Friday, May 26, 2017

On the way to the Cape.

Tomorrow morning, my wife will load up our small car with a large amount of luggage. We will barely, I'm sure of this, be able to close our trunk. I will get silently pissed at the crap she is bringing and will breathe through my mouth and fulminate. But eventually, we will hit the road and drive the 200 or so miles to Cape Cod.

The first time I drove to the Cape was 42 years ago when I had a 1964 Mercury Parklane with no transmission fluid.

My friend Jack and I had figured out the logistics. Summer in those days was 13 weeks long. If we worked 12 weeks and made $100/week (minimum wage was $2.30/hour) we could afford to spend $100 on a week in Cape Cod and still have enough left over, $1100, for our college expenses.

Jack sat in the bucket seat alongside me, and Freddy stretched out alone in the backseat. Our crap was in the trunk and I had rigged up a portable cassette player through the cigarette lighter and we played tapes of the Beach Boys and the Beatles as I sped up the New England Thruway with the roof down.

We were 17. Full of muscles and youth and fear and hope. We were friends as only 17-year-old boys can be friends and we were happy to be together, like fish in a school, but sad, too, because this, we knew somehow, was our last hurrah. We'd be going off to different colleges (I'd be going off to Saltillo to play ball) and we knew we'd never have friends like these friends, ever again. No one ever does.

We drove up in the sunshine and the laughter and the loneliness and unknown. Six hours after leaving New York we arrived at a ticky-tacky motel, with a small heated pool in-front and balconies strewn with colorful striped towels hung out to dry in the sea air. We were meeting others up there and seven of us collected in a kitchenette then ran across the asphalt to the small beach across from the motel.

We drank beer and ate meatball subs and played wiffle-ball for hours and swam in the too-cold-sea and looked for long-limbed blondes with no parents about, and, we hoped, as happy and sad and full and as lonely as we were. 

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