Sunday, July 23, 2017


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 called, 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?
       "Mm‑hmm," I said, meaning yes, the dead dog did look real; but Timmy went off to call the fire department.  I told my 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 another 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 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 on 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 was a fate worse than drowning—but this was a crisis.   Reluctantly, the captain 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‑‑"
     "Oh boy, pictures!" I said, 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 make sure that there's no publicity."  They clapped him on the back, winked and would no doubt have pinned a medal on his chest if they had one handy.   For the next two weeks Ed swaggered.  
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 sea gets chunky, and we must all take a Dramamine.
     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 that surrounded it.
     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, “but that’s why I like two engines,” said 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 gentle and variable breezes.
     It’s a wee bit chunky out. Remembering last summer’s ashy-pale young faces, I made the gang line up for Dramamine. There were the 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 and loads of trawler fish with a dip net--not the kind you’d want in your chowder or even in 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. The deck is covered with their scales.
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 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 the 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 fantasy 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 catch on that 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 seems unlikely. I won’t believe we’re really home until I see 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 really 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 he thought 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 hook 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 guaranteed he'd get Important Business Contact, Larry, a shark on rod and reel, with a harpoon, or at least with our movie camera.
     Before tackling the sharks, we devoured cold boiled lobsters. Lois told us it was impossible to get fresh fist of any kind in Detroit. Once she planned to have boiled salmon on the 4th of July, and when she asked for some in the market, the clerk pointed to the canned goods section. “But I want fresh  salmon,” she protested. “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 which they accepted without hesitation. They dumped an entire pail-full of fish into our net -- including a couple of fine haddock, all cleaned and ready for the pot. These we put on ice immediately.
     This was not a lucky day unless you consider it from the sharks’ point of view. We saw 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 the rain beating down after the weatherman had predicted 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 for inclusion in the Log.
    Had sausage, beans, applesauce, coffee cake for breakfast -- agreeing to have a hearty one and skip lunch. I spent the morning struggling with a letter to Darrell McClure -- the man is one slave driver of a correspondent, hardly 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.
     I made a copy of the first one for the Log: 
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 hurt.  "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 Barbara, 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.  Of course, we would never do anything about it without your consent.
      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. We 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 at the Atlantic House—a special show for teenagers 5-8 p.m. Figuring we were 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 of fellow 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 by the front door and saying Shoo!
     Every time one of the dogs was collared and shoved out the door, two more would squirm their way in. We were getting desperate when Teddy, who knows more about the facts of life than I gave him credit for, made the brilliant move of collaring Minxi and shoving her out. The pack stampeded out the door in pursuit, each one giving a farewell salute to the new upholstery to show what they thought of our hospitality.
     Timmy, the cause of it all, said he hadn't meant to let the dogs in; he was only trying to let Minxi out.
August 27, 1955, Provincetown to Cohasset
     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 are off the handle, on the tape, held in by the wind, helped over by the wind, etc.
     Talked Ed into buying me some Lasagna for lunch at the Towne House. Have always wanted to try it; between us we finished one order. Decided since small-craft warnings were up, we’d better scoot for home.
     Left at 2:00. Extremely rough and windy, waves breaking over the flying bridge and us. Steady sail helped prevent rolling.
September 2, 1955, 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 Business Typhoon had to catch up on things at the office after a two-day trip to Detroit.) Our ultimate destination is 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 also 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.
     Marion just read aloud an interesting paragraph from the U.S. Coast Pilot: “Vessels bound for Cuttyhunk Harbor generally approach from Buzzard’s Bay. The principal dangers are marked by buoys. Strangers should not enter except in the daytime with clear weather.” Luckily, the Marshes and the Malleys are not strangers.
     At 9:20, we dropped the anchor at Cuttyhunk. Moonlight is simmering on the water and onions are shimmering in the frying pan--I’m so hungry I can’t think straight.
     Everyone had Martinis except Ed, who had a sudden attack of rectitude and stuck to Tom Collinses. It was pretty late when I finally plunked down the baked-in-foil potatoes and sliced meatloaf in tomato sauce. It was even later when I was getting into my flannel nightshirt under the impression that I was going to retire.
     “Ahoy there!” called a voice.
     There was some conversation back and forth which I couldn’t hear because I was busy praying Ed wouldn’t get it into his head to invite the visitors aboard.
     “Hey, Wes,” Ed called from the galley, “invite them aboard for a drink!”
     Marion came below to see what I was doing. I was resignedly putting on lipstick. She made a lot of uncomplimentary remarks about my nightshirt and said she would not allow me to appear in public wearing “that thing.” To satisfy her, I put on my raincoat on over my totally modest nightshirt and made my entrance.
     After a couple of hours Marion got to that swaggering stage where she talks out of the side of her mouth like a gun moll. She whispered loud enough for anyone to hear, “Hey, Barbara, do you want me to get rid of these characters?”
     The way she said “get rid of” sounded like she was going to coat them with cement and shove them overboard. I told her to control herself a little longer; maybe they’d leave under their own power. This they did at about 1:30, with noisy farewells and their bottles.
September 3, 1955, Cuttyhunk
     The secret phrase was “Breakfast at dawn,” which no one remembered except Marion because she made it up this morning. It wasn’t exactly dawn, it was 8:30, but it was like dawn. Ed, Wes, and I had a swim while Marion used up four days’ supply of water in the shower.     
     Breakfast consisted of pre-cooked sausages and scrambled eggs country style (stir them once, then let them shift for themselves). I found some notes I had recorded last night to make sure I wouldn’t omit anything from the Log. One of the notes 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. If I sound skeptical, it’s because I’ve seen too many large seagulls leap out of the water in my day.
     Had highballs, went ashore at seven to find a place for dinner. 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; 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 it.  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 cherrystone clams 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, remarking disdainfully that anyone can win ribbons that way, but it takes real talent to be an expert 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 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 the captain 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 will take them to Provincetown sometime soon.
     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 ten dollars worth of charts (How Ed cussed about that!) at 5:20. As we passed Minot’s Light, the captain 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 the weather fouled us up. So rough and windy, it was 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 day at Orleans. On the way, Grandpa took several side tours, including the dunes at Truro where Ed demonstrated his fitness by racing Vonnie and Timmy 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 until there was nothing left but salt and pepper--his way of going without lunch. Timmy didn’t like the fried clams, they had black stuff in them. What he meant 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 in Grandpa'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 (the first time they’ve been really clean all summer) 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. Ed and I chugged away from the town landing but hadn’t gone far when I decided I’d just as soon eat in my dirty clothes, too. He brought me back to the dock.
     I had a small adventure while Ed returned to the Happy Days to change. I was standing on the edge of the dock with Vonnie and Timmy when a young man looked over at me and said, “May I ask you a personal question?  I figured he was going to say, “Can those two great big children possibly be yours?” but 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 edged 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, said "Let's go, Harry,"  and the pair 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: “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 and patting her hand, said, “but you’re not cuckoo, Tina.”
     “Gee, thanks,” said Tina.
     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 the reason I raised 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 police trap in operation.
     “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. This 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 this morning. Then we read the Sunday papers with Grandpa and Tina while the children collected some crickets, 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 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. 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.


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