Letters of LIFE and love

Cape Cod Life  /  June 2018 /

Writer: Julie Craven Wagner

Cape Cod LIFE past issues

Cape Cod LIFE at 40

As we enter our 40th year of publishing at Cape Cod Life Publications, we have been fortunate to enjoy a long and meaningful history of communication with our readers. We have decided to look back at some of that correspondence, starting with our very first issue published in 1979. The style of communication, beautifully written cards and letters in distinctive longhand, has evolved to emails and Facebook and Instagram posts, but the warmth and genuine discourse remains unchanged.

From our third issue, published in the spring of 1980:

Welcome to the world of magazine publishing. Your first issue made me want to buy a copy of the second issue, and I did, but it was the last one on the rack. That is too close to missing an issue, so here is my subscription.


Jon Harrison

Manchester, CT


My wife and I are planning a vacation trip to New England. We bought the second issue of Cape Cod Life at our grocery store and have found it very interesting and attractive. Enclosed is our check, please send us back a copy of Vol. 1, No. 1. If Cape Cod is as beautiful as your magazine, we don’t want to miss an issue and are ready to travel!

Richard K. English

Etters, PA

A year later in 1981, things were definitely catching on:

Your last issue, Indian Summer ’81, is a treasure to be added to one’s personal library.

Francis X. Mooney

Watertown, MA

In 1984, the conversation was often about memories triggered by something in the magazine:

The Gunk’holing column in your Spring ’84 issue brought back nostalgic memories of the Craigville Inn. It was in the 1930’s; I was young, had never been to the Cape, and was right out of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. I owned an Oldsmobile and I and several of my cronies decided to visit the Craigville Inn. The rates were attractive – $25 per week including three delicious meals a day. We all wanted to live on the Cape when the war was over. Today, we still get to the Cape each summer with our wives and families and we still recall the delicious blueberry pancakes!

Joseph B. Truesch

Verona, NJ

By the time we celebrated our first 10 years, we had become a regular part of our readers’ lives:

I need two issues to complete my collection of Cape Cod Life –I need Summer 1985 (someone borrowed and didn’t return it) and I need the first issue – guess I wasn’t aware of Cape Cod Life until I bought the second issue.

Virginia A. Holzbaur

Lewistown, MD

When we turned 25 in 2004, the letters sometimes arrived in our computer, but despite the mode of delivery, they still touched on the connective power of the Cape:

I am an eighth-generation native of the Cape. I grew up and attended the same schools in Dennis as my father and grandfather, but unfortunately have been moving around the United States with the military for the past 10 years. Everywhere I’ve gone, my subscription to Cape Cod Life has followed.

I have found it somewhat difficult to describe the Cape to people who have never been there. For me, it is like no other place I have been and Cape Cod Life keeps me connected to the Cape and Mr. Shortsleeve’s description is perfect! As I read it, I could feel myself back on the beach fishing off Monomoy. I could smell the salt in the air… this is what I miss most.

Thanks for bringing it back to me.

Kristen Eaton Vlcej

Haughton, LA

This spring, we received a beautifully handwritten letter from Ventura, CA
that made us all smile:

To Brian Shortsleeve,

My April issue of CCL arrived this week, and as always, I turned to ‘Gunk’holing’ first.

Where have forty years gone? I was back in Boston, (Dorchester) the spring of 1979 to visit my parents and to attend my Emmanuel College 25th reunion when I purchased the first issue of Cape Cod Life. Upon returning home to Ventura, I immediately sent in a subscription and as a charter member have subscribed every year. I just renewed for two years (optimistic that at 86+ I will be around to enjoy each issue.)

Thank you for giving me so many memories.


Joan McNary Guestler

And then, we were surprised by our most recent letter to our publisher that certainly made the world seem a lot smaller:

Just a note to say how much we enjoy your magazine. Your May issue was especially meaningful to us!!!

We had the pleasure of meeting your lovely niece Cassie and her husband Christo at a trattoria high on a hillside on the Amalfi coast in Italy! In conversation we realized we were all from Massachusetts. Then they mentioned they were on their honeymoon after a beautiful wedding on Craigville Beach. What a lovely couple and what a small world. We loved the pictures and the story of their wedding that was featured in the May issue. My husband and I met and fell in love on Cape Cod at Popponesset Beach where we have now lived for 20 years!


Linda and Jim Tedesco

Since our first issue was produced for the summer of 1979, the start of this year’s summer season officially launches us into our 40th year. Over the next 12 months, we will be revisiting our collective past in a variety of different ways, on various platforms. Be sure to check out our print editions, our website and our social media channels for remembrances, celebrations and commemorations of the stories that have come before.

Julie Craven Wagner

Julie Craven Wagner began her experience with Cape Cod Life in 2010 when she joined the sales team after 10 years of working with local businesses on the Cape and Islands with WMVY. In addition to sales, she is the Associate Publisher/Editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. Growing up on the Outer Cape has given her a unique perspective of life on Cape Cod, from tip to bridge, and that is reflected in her appreciation and presentation of stories found within the pages of our publications. Julie lives in North Falmouth with her husband, Eric, and their yellow lab, Enzo. When she finds free time, she enjoys her Cape Cod life sailing on Buzzards Bay, spending time on the beach in Wellfleet, or exploring Martha’s Vineyard.