Sunday, July 23, 2017


July 23, 1955, Cohasset to Manchester
     Manchester Ho! with the Remicks and Neers.  Forgot to tell our guests to bring sheets and towels, were delayed while the Neers’ sitter went back to raid their linen closet.  After we got underway at 10:45, I remembered we were also short on blankets.  It must be 90' here in Manchester, so we’re not likely to need them.
     Had swim, highballs, sandwiches in Gloucester .  Then on to Manchester, arriving at 4:30.   Went ashore for cocktails at 6:30.  Met several charming Manchester people who constantly refilled our glasses.  Met Edgar Hill’s crew, Randy Doe and Dave Kingston, with a problem--their anchor was tangled up with a mushroom, or so they claimed.  Ed let them borrow his skin-diving outfit.  [Google says this term refers to mushroom anchor.]
     After dinner, more highballs, then back to the Happy Days. Ed was in favor of doing a little boat-hopping, being full of boyish enthusiasm and booze.  Ultimately, there was too much booze and not enough boyish enthusiasm because he climbed into the sack and was never heard from again.        
     Meanwhile Ray got steamed up about boat-hopping and leapt into the dinghy (a dinghy should never be leapt into) and found himself half swamped.  Water and alcohol do not mix.
July 24, 1955, Manchester to Cohasset
     Had a large breakfast, starting with Shirley’s luscious home-grown raspberries, then bacon, scrambled eggs, coffeecake.
     Wandered slowly back toward home, stopping midway to drift and build Dagwood sandwiches of bologna, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers.  Dottie stuck to her no-get-fat bread, but I found it as resistible as her no-get-fat chewing gum and took my chances with the calories.
     Ran into fog and rain, too bad for the 210s race.  There’s nothing like a brisk sail in the pouring rain, I say happily from the coziness of our stateroom.  Our motor may stink, fellows, but at least we know enough to come in out of a cloudburst.
July 26, 1955, Cohasset to Provincetown
     “Oh boy oh boy!”Blake said, rubbing his hands together and pointing his ears.  “This is going to be a wild one!  This is going to be THEE MOST UNRESTFUL five days you ever saw!”
  ”All right,” I sighed.  So it was inevitable; I might as well relax and try to enjoy it.   We left Cohasset at ten minutes of five, Jayne and I taking movies, as the children waved and yelled, “Goodbye, have a good time.”  (Except for young Timmy, who yelled because I hadn’t kissed him goodbye.)  [I wish I’d gone back and kissed him goodbye. bbm decades later]
     We were progressing toward the first nun at the entrance of the harbor when Jayne asked if I’d seen the box with the lobster, the ham, the fruit, etc. in it.  As we turned back to the Yacht Club, the Thaxters decided the box in question was sitting on their kitchen table. 
     “I didn’t think of it, did you think of it, Blake?” said Jayne. 
     “No, I didn’t think of it, did you think of it, Ed?” 
     “No, I didn’t think of it, did you think of it, Barbara?” said Ed.
     We tied up to the Yacht Club dock again and Blake drove home for the box.  “Gee, what a quick trip, did you have fun?” everyone asked.
     At 5:15 we were on our way again.  15-20 mph winds made it difficult to keep a toehold on the flying bridge.  Jayne and I finally went below to see if things were shipshape.  They weren’t.  Arrived Provincetown 9:00 p.m.
    A statistic: we have seventeen bottles of liquor aboard.  Blake says: “I feel it’s my duty . . . ”     After a steak dinner, Ed took us ashore one by one in the dinghy.  Very chunky out.  Visited the Hi-Ho Club where we rocked around the clock, then stopped at another club and just stared at the odd-ball characters who frequent clubs like this one.  They stared back at us as if we were the odd-balls. 
     Back to the Happy Days safely, although we all got soaked pitching around in the dinghy.    A final nightcap and we were down to sixteen bottles of liquor.  The secret phrase is: “Sink or swim.” Anyone who doesn’t remember it in the morning had better take a Bromo.  It’s a sure-fire test of how much you imbibed the night before.
July 27, 1955, Provincetown
     “What’s the secret phrase?” I challenged Ed. 
     “Up and at ‘em?” he tried.
     “Uh-uh.” I said smugly because I could remember it.  Ed couldn’t, in spite of Blake’s careful coaching the last minute before we retired.  Remember, old boy,” Blake said in his best Franklin D. Roosevelt delivery. “Swink or sim!”
    While getting breakfast, I heard Ed and Blake chatting with a couple going by in a rowboat.  “Yes, it is a bit windy.”  Comments like that.  I came out to see if she was pretty and found the two dopes were talking to Ginny Hill and Bill Minot and didn’t even know it.  Even after I told Ed who the girl was, he thought I meant the Ginny Hill who used to live in Cohasset. [What Ginny Hill?  What Bill Minot?]
     Set out for Nantucket around 11:00, although our skipper was concerned about the weather.  For two hours the going wasn’t too bad, as we were following the shoreline, but the wind had come up and the captain thought it would be dangerous to venture out into the open ocean.  He gave the order to turn around, an unpopular decision with me--until the boat began plunging around like a bucking bronco, and even I could see that the sooner we got back to Provincetown the better.
    We were having Happy Hour when we saw Ginny and Bill rowing out from the dock and invited them to join us.  They had dined but decided to come along with us to the Lobster Pot.  Everyone--including the Browns, had steak except me.  The lobster was good, but the steamed clams were so elderly, we sent them back to be buried.
      Went to the Pilgrim Club.  Were impressed by the expert jitterbugging.  Jayne remarked that she could do just as well if she had a partner who knew what he was doing.
     “Is that so,” said Blake, and they were off.  When it was time to return to the boat, Jayne disappeared.  She was in a hiding mood again, and this time she had the entire town of Provincetown to get lost in.       
July 28, 1955, Provincetown
     When finally located, Jayne was with a “nice man.” She is hazy on details this morning but thinks she remembers asking him to help her get out to the boat.  Meanwhile, that other not-so-nice man, her husband, was prowling along alleys and inquiring at bars, looking for Jayne, while Detective Malley followed clues, looking for both of them.  Ginny and I were waiting on the Happy Days, when Blake rowed out to see if Jayne was hiding in the upper bunk.  Ginny was getting nervous about Bill’s whereabouts, so she started back to shore with Blake.  On the way they passed Bill rowing out with Jayne.  As I understand it, at this point Ed was peeking in the window of the Police Station to see if Blake was there, but cagily refrained from actually entering and perhaps being detained.  He walked back to the dock, and there was Blake, rowing back to the dock to look for his buddy.
    At last the six of us were together on the Happy Days, only Ginny and Bill didn’t linger.  We’ll never know what Ginny was so upset about--until we hear it from Sally--but our guest wanted to leave then and there, and she didn’t mean maybe.
     The atmosphere in the deck-house was so chilly, Ed and I went right to bed, leaving Jayne and Blake arguing over who would get the children.  (The secret phrase: “Drop dead.”)
July 29, 1955
     Since they couldn’t remember what they were fighting about last night, the Thaxters kissed and made up.  The weather was foul outside, so we holed up in the cabin and played Round Robin bridge.  Ed was the big winner, much to his irritating satisfaction.  Does he give any credit to the Luck Factor?  Never, unless I’m the winner.
     For Happy Hour, Jayne had prepared two hollowed-out fresh pineapples and filled them with half a bottle of rum.  The idea was, the rum would absorb the pineapple flavor, but what happened was, the pineapple absorbed the run.  Oh, what a pair of drunken pineapples.  (Time out while I sketch the bleary-eyed pair, one of them saying “hic!”)
     Had cut-up lobster meat for the hors d’oeuvre, then meat loaf, spaghetti, tossed salad with Roquefort dressing.  After dinner we had a long philosophical discussion on death and immortality of all things.  The secret phrase was: “Eventually you’re either eighty-five or dead.”
     [Uncanny coincidence!  Ed just turned eighty-five, Jayne is gone, Blake is still hanging in there, as am I at seventy-nine. Oct. 13, 2000]
July 24, 1955, Provincetown
     We’re beginning to think this spell of poor weather has its beneficial aspects.  Provincetown is a wonderful place to be marooned in. Until this trip I had the impression there was nothing to the town except its narrow main street bordered by quaint little shops, as limited and confined as a movie set.  Not so.  One could easily spend a week here and not be bored.
     This morning we played tennis at the Tennis and Yacht Club, then bicycled four or five miles to the Moors restaurant for lunch (delicious Portuguese soup), played tennis at the public courts nearby.  Cycled on to the public beach, where we rented lockers and had a swim.
     Blake’s ambition was to spend the rest of the afternoon lying on the beach; I wanted to poke around the shops and Ed wanted--well, nobody asked Ed what he wanted, which is just as well because it might have given him a stroke.  At any rate, we split up, after arranging to meet at the Tennis and Yacht Club at 5:00 p.m.
     When we got back to town, I suddenly had an impulse to call home.  Kathryn said they’d been trying to get in touch with us all day to tell us the good news.  A letter addressed to me had arrived from Yachting Magazine, Mother opened it, and the good new is: Yachting has accepted “Water on the Brain,” based on last year’s Log.
     At this point I would like to make a few acknowledgments: to my dear husband, without whose nagging I would have said to devil with the Log; to our good friends the Thaxters and the Remicks without whose unfailing cooperation we would never get into the trouble I write about; to those good sports, Marion and Wes Marsh, who experienced “that sinking feeling” without turning a single white hair; to my favorite correspondent, Darrell McClure, who kept after me to write for publication; and to my mother, of course.  Amen.
     At 5:00 we met the Thaxters for tennis.   We are now going out to celebrate my authorship.
July 30, 1955, Provincetown
     Maybe you think I don’t remember the secret phrase you suggested, fellows, but I do and I’m ashamed of you.
     After four hours of shallow sleep, my first impression this morning was that we’d gone to bed and left on every light aboard.  I opened the other eye and found it was that stranger, the sun, insinuating itself through hatch and porthole.  My second impression was that Eddie was snoring, but it was the wash-basin gasping away beside my bunk—I’d neglected to gag it last night.  Next I became aware that I had a big head and it had nothing to do with Yachting Magazine.  I took two asperin.
     Eddie’s first words on regaining consciousness: “What a twister last night was!”
We had made a reservation for 9:30 at Pablo’s, but when we showed up at 10:00, we were told the kitchen was closed. 
     “Try the Towne House,” said the waiter.
     We tried the Towne House and we tried quite a few Martinis and Jayne tried the Baked Stuffed Shrimp and so did I.   The fellows stuck to steak.  The upper half of the wall next to our table was made of slanting vertical slats through which came a good deal of commotion.  Jayne and I stood on our seats to see what was happening and discovered that the adjoining room was a bar crowded entirely with almost men.  One of them was doing an impersonations of a man impersonating a female.  Jayne and I, recognizing that we would hardly be welcome, let alone whistled at in such an atmosphere, barged in anyway.  (This was after the entertainer, catching sight of us peering through the slats, said, “Oh, look at those creatures in that cage,” and started throwing popcorn at us.)
     When Jayne commented to the bartender that we expected to be thrown out, he answered tolerantly that our money was as good as anyone else’s.
     They shut off the liquor at 1:00, so there was nothing to do but wend our wobbly ways back to the Happy Days.
July 30, 1955 (cont.), Provincetown
     This morning Blake the Barrister gave us his yearly lecture on how to be a good crook.  Deny everything.  Ninety percent of the people who go to jail are the ones who admitted they were guilty.
     We played tennis, walked several blocks to the Flagship for lunch, back for more tennis.  Went to Pablo’s for dinner, Jayne and I had the paella which wasn’t as good as it sounded, the boys had steak for a change.
     Back to boat.  I was so drowsy I went to bed, thinking Ed would follow shortly.  Woke up an hour or so later to find the three of them still up and having a good time without me.  I made a brief appearance, and while I didn’t exactly order Ed to come along to bed, I acted as if it were time he should.
     The performance was lost on him because the minute I left, I could hear the tinkling of ice as a new round commenced.  I lay awake listening to them yak, yak, knowing the next day would be ruined, they’d all be going around like zombies, no energy for tennis, what kind of a restful vacation was this supposed to be, why didn’t they pipe down so I could get some sleep.
     Suddenly--as Jayne expressed it later--a small hurricane named Barbara came flying out.  As I presented my point of view in no uncertain terms, Ed leaped up as if shot from a cannon and dove into our cabin.  I was still ranting that it would be a long time before I went on a cruise with people who did nothing but stay up drinking all night.  I kept expecting Jayne or Blake to break in with one of their witty remarks, but they were silent as marble statues.
     Blake said later he was scared speechless--if I had pointed to the ocean and told him to jump in, he would have marched right out and jumped.
July 31, 1955, Provincetown to Cohasset
     The zombies slept till 11:30.  Too late to do anything except have a swim and start for home.  The secret phrase is “I told you so.”
     Arrived 5 p.m.

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