Cape Cod and the Islands are the kinds of places where chance encounters—someone you meet on a beach, a person who smiles at you in a restaurant, a trip to Provincetown, a ferry boat ride to the Islands—can end up determining the path of your life forever.
These are places where treasures wash ashore: driftwood, shells, a job you’ve always wanted, the love of your life. I was thinking about this when I was doing the final edit of this issue. On these pages, we share the stories of several people—some famous to many of our readers, some part of our own families—whose futures were shaped irretrievably by a person or a place on Cape Cod.
For Eugene O’Neill, one of America’s best-known playwrights, a chance trip to Provincetown to escape New York City’s summer heat (and the hot temptations of life in the fast lane) led to his first steps toward stardom on a rickety, sea-splashed Provincetown stage. O’Neill—the subject of this month’s story by the newest member of our editorial team, Matthew Nilsson—loved Provincetown so much that he found refuge in a house perched on the dunes and returned to this artistic and emotional refuge summer after summer.
In an ironic twist that almost seems a playwright’s imagining, O’Neill’s home was a former lifesaving station, a place of rescue. Here, surrounded by the dunes’ transcendent light and clear sea air, the playwright finally found his muse. And in his Provincetown home, O’Neill was handed a telegram announcing his first Pulitzer Prize.
In our own Cape Cod Life family, several of our lives have been shaped by chance Cape experiences that we also share in this issue. In his Gunkholing column, our publisher Brian Shortsleeve shares some wonderful stories about summer jobs on Craigville Beach that taught him how to navigate—and now guide his two sons—through the unpredictable seas of life and success.
On these pages I also share some chance Cape moments that have shaped my own family’s lives. On a summer night several years ago, my son, Dan, went with some friends to Harry’s, a favorite Hyannis hangout. He met a girl there—a blonde artist with a shy smile and eyes that tilted upward. That night set the stage for a wedding last September in a sunny meadow looking out over Cape Cod Bay. Dan and his bride live just 10 minutes away from us now, starting their own Cape life together.
Come to Cape Cod. Whether you are struggling artist looking for creative inspiration, a hopeful teenager dreaming of success, or a young man or woman looking for love, this is a fine place to begin the journey.
To bright Cape Cod days,
Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor
- Posted in Susan Dewey's Blog