OK, enough complaining. What did MSers do without air conditioning until Mr. Freeze stuck cold air in a metal box and said "put it in your window"?
Before there was any thought of disease riddled adult hood, there were the summer vacations, real ones. That last half day where everyone just went through the motions like a lousy team waiting for the season to end - counting the minutes or the outs- and then the bell rings and you are out! We don't have to be there again for two and a half months. By the side doors from the school there was a set of three concrete steps to the sidewalk. Each year I would leap those steps on that last day and do it so I would have gotten an A in Gym Class for something anyway. Cleaned out the lockers, stuffed everything in a book bag, and lugged it the 13 blocks to home.
Some kids went to camp, some continued their Little League careers, others went to visit relatives. I just stayed and read books, helped with chores (mow the lawn - and then pick up the grass in an immense grass picker-upper that hated me and would not work for me no matter how many times my father demonstrated how easy it was), watched TV - lots of baseball-, played ball with neighbors or just hung out with my dog, and waited.
Not for school, at least. That anxiety came much later in August. In mid-July, the anxiety was for a place, a place as magical as a Disney castle, and as real as the gritty sand in my sneakers.
This is near or at the Old Landing Motel in Dennisport where we ended up most years. As you can see, it was just a short walk and a twenty foot drop to the beach and the warm water of Nantucket Sound. And sand, plenty of sand.
There were always surprises. Visitors were expected to arrive at a certain place at a certain time, and we'd all be there. The challenge was guess who was in the car when it arrived. For the comfort of the waiters (that's us) we would gather at a corner store on Route 28 for pizza, soda, beer and comic books. And we'd wait to see who'd drive up and in what car.
In 1969, we were expecting my brother, his wife, and his two kids. Pulling up, was my brother all right, and my sister's boyfriend. No wife, no kids. One of those scenes that required the development of "Awkward!" Seems there was a slight spat and my sister in law opted out, along with the kids. Change of plans! My parents told my brother that this was unacceptable. The two weeks passed quietly.
So in 1970, we needed to liven things up. Following The Most Outrageous Wedding Ever in 1970, we left the following day two hours after we got home from said wedding. The following day the bride and groom arrived as planned, but my sister's new husband got sun poisoning. He had so much sun cream on him by the following day that he could just glide from room to room.
The following few years are all just a mish-mosh of memories and I wish I could put up pictures, but there are so few vacation shots left (for a lot of reasons) and the 8 mm film had faded. But I remember the meals at the Pancake Man:
and you will too in a few minutes, but also, beach walks, Duforts bakery (which was in Troy, but to my father everything was Duforts - melt away pastries), the Kon Tiki gift shop and miniature golf center:
and walking around Hyannis which everyone did on a rainy day, and we should have known that but we did it anyway on the outside chance of seeing a Kennedy (did see the limo once - but the Secret Service discouraged us from further investigation).
But to me the thrill was to see the Hyannis beach where JFK walked and pondered. Still is. Didn't need to have a statue, I could always see him (probably first sign of mental illness, Bobby may have wise-cracked).
Back to the Pancake Man. They had great steaks - two inches thick, two inches wide, and two inches long with baked potato and squash. I'd get the cranberry pancakes - cranberries in the pancakes, topped with chopped cranberries, and floating in cranberry maple syrup.
Once at the Pancake Man my sister ordered lobster, perhaps thinking it would be like "Troy" lobster, white meat in a butter sauce. She was cautioned by the waiter and my father that this was probably going to be the full monty. She didn't think so.
Of course, she got this:
Just one, but you get it. Here was this crustacean, recently scalded to death in a pot of water, and now sitting in front of my sister. The lobster had tell tale eyes, accusing my sister of causing his demise.
My sister started crying. The waiter and then the manager came over, since people were starting to look.