It was en route to New York and had passed through the Canal just before the final span of the Sagamore Bridge was joined so it would not fit beneath once that was in place. Fascinated by the size and beauty of this magnificent classic J boat, we carefully checked the tide and swam across the Canal to look it over. We climbed up on to the pier and as no one seemed to be on board or around on the dock, we stepped on to the cambered deck, marveling at the size and height of its mast, constructed of pieced wood. Can you imagine getting that close to an America’s Cup defender today?
The Sagamore Bridge has always been my favorite. One early morning, Uncle Carroll took my cousins and me to watch the construction workers pour cement for the abutments. Tons of concrete, liquid enough to pour, cascading down into the coffers was a most impressive sight. When we went to pick up Uncle Carroll at the end of another day, we watched in wonder as the men tossed red-hot rivets in buckets for inserting into the steel beams, bygone craft for sure in today’s high-tech world. To this day, when we drive over the Bourne Bridge to visit my daughter and her family in Centerville, I always spot the plaque naming it the most beautiful bridge constructed in 1935 and feel proud.
After those years in Gray Gables in the 1930s, my Aunt Alice and Uncle Carroll had come to love the Cape and ultimately bought an old farm house with several acres on Stage Neck in Chatham. Through them, I became acquainted with another part of the Cape. Relatively unsettled and rural, it was a beautiful spot with land going down to Oyster River. From Chatham, we took a trip over to Nauset Beach, long before it became part of the National Seashore. We tramped across the dunes and feeling hot and sweaty, dashed into the surf. “Whoa! We yelled,” as we had discovered this water was icy cold, not warm and soothing like the South side of the Cape. That discovery didn’t keep us out of the water for long—the unaccustomed surf was very exhilarating.
Now, although living on the water near Mystic, Connecticut, I’m renewing my love for that sandy arm sticking out into the Atlantic. As I’ve been writing this, I’ve become interested in taking a sentimental journey to Waquoit, Gray Gables, Chatham, Provincetown, and all points in between. A new chapter has begun.