Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cape Cod, 1950

Before my time, of course. But maybe not.

I saw the vestigal tail of summering on Cape Cod when I was young. It wasn't a year round home for people so much then. You got a summer rental and suffered on the clogged highways in the smothering heat to get your ration of seabreeze. The rental house and the idea behind it smelled a bit of mildew by the time I was there, but you could make it out on the receding horizon.

Later on, I used to perform at all the nightspots there in the summer. The owners were still trying to cobble together one more year of sunburned customers with too much cash and nothing to do but get a bit loaded and party. Jimmy Buffet has a sort of traveling Potemkin Village of the ideal, but it had gone grey and thick in the middle well before he latched on to it, and it hadn't moved to God's Great Waiting Room down south yet.

I played Happy Hour on Cape Cod before Happy Hour was made illegal here. (I'm not exaggerating; Happy Hour is illegal in Massachusetts.) The young girls would come and dance and the men would eye them warily until they all had enough tonsil polish to mix properly. We'd run sweat while we played badly and told a few bad jokes, and preside over it.

Afterwards, we used to go to an old shack called The Sandbar on the access road to the West Dennis Beach, and hear Rockwell King exhume a couple jokes and play moldy standards on the piano to people with blue hair. It was like visiting a club you were grandfathered into but never really joined, and seeing the pictures of dead club presidents on the wall in the lobby, half-remembered when alive, only half dead now that they're gone.

No one's born with blue hair, you know.


gemma said...

Rocky is still here - and actually still the same. Tells the same jokes and they are funny. He plays the piano and sings and snarls at the audience if they talk while he does. Haven't seen him this year yet but it is an annual pilgrimage.

Casey Klahn said...

Posts this well written keep me coming back for more. So well written, I'll be stealing a quote.

OK. I'll attribute it.

teresa said...

Your Mom looks lovely!

SippicanCottage said...

Gemma- Good to hear.

Casey- Thanks. As always, I love your paintings.

teresa- Tee hee. I hadn't thought of it like that, but my mother is likely younger than that woman in the picture. Both lovely, though.

teresa said...

You're a good sport, Sippican. BTW, My adult son and I had some fun perusing your BSBFB. Great stuff!