Called the Cape of Keel by early Norse explorers, Cape Code is a peninsula that juts out from the easternmost edge of Massachusetts. Punctuated throughout by lighthouses, those magical sentinels that have saved lives and sent many imaginations to wonderful places, it is no wonder writers and artists gravitate to the Cape. Provincetown, or P-Town as its called (an unfortunate name in my view because it occurred to my mind that there may be a UTI epidemic there) is, I am told, an enclave of creativity and, well, fun.
Like most Americans, if not most people, Cape Cod brings the Kennedy Compound to mind. But for me it also brings playwright Eugene O’Neill to mind and, last, and first, my father. My father loved Cape Cod. In fact, he had just arrived in Cape Cod in the summer of 1969 when illness struck and killed him in less than a week. So, I suppose, in some way I will be finishing the vacation he started.
My father and I and, for that matter, all my family, loved the beach, the ocean. When I was a boy one set of grandparents lived in Rumson New Jersey and the other set lived in Ocean Grove New Jersey. Both locations are on or near the ocean. Few things are as extraordinary as the beach, in all seasons. In the mid-seventies I lived in Seagate, a peninsula off the tip of Brooklyn. My apartment was right on the beach. Doesn’t get any better, except when I went out the front door one morning and found a dead sand shark at the foot of the steps. Even dead sharks scare the hell out of me.
And so I am looking forward to this time on the Cape. Time to walk the beach, get some writing and reading in, do a bit of reflecting, reacquaint myself with Horseshoe crabs (I love those dudes) and, of course, hope I don’t run across any sharks, dead or alive.