I rested around home for the next month reading and occasionally looking for a job, but not much was going on in Greenwich. Spring was to come early in March that year, so I started going to the beach on the warmer spring days. There were mostly local high school students there, and I really felt like an outsider.
One day I was hitchhiking back from the beach because I did not have a car which is a definite handicap in the suburbs. The fellow who picked me up told me about a large lake in back country which was suppose to have excellent fresh water swimming and said that was where most of the kids from back country Greenwich went swimming. I had been unaware since I had always swum out at the country club.
Still I decided to check out Conyers Lake which looked like something out of the Maine woods. I started swimming regularly there that spring despite the rather frigid water and met many local kids from the local high school. It was like summer camp there and we all spent many nights camping out. We would be occasionally run off by the game wardens who said we were trespassing on private property, but apparently there had been a long history of kids swimming there, and none of them seemed particularly concerned.
They use to spend a great deal of time singing the songs from South Pacific since that was the show they were rehearsing at the local high school for the spring play. Later that spring I would build a raft out of a discarded dock and much time was spent floating around the lake and swimming from one end to the other. However, as June approached the game wardens became more adamant about us not swimming there and the water was becoming murky,
Since I did not have a car, I could not go to the beach regularly, so I spent most of my time at home helping out on the gardening. My mother was particularly upset at my father since he was never home and always seemed to be away on business. As the days began to warm up, I began to want to get away to the shore. I had received a post card that friends of mine were on Nantucket, so I decided to hitchhike up to the Cape. I was not experienced with hitchhiking and found it all rather tedious, but I made it up to the Cape and ended up spending a week resting at a Christian commune near Woods Hole. I was not really into communal living since it seemed antagonistic to suburban living.
Instead of going out to Nantucket, I went to Martha's Vineyard to camp for a couple of days. It did not rain much that spring or summer, so camping was hassle free, and I use to go to the youth hostel for my daily shower. I spent most of my days swimming and exploring the south shore of the Vineyard which had not changed so much since I had been there seven years before. However, there were no longer the thousands of hippies that use to frequent McNammara's beach. The Vineyard was a little busy so I decided to go out to Nantucket. I immediately ran into a number of friends, and they were happy to see me. I decided to continue to camp out since I was getting very healthy and had succeeded in quitting smoking and was enjoying spending my entire days at the beach swimming. I use to go to Nobadeer beach every day and would spend the whole day with hundreds of kids many of whom were from various places I had lived around the country. Jimmy from Syracuse was there working at an inn. I never told him I had been going down to Nantucket since 1968, so he assumed he had been going there longer than I had since his parents had a house there. My sisters knew families that had been vacationing there for decades and a number of my school friends were there also. The island is so small that every one goes over board to respect each other's privacy. There were a whole different generation of college kids there, since most of my friends were too busy working to get away all summer.
Since I was into a health routine, I decided not to attend any parties or to go out to any of the discotheques or bars. Still the island was small enough that it was like an all day party, particularly at the beach. I spent much of my time reexploring the island by foot which is the best way to see the island and declined rides in automobiles for the joy of walking. I use to use the marina showers to clean up every day and I ran into a number of my college friends who were on boats for brief stays. Nantucket is definitely a Boston atmosphere and a lot friendlier and more slow paced than the New York atmosphere. However, the island was growing and there were a lot of New Yorkers who were invading the W.A.S.P. enclave. My former college roommate showed up after having completed sailing around the world. His college girl friend was also staying in the same marina. Her father was one of the senior commodores of Massachusetts sailing. There seemed to be a lot of antagonism between the New York Yacht Club set and the more sedate members of the New England's sailing establishment. Although I had been swimming quite a lot and was less afraid of the water, I was not about to try sailing and still had a fond respect for the open ocean.
The movie Jaws was making its debut that summer and after seeing it would be somewhat scared of the ocean swimming that I had been pursuing. I was a strong swimmer and would spend hours well beyond shore, but people were always telling me to be careful of the south shore current which could drag one out to sea. Surfing was popular that summer, but I never bothered trying it since I had almost drowned on Nantucket trying to surf with a British friend five years before. Jimmy was enjoying popularity as one of the ring leaders of the beach set and did not have much use for my floating existence on the island.
The island had changed a lot in the three years since I had been there. All of the quaint stores down town were being replaced by more fashionable resort stores and restaurants. The old guard was becoming a minority to the off island entrepreneurs who were speculating on the island's new found popularity.
Large planes were unloading hundreds of weekend visitors, and ferries were bringing thousands of day trippers out of Hyannis. I began to realize why most of my family's more established friends had begun to leave the island in recent years for more remote hideaways far from the maddening crowd. I also realized the only way to avoid the crowds was to develop my timing better in the future. Still the beach was idealistic and I did not much care for island politics and tried to stay aloof from the controversies regarding island development and since I was from Greenwich and a guest, it was not really any of my concern. The local merchants were thriving at the expense of the once bucolic atmosphere of the island. There were quite a number of recent European visitors and New Yorkers to the island that demanded better service and accommodations. As an illegal camper with a lot of friends this was none of my concern. If I got bored of roughing it, I could always go back to the suburban tranquility of Greenwich.
One day while I was going into town for dinner, a taxi pulled along side of me. It was my decorator friend who had spent summers on Nantucket and was the protege of someone who had been going out there for a half of a century. He insisted that I stay with him and clean up my act. He had a number of house guests from Andy Warhol's crowd that were coming out to stay with him in a large rented house.
After a night in the house, I decided to leave because we did not see eye to eye on the various recreation activities the guests were to pursue. I did not feel like smoking marijuana which was currently the fad amongst the artistic groups of Manhattan. I had seen enough of it in the Greenwich Village environment and knew how it was destroying the lives of many young kids. It seemed omnipresent every where I went in those days, but I simply preferred to remain healthy and found it incompatible with my formal education. I would shortly learn that it was a big underworld business when I made my first solo trip to Florida.
As the August season approached in Nantucket, the island was becoming too hectic and I decided to retreat back to Greenwich for some rest and home cooking. My mother was very amused when I returned home, and she did not seem to want to bother me as I spent many days reading and enjoying the late summer and early fall days.