Martha’s Vineyard, 1969

Gay Head Beach

The story of that Greenwich developer going bust up on Martha’s Vineyard got me thinking about my first visit there in August, 1969 when four of us rode our bikes up from Riverside and spent a couple of weeks at a campground, Cranberry Acres, not too far from the ferry. We hitchhiked all around the island, lived on maybe five bucks a day and, naturally had a great time, from what I can remember.

I Googled “Cranberry Acres” just now and found this article, written in 2008, from a guy who was also on the Island in August, 1969, also stayed at Cranberry Acres, hitchhiked around the island and was busted, along with Tom Rush, for skinny dipping off the beach at Gay Head. The only difference in our experiences was that we were never arrested.

1969 had the moon landing, Woodstock, Nixon and an impending draft for kids my age and for me, a final year of high school to suffer through, but on balance, it was a hell of a time to be young, irresponsible and stupid.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Martha’s Vineyard, 1969

  1. relative value

    through in a little summer of 42 action, and I think you have the makings of a decent novel!

  2. Out Looking In

    So, like me, you still have 2 out 3 covered! Oh for fleeting youth…

  3. Walt

    Dude –
    You scribbled “but on balance, it was a hell of a time to be young, irresponsible and stupid.”
    What are you getting all nostalgic and melancholy? Yearning over days long gone? Living in the past? Sitting there in your underwear, swilling cheap beer, and dreaming of days long gone? You putz.
    Do a self assessment. You spineless little weasel. Nothing has changed. It is all good. Instead of being “young, irresponsible and stupid”, now you are “old, irresponsible and stupid”. And two out of three ain’t bad. MEATLOAF Dude!! Paradise by the Dashboard Lights!! He lived in Redding. No shit. Coached girls’ softball.
    Now buck up, you Bozo. And we could script this. Any homo erotica you can add will help the treatment. You load.
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  4. I landed on the Vineyard in December 1973, had no job, but with the help of a stunningly handsome long-haired hippie artist former boyfriend who lived in a hut in Gay Head, I got a job as a maid at The Daggett House, an inn at the foot of the Chappy Ferry in Edgartown. I found a house to live in, $125/month winter rent, that I needed a roommate to afford. I made friends quickly which was a good thing as by summertime, in order to survive, a gaggle of us had to live crammed under one dive of a roof. I moved up the life ladder fast and found a job at the shoe store that was in the Charlotte Inn back in those days. I made no more money but met some more year-rounders, many of whom I’m still very good friends with today. We were all poor but happy, each with jobs that catered to the summer dinks so we worked our butts off all summer then partied hearty come winter when they were all gone. I got better jobs as the years passed but the best part of the abridged story, I met my darling better half in 1975, he too a long hair, building his own solar house, driving a cool white Jeep truck. Love at first sight. The Vineyard was awesome back then, but tough too. Very easy to sit at the bar all day for the those I knew who were out of work. It took a huge toll on those who didn’t have a strong spine to stay away from trouble. I bought a dump of a summer house on Chappy, almost out at Wasque Point, turned it into something just right, nothing fancy, but a great view from the upper deck. I lived year-round until the early 1980s, rented the Chappy house out until one tenant pretty much destroyed it. Then in 1986 I found a Bostonian who paid me a fortune for it. I look back at those days as some of the finest in my life, scratching out a living, making dear dear friends, and meeting the best of the lot, my darling wonderful hubby.

    Too bad you arrived in 1969. A little later and I am sure we would have been friends. Thanks for the reminder of days gone by….and Cranberry Acres. I never slept there, thankfully!!

  5. PS: Gay Head is now officially called Aquinnah. How awful is that??!! Locals still call it Gay Head.

  6. One last comment, I promise. I posted this photo scanned from an old slide on my blog last year, taken in 1976, with the following commentary:

    Another Martha’s Vineyard reflection, this photo of Edgartown Harbor was taken in 1976. The vantage point is from the deck of the teeny cottage I was renting that was part of a huge estate right on the water. The best digs I ever had while living there but the house was sold and I had to, gulp, move in-town.

  7. Greenwich Old Timer

    EOS: I could tell from all your previous postings that you were a “cool chick”: your recent posting only affirms this. God bless. By the way, how is your son who was wounded in Afghanistan faring?

  8. Greenwich Gal

    Beautiful picture EOS.
    As far as being young, stupid and irresponsible – I find it really sad that you can’t have that freedom anymore. Your stupidity will go viral in a nanosecond.
    That is what I tell the kids.

  9. Cobra

    EOS…That’s one beautiful shot. Reminds me of SEAsia back in the late ’60’s, except for the sailboat rig.

  10. Libertarian Advocate

    CF & EOS: I think Walt is right. You should collaborate with him on a script. Scratch the Homo-erotica though. You want this on screens across the country not just the West Village and Castro District. Walt will happily trade his artistic integrity for barrels of royalty bucks.

  11. peeps

    Great photo, EOS. The only martha’s Vineyard that could top it is if CF posted one of him coming out of the water after skinny dipping at Gay Head.

  12. Walt

    Dude –
    So I have the outline of the new treatment. Working title is “Nantucket Noogie”. I know it was really Martha’s Vineyard, but I need some artistic license, OK? I was going to go with “1969 – Through the Eyes of a Dummy” but I think that is too long. Plus this gives us a reason to toss in some dirty limericks. I have tons of them ready to go!!
    We will write it in the first person narrative, just like Forrest Gump. In fact, I envision the lead character – that would be you – to be very Forrest Gumpish. No artistic license there, right? A young, optimistic, dim witted teen, who can’t find his ass with both hands, who is experiencing the world around him. I envision a mash up of Forrest Gump, Cheech & Chong and Summer of 42. What do you think? Maybe some Brokeback Mountain to spice it up?
    The writing will be easy, but casting may be a challenge. Tom Hanks won’t do it because he already played this part. So who do we get? I am thinking that Pee Wee Herman guy!! He would be spot on!! Plus I don’t think he has worked in years. Didn’t he get caught spanking his ding dong in public? We can write that in!! You did that but just didn’t get caught. Correct?
    Anyhows, I am liking this idea Dude.
    You agree?
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  13. Balzac

    I love the above post by Earth Ocean Sky Redux

  14. Libertarian Advocate

    Cobra: Reminds me of SEAsia back in the late ’60′s, except for the sailboat rig.

    Well that and no coconut palms or mangroves.

  15. Thanks for the compliments folks. I am not a person who looks backward, but every once in a while it’s nice to take a walk down memory lane. This was a fun opportunity.

    GG: I am a strong believer in letting my kids make mistakes. We are lucky that neither daughter ended up on Girls Gone Wild, nor the boys on Cops, but they have each had their fair share at being stupid and irresponsible. It kind of molds them into better people when they fall flat, then have to find their own way of picking themselves up. I completely see what you mean though; iPhones do tend to capture everything. My children are that much older than yours when phones didn’t have cameras, let alone good cameras. Phew!

    GOTimer: Thanks. He’s fine and back in the trenches.

    Peeps: I adore you. You have such a great outlook on everything!!

    Cobra and LA: funny coincidence. My brother-in-law has penned a book (soon to be published) about his days as a Navy officer aboard a Destroyer during the Vietnam War; he has some great photos in the book and one very similar to mine that actually IS in Southeast Asia!!