Sunday, July 23, 2017


Sept. 12, 1953
Cohasset to Stellwagen Ledge
     Took thirteen boys and girls, including Kathie and Teddy, out on a shark-fishing expedition in our new Matthews. Wind strong, sea rough, but nevertheless shark sighted by Gaynor Studds, caught on rod and reel by Bob Francis.
     Half the crowd became seasick on the way home. Bob Francis said, “Think of the people who wouldn’t give anything to be with us right now.”
     Caroline Harding asked a friend to fetch her lunch.
     “Where is it, in the galley?”
     “No, it’s in the kitchen
Sept. 13, 1953 Cohasset to Scituate Harbor, Time 11:00, Wind 35mph, Bar.29
     Arrived Scituate Harbor with Pinkhams. Had lunch, drinks, played bridge, napped. Weather very rough, wind from SSE. Returned to Cohasset. Had big boat warming celebration for the Happy Days.
P.S. (by first mate): Who got locked in the head for an hour and a half? What two people walked home because they couldn’t find their car keys? Who started out in gray flannel trousers and ended up in gray flannel shorts? And whatever became of Sally?
[August 1991]
     At age seventy-nine, I can answer only two of these questions. It was Dottie Remick who got locked in the head. It was Captain Malley who fell overboard while giving upside-down instructions to Dottie through the porthole.
    July 3, 1954, Cohasset to Onset
     Left Cohasset at 5 a.m., arrived Onset 10 a.m. Had lunch, big fight, got gas, and reconciled. The fight was about whether to stay in Onset, as I wanted, or to proceed to Nantucket, as the Captain wanted.
     In Onset we met a couple named Bob and Juan Seth who were moored near us and invited us aboard. They live in Needham but stay in Onset weekends, living on their boat. We found we had lots in common: Matthews boats, horse-crazy daughters, and a fondness for escaping our responsibilities whenever we can. Bob is a commercial airline pilot. Ed said he intends to get his flying license some day. Over my prostrate body, I said.
     We discussed our arrangements for childcare when we are cruising. The Seths have a maid and a governess and three children about the same ages as our four. We told them about our Kathryn Kilpinen, who helps my mother and Vaughan—my childhood caretaker—cope with our youngsters: Kathie, fourteen, Ted, twelve, Vonnie, nine, and Timmy seven. We described them as lively offspring. Especially Timmy.
     The Seths said they were attending a clambake tomorrow at the Independence Yacht Club and Bob wangled last-minute tickets for us.
July 4, 1954
     We invited the Seths for a couple of drinks aboard the Happy Days and arrived at the yacht club an hour late. There was still plenty of food, baked in a pit in the old-fashioned way: lobsters, clams, corn, sweet potato, hot dogs, and watermelon for those who had room left. The Seths wouldn’t let us pay for our tickets or even buy them a beer.
     Went back to Seths’ boat (Jac-Lyn), chatted and drank for hours. Then Juan produced some hamburgers and we called it a day.
July 5, 1954, Onset to Cohasset
     Headed for home, stopping at the east end of the canal to fish for a while.
July 10, 1954, Cohasset to Osterville
     Left with Jill and Bob Whitcomb at 9:15 a.m. Had lobster sandwiches en route, were warned by the U.S. army engineers that we were going too fast through the Canal. Stopped at Onset for gas. On way to Osterville, sighted wreck of 65-foot cruiser on rocks near Woods Hole; later learned it belonged to Marshall Field, THE Marshall Field, who had escaped safely with family and crew.
     Due to a slight miscalculation, we chugged into Cotuit and looked unavailingly for Ray Remick, who had promised to meet us at Osterville. A Cotuit native set us straight and we were on our way out when we were met by Remicks, Walkers, Bob O’Keefe, Keith Staples, and others in a Chris Craft. The remarks made concerning our sense of direction were not flattering.
     Had cocktails at beautiful new home of the O’Keefes, (where Ray and Dottie were spending the weekend), decorated in both senses of the word by Bob’s pretty platinum-blond wife, Juan. Had dinner at Rofmar’s. Were driven to dock by tall, dark bachelor, Keith Staples (Juan’s cousin), who kept us laughing with his droll monologues and no-handies system of driving. He had a rum bottle in one hand and kept gesticulating with the other, managing the steering wheel with his knees.
     Had a number of guests aboard for cocktails after dinner. The Walkers, whose family has a house near the O’Keefes joined us, bringing with them a strange couple. Then they went home, leaving us with the strange couple, who stayed until 3:45.
July 11, 1954, Osterville to Osterville
     Arose at 9:30, played a lethargic game of tennis with the Walkers at the Oyster Harbors Club, a swanky joint with courts on the beach, cool breezes blowing, and even a small orchestra playing nearby. Had a number of guests for lunch: Remicks, O’Keefes, and a friend of O’Keefes--Ellen Toner who knows the Louis Watsons of Cohasset Hardware Store fame.
     Bob O’Keefe and Juan took us all for a cruise in their boat, Juan II (pun intended).. The Remicks and Keith Staples joined us aboard the Happy Days for a charcoal-broiled steak dinner.
July 12, 1954, Osterville to Onset
     Proceeded toward Onset, trolled for a while, caught our usual quota of fish--none. On to Onset, cocktails, and charcoal-broiled lamb chops. Went ashore to see the see the sights of the big city. Had drinks in an exotic beer joint thronged with two old ladies watching television.
July 13, 1954, Onset to Provincetown.
     Today was supposed to be the last day of our cruise with the Whitcombs. We decided to go home via Provincetown, where a school of tuna were allegedly waiting to be canned. We ignored the small craft warning flag at the east end of the Canal and proceeded merrily to Provincetown. It was a grand ride with the wind behind us, but when we turned toward home, tuna fishless, alarming things began to happen.
     I was down in the galley making sandwiches when the frying pan sailed by my head and crashed into the sink. The bottles in the icebox clashed together. A number of articles normally belonging in the saloon came bounding down the gangway. We hastened to secure everything valuable, especially Jill who is doubly valuable at the moment.
     Captain Malley conferred with Mate Whitcomb and decided it would be wise to turn back to PTown and spend the night there. This is the first time we ever turned back because of bad weather. Bob was supposed to be at work tomorrow for sure--had several important appointments--but he said, “What difference will it make fifty years from now?” an attitude we all regarded as admirable. [Still admirable fifty-seven years later -- bbm 9-23-11, happily blogging]
Bob cheered us by opening some quahogs we purchased at Onset. The trick, he says, is not to scare them. If you scare them, they clam up.
July 14, 1954, Provincetown to Cohasset
     Weather much improved today. Did a little fishing outside Provincetown before we headed for home. Caught four bluefish but no sign of tuna. Left PT around 12:30, sighted Lawson’s Tower at 2:15.
     This cruise has been perfect. The Whitcombs were wonderful company--all three of them. Jill was a great sport, diving overboard at all hours of the day and night. When the baby arrives six weeks hence, its middle name should be Neptune.
July 24, 1954, Cohasset to Provincetown
     Left Cohasset at 8:45 with Kathie and Teddy, arrived PTown around 11:15. Beautiful, unusually clear day, could see everything but fish. Finally sighted several schools of what may have been bluefish or even tuna. We like to think they were tuna.
     Trolled awhile, then anchored in PTown Harbor at 4:30. Prepared tenderloin steak, potato salad, and fresh tomatoes. Ted cut into his steak a little too energetically, and his dinner slid into his lap.
     “Why do these things always happen to me?” he complained.
      Decided the only way to catch any fish was to get up very early tomorrow morning and catch `em napping.
July 25, 1954, Provincetown to Cohasset
     We all got up very early this morning, went to the head, and returned to bed. Finally arose for good at 8:30. I prepared juice and cereal for the rest of the family, then crisp-fried a little mackerel Ted caught a couple of days ago. No one was interested in it when it lay stone cold dead in the ice box; but the minute I sat down with fork poised over the steaming fish, they all wagged their tails and begged for a sample. I wound up with little more than the backbone.
     It was a damp, glowering sort of day, no sign of fish. Nothing to do but eat again. For lunch we had cheeseburgers, the serving of which is a complicated procedure in my family. They are all damn particular about their condiments. Teddy insists on ketchup, no relish; Kathie can't abide ketchup but likes mustard with plenty of relish; Ed ordered ketchup with just a little relish. Me? I settled for a couple of mistakes..
     On our way home early in the afternoon, we stopped and looked for sharks out by the draggers. They weren't there. Arrived Cohasset 2:30.
July 31, 1954, Cohasset to Onset
     I still don’t believe it. Here we are, halfway to Onset with prone-to-be seasick Jack Barnard and cruise-shy Sally Brewer. Also on board are Jack’s wife Connie and Sally’s husband Whitey. Already a couple of exciting things have occurred, the most exciting being when I barged in on Jack when he was changing into his bathing trunks. My, what a fine looking young man he is. Great legs. Then Sally lost her hat and we didn’t go back for it and the captain lost his and we did. A man in a speedboat kindly retrieved it, tossed it over, missed, retrieved it again, this time succeeded in returning it. This is the biggest fishing event we have had all summer.
     Met Seths in Canal on way out to meet us. Arrived Onset 3:30, had swim among the jellyfish, dove for scallops and an escaped beer mug. The boys took turns wearing Ed’s skin-diving helmet, which made their faces look mashed, as if they’d pulled nylon stockings over their heads.
     The Seths joined us for Happy Hour, made even happier by Sally’s false-teeth joke. I wish I could remember it. Then we all set out for Rofmer’s, and with Marsha Seth’s guidance, soon got lost. Finally arrived at 8:00 and dinner was served promptly at 12:00. In the interim we sang quite a number of songs and drank quite a number of cocktails. Someone said something very funny which we all agreed to remember for the Log and perhaps someday we will, along with the false-teeth joke.
     Had a nightcap aboard Happy Days with the Seths. After they left, Connie, Jack, and Whitey had a swim in their birthday suits. Sally, Ed, and I peeked through the portholes to make sure they were behaving themselves.
August 1, 1954, Onset to Cohasset
     Had breakfast at yacht club snack bar. Spent most of morning trying to decide what to do, when, and where. The weather being unsettled, we decided to head for home. Stopped at Scituate Harbor so Sally could be “seen.” What was the point in going on a cruise if you couldn’t make people envious? To our surprise, whom did we run into but young Teddy Malley and Robby McGoodwin. They had outboard-motored the dinghy all the way from Cohasset to Scituate Harbor and had a fine haul of fish hanging over the side. It's humbling when a dinghy out performs a 40-foot Matthews.
Aug.4, 1954, Cohasset to Draggers
     Sue and Wally Hogan, Alden and Florence Pinkham, and Kathie left Cohasset at 10:00 a.m. in search of SHARK! Sighted beach ball and captured same with dip-net. Kathie first to see dragger. Alden scooped up some dead fish discarded by the dragger to use as bait, and these turned out to be our catch for the day. Cold boiled lobsters made an excellent lunch. We had a small flurry of activity at the beginning of our meal when a shark snapped up half our bait.
     Prepared to head for Cohasset, but one engine was balky. Captain Malley tinkered with it until he got it to sputtering irritably. One of the outriggers suddenly crashed down with a rumble and a roar, giving us all a start. On the way home Wally was reading “Of Whales and Men” but soon switched to our copy of “Sextra Special” because it was more educational, he said.
August 7, 1954, Cohasset to Menemsha
     Ed and I left Cohasset at 9:30, destination Menemsha, where we were meeting Ann and Ball Walker. Arrived 4:45, the trip taking much longer than we expected. Small, tricky harbor, had to do a lot of maneuvering to find an anchorage. Hastened to buy three dozen Little Necks from Poole’s Fish Market. Saw the Walkers waving to us from shore, so Ed went in to collect them while I showered and changed.     
     Heard Ed yelling for Ball—a seagull had snatched at a piece of bait lying on the deck of a cruiser tied to the dock. As the bait was still attached to a hook, the seagull couldn’t have been unhappier. It took Ed, Ball, and the owner of the boat to free him, although he wasn't as cooperative as Aesop’s lion with the thorn in his foot. The gull took off and hasn’t been seen since. His rescuers are now ready to face lions with thorns.
     With the Walkers aboard, the first item on the agenda was Happy Hour. Ann had been drinking Martinis all afternoon, and Martinis, she said, always made her thirsty. This condition remedied, we started the charcoal broiler, and Ball taught me how to open Little Necks.
August 8, 1954, Menemsha to Cohasset
     Up at 6:30, got breakfast while Ed worked on troublesome engine. Went out to No Man’s Land and after hours of fruitless and fishless trolling, a fin was sighted by Ball. Ed rushed to get the harpoon ready for the first heave “because of being more experienced,” and I got the skillet ready for fried swordfish. As we crept up on the fin, it flapped its wings and flew away.
     On our way home, I suddenly recalled it was Ted’s twelfth birthday. Called to congratulate him at Grandpa Malley’s, where he is spending the weekend.
August 15, 1954, Cohasset to Cohasset
     Kathie and friends Priscilla Lincoln, Wendy Walton, Roy McDonald, and Don Damon out for SHARK.  Weather lumpy but no one interested in taking a pill until Wendy got seasick; then we had a hasty run on the Dramamine.  Caught one very small shark on rod and reel.
August 18, 1954, Cohasset to Cohasset
     Today—Wednesday—Ed is stealing another mid-week holiday, and we have with us the Marshes and the Townsends. Caught one teen-age shark on rod and reel. After lunch I went below for a nap, and it is reported that the following incident took place:
     Marion suddenly began to sputter and point frantically at a spot near the boat. “Wh-wh-WHALE! S-S-SEAL!” she shouted.
     “Hmm?” Ed and Wes responded lackadaisically.“Where?”
     Then they spotted the alleged beast, which I understand was twice as long as the boat from tail to horns. A great deal of stopping and starting of engines and stomping around on the deck then took place—not conducive to napping. I gave up and emerged to see what all the excitement was about. There was nothing in sight but waves. I think they made the whole thing up to make me jealous.
     Discovered the answer to a mystery. This morning, at home, I came upon Kathryn and Marion, plotting in the kitchen.
     “What are you two whispering about?” I asked.
     “Oh, I’m just singing to myself, Mrs Malley,” said Kathryn. “Tra-la-la.”
     I later learned she was passing some candles to Marion for the cake she’d brought. (Yesterday was  my 33rd birthday.)
August 20, 1954, Cohasset to Provincetown
     Bowens, Pinkhams, and Malleys got under way at 6:30 p.m. Nan brought a thermos jug of steaming meatballs and spaghetti. This, plus French bread and Florence’s tossed salad was a delightful climax to Happy Hour.
     The girls surprised me with a birthday cake, apologizing because it was a little late. I said it was my fault for being three days premature.
     Provincetown at night looked like the Fourth of July. The sea was flat, the air balmy. Ed, Alden, Nan and I had a swim, and Florence said the phosphorescence in the water turned us into animated sparklers.
August 21, 1954, Provincetown
     Before we left Cohasset last evening, we appropriated a dozen smelts Ted had been catching at the  dock. They made a tasty breakfast. Joe Bowen said he liked any kind of fish except smelt, then helped himself to more than his share.
     We actually saw some tuna today, a good many of them. Not only that, but several were caught by neighboring cruisers. Alden suddenly called that he’d hooked something, and we all clustered around to watch him haul in a black rubber glove. Not discouraged, he kept trolling but never did catch the mate.
     At last we had a genuine thrill when Ed saw a huge black fin idling through the water. He got the harpoon ready for this tuna, which must have weighed about 600 pounds. Imagine our excitement when he gave a heave and it was accurate; Ed modestly said the fish was so enormous he couldn’t miss.
     Joe and Alden had the tuna within twenty feet of the boat, and I was dangling from the ladder with camera poised for this historic occasion when we lost him.
     After a fine steak dinner, went ashore to see the sights of Provincetown. Had nightcaps in several dives, then somehow the Pinkhams and Bowens lost the Malleys. They later informed us they marched through town shouting, “Calling Captain Malley, calling the Happy Days, over and out, we’re not receiving you very well, do you read us, Captain Malley?”
     We have added Provincetown to our list of Towns We’ll Never Dare Visit Again.
The Home Front
September 2, 1954
     On August 31st, Hurricane Carol hit New England. Cohasset Harbor didn’t suffer too much, and all we lost was our outriggers. But Onset, like many other harbors including Scituate, was hard hit. The Seths found nothing left of the Jac-Lyn but the icebox, the steering wheel, and one fishing rod. What can we say to comfort them? We don’t know any other couple who got more enjoyment out of their boat.
Famous Last Words by Robert E. Seth:
Marsha—“Are you going to put an extra line on the boat?”
Bob—“Oh no, we’re not going to get that storm.”
September 18, 1954, Cohasset
     Cold, windy, and rough. Seths, Thaxters, and Malleys ventured out a little beyond Minot’s, decided it wasn’t worth it, returned to Cohasset Harbor where we had lunch and exchanged confidences. We learned that Bob Seth has a weakness for poker on Friday afternoons, Ed Malley has a weakness for too many Martinis on weekends, and Blake Thaxter is crazy about peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches -- has several trunks full of them according to Jayne.
     It being Jayne’s birthday, Marion and I decided we would give her boxes inside boxes to open, the last one containing a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. Blake ate her birthday present.
     As I reread the Logs, I had an epiphany:  Ed and I were the Scott
and Zelda Fitzgerald of our era. That was probably when I began losing my hair.
    I was not suited for the role of Zelda, being an insomniac and a party pooper after 2:00 a.m. But with my husband infatuated with the Thaxters, what choice did I have?
    Blake and Jayne gleefully named our crowd “The Hard Core.” Our live-it-up friends were the best thing that ever happened to Ed’s social life and the worst to happen to mine. It wasn't easy pretending to be having as much fun as everyone else.


  1. Ahoy!

    Stopping by to say hello and catch up on your many adventures...

    Have been greatly enjoying reading about your family, friends, food, & (of course) the fun! =)

  2. Ahoy Rhapsody! Welcome to Adventures Mostly Afloat. I had made a number of revisions a few days ago but must have neglected to click on Publish. This blog is almost nine months old and I'm still far from expert in its handling.
    Anyway, it was lovely to hear from you, my blogging buddy and fan of Mom's poems.

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