My Uncle Carroll was a civil engineer with the Boston firm that designed and oversaw the construction of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. He and my Aunt Alice rented a house in Gray Gables so that he could be close to those projects. Invited down to spend time with my cousins, I was introduced to another part of the Cape. I have memories of playing tennis barefoot as I’d outgrown my sneakers. My friend Louise and I would arise at 6 a.m. in order to get court time. Uncle Carroll had rented a Cape Cod Knockabout in order to acquaint my cousins with sailing. On those excursions down Buzzards Bay, I got to tend the jib and felt very important. We’d sail over to Onset and down to Wing’s Neck, feeling like latter day explorers. To this day, sailing and tennis are two of my favorite leisure-time activities.
One of my young friends played the trumpet and when the New York to Boston boat went through the Canal at dusk, all lit up like a Christmas tree with people lined up on the deck waving to Cape Codders lined up along the shore for this favorite nightly show, Bill would stand out on a rocky promontory and blow taps. The New York boat’s skipper always tooted in reply.
Our swimming beach was at the mouth of the Canal and we learned to be very wary of the strong tidal flow. This stood us in good stead on one summer day when we saw the America’s Cup defender Rainbow tied up at the State Pier directly across from our beach.