June 2016

Happy Birthday, Judy!

Cape Cod Life  /  June 2016 / ,

Writer: Brian Shortsleeve / Photographer: Josh Shortsleeve 

Happy Birthday, Judy!

June 2016

Cape Cod Life  /  June 2016 / ,

Writer: Brian Shortsleeve / Photographer: Josh Shortsleeve 

Beach Glass Lantern

Photo by Joshua Shortsleeve

For the recent birthday of my wife, Judy, our associate publisher, I wanted to give her something she did not already have. I mean how often does one turn 30? Our two sons, Max, 19, and Josh, 22, obviously were both born very prematurely.

Looking back, I can’t remember a time when Judy was not collecting “Beach Glass.” It is fun to find, hold, and closely examine these colorful beach treasures. However, once you bring “Beach Glass” home and add it to a collection in a jar or vase, I find it difficult to see and appreciate, and dinner guests seem puzzled when one pours the whole vase out on the dinner table for all to see.

So, for Judy’s birthday this year, I made a “Beach Glass Lantern.” Max went online and ordered the glass I needed—a clear glass container, two feet in height and four inches in diameter. I wound white lights, 50 in total, onto a small white plastic dowel to stand in the middle. Judy put a little beach sand in the bottom as a base. She then added beach glass from her collection of jars and vases. Then Josh photographed the completed lantern for me . . . and for you! The friends who have seen it seem to like it very much so I thought I would share the idea with the entire Cape Cod Life family.

Now, each evening when this lantern is lit, we can see and appreciate the beauty of this “Beach Glass.” It reminds me of many happy hours of leisure time and family vacations. On Cape Cod I think it’s fair to say Judy has found “Beach Glass” on beaches in every town from Town Neck in Sandwich to Race Point in Provincetown. The islands are also well represented in this collection: Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and, of course, Cuttyhunk!

Speaking of Cuttyhunk, I would also like to share with you a wonderful piece, below, written on this topic by our friend from Cuttyhunk, Katy Tripp.

My Best, Brian

“The Beauty of Beach Glass”
By Katy Tripp

Cuttyhunk is like the birthplace of beach glass. When you pick up a piece of beach glass, think of the life it has had. It started out as a whole thing: bottle, vase, decanter, vial, glass, or the like. Somehow it got thrown out or tossed and it broke . . . just as some people’s lives. The sharp edges cut deep into the soul of life as we live day by day, when love, hate, tragedy, or whatever, is inflicted on us.

Just as the waves and undercurrents of the oceans have taken the sharp edge off the glass and smoothed and rounded them, so have the turmoils softened some people. They will never be what they were in the beginning, but through life’s storms and worries they have become a thing of beauty, to be held close like a rare, good friend.

(as printed in Cape Cod LIFE July 2016 issue)


In my last column, in the June issue, I wrote about my wife Judy’s collection of “Beach Glass.” I told how I made a “Beach Glass Lantern” for her with small white lights mixed with the colorful glass. I told of her collecting this “Beach Glass” on many oceanfront beaches around the Cape & Islands.

When the issue came out I received an email from my younger brother, Kevin. He was very complimentary about the look of the “Lantern” but told me it is a “Sea Glass Lantern,” not a “Beach Glass Lantern.” He went on to explain that “Beach Glass” is found on the shores of freshwater lakes and rivers; and “Sea Glass” is found on the shores of saltwater oceans and bays.

I think because he has a Ph.D. from Oxford University in England he feels he can be persnickety. These professorial types! Let’s see if he gets a free subscription to Cape Cod LIFE any longer. Sincerely Kev, thanks for the correction.

       Love, Brian

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.