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Gunkholing: Memories are Made of This

Cape Cod Life  /  August 2023 /

Writer: Brian Shortsleeve


This August issue of Cape Cod LIFE, focusing on “Old Cape Cod” will help many of us remember our earliest days on the Cape. My first visit to Cape Cod was when I was in grammar school. I was seven years old; so I think it was 1954. My family rented a cottage on the pond in the village of “Old Craigville.” It was just up the street from Craigville Inn and Conference Center located on the Village Green. One evening each week, the summer help from the Conference Center would play volleyball against the lifeguards from the Craigville Beach Association. The whole village would turn out. One of the iconic Dune Shacks featured in Jane Paradise’s new book, Dune Shacks of Provincetown.  We got a membership at the Craigville Beach Association, where we went every day. My first summer job was as a busboy at Charlie House’s snack bar, where in time, I learned how to be a short-order cook. Charlie and his whole family were  and are great people. Craigville Beach fronts on Cape Cod Bay where I learned to sail and in time had my own sailing business with lessons, rentals, and etc. By 1961, my family had bought our cottage in West Hyannis Port and we would see President Kennedy and his family coming and going in Hyannis to church, for shopping and etc. One evening at the airport in Hyannis, Jackie Kennedy was picking up the President who was flying in. My brother and I asked Jackie for her autograph and she said, “Sorry honey, not now, I am in a hurry.” We didn’t often get to the Outer Cape, Nauset coast to Provincetown. However, one time in the early 60s the Cape was being hit with the tail end of a hurricane. In Eastham…


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Brian Shortsleeve

Brian Shortsleeve is the owner, publisher, and founder of Cape Cod Life Publications. His personal column, “Gunkholing,” has appeared in all issues of Cape Cod LIFE since the very first issue in 1979.