Blake went to look for the little girls. There was no sign of the grandparents, as far as they could see.
      The boat was extremely messy and dirty. Our hassock had been left out in the rain a week ago and had sprung a leak. Bits of straw were all over the carpet. Nor had we had the time or inclination to clean up the litter from last night’s busted bumper. Was that only last night? It seems like a year ago. If we’d known we were going to have company, we might have been inspired to do some house-cleaning. Our guests were keen about the boat in spite of her disreputable condition.
      We edged over to the Government dock and quickly and efficiently picked up the two little girls. Ed was anxious to get going; small craft warnings were up, but he figured we could make it to Cohasset before the winds got too strong. He and Debbie didn’t see eye to eye on this matter. She jumped up and down and clapped her hands when she heard we might run into fog or rough weather. She ran around the deck-house crying, “I’m seasick, I’m seasick!” That gave Jayne an idea, and she distributed Dramamine, just in case.
      We did run into intermittent fog, but the Dramamine worked so well on Debbie and her cousin that they slept through the trip home. Around noon, while Jayne was napping, I got busy gathering up laundry into pillow slips and cleaning out the ice-box. I threw out remnants of food I thought no one would want. I hesitated over the lettuce—honest, Jayne—because we were out of ice and it seemed dry and wilted. When Jayne awoke there was just one thing in the world she wanted: a tuna fish sandwich--with lettuce.
      Arrived Cohasset shortly before 2:00. Ed was gloating that he didn’t have to rush up to the club to play a match. “I think you do, old boy!” Blake told him. That possibility had not occurred to Ed, and he was not happy about it. Then it began to rain--he loved every drop.

No comments:

Post a Comment