Monday, July 21, 2014

Cuttyhunk bayberry: I've made at least one Cuttyhunk video before, the Cuttyhunk Historical Society profile page on Google Plus, Thinking through a Cuttyhunk documentary of the 1970s

I've made at least one Cuttyhunk video before (and which is in the CHS) ...

... and which involved interviewing ...

and documented the attempt to move a road on the undeveloped west end of Cuttyhunk for possible development, I think.

You'll find a link to this here, too -


Here are two other Cuttyhunk videos I've made:

"Janie and Gordon MacLeod's 50th Wedding Anniversary" (2007)

"Gordon MacLeod MDs Memorial Service on Cuttyhunk Island Massachusetts August 2, 2008" (2008)

(Both are viewable here:


And here's the Cuttyhunk Historical Society profile page on Google Plus  ...

... which connects with Google + Hangouts and Youtube (

It might be interesting to explore even doing online interviews over the winter in them.


See, too, my two blog entries from yesterday, July 20 and July 19, 2014 and thinking through a Cuttyhunk documentary of the 1970s.


Would be interesting in terms of documentary style, vis-a-vis Ken Burns ...

"I wanted to do it in first person

The sounds of the seagulls

The dramatic narrative fashion in which we tried to tell the story …"

to alternate between a kind of dramatic narrative fashion characterizing Cuttyhunk individuals,

and a first person account ...

and INTERVIEWS interspersed throughout as a way to bring in many many voices, especially kids in Cuttyhunk Yacht Club in the late 1970s who loved being on Cuttyhunk ...


And here are the beginning narratives from a variety of blog entries in this Cuttyhunk label (including from the two previous days) about the documentary I'd like to make presently about Cuttyhunk ...


Here's a possible introduction to this documentary film:

Cuttyhunk Island in the 1970s?

It was a different world than it is now. Old Mrs. Haskell, the school teacher, who wrote a history of Cuttyhunk (The Story of Cuttyhunk, by Louise T. Haskell [New Bedford, MA: Bradbury-Waring, 1953]), lived on the main street. She wore dark, cloudy-rimmed glasses, and long, old print dresses to below her knees, and also wore big, black, supportive shoes. She was overweight and wrapped her legs because of this, and also had short, curly, white hair. I think she had lived in New England much of life, and worked as the Cuttyhunk school teacher for decades. New Englanders are fascinating.

The Cuttyhunk store's entrance, where we got candy before the Saturday night movies, faced what is now the Museum of the Elizabeth Islands and the Cuttyhunk Historical Society, next to the Town Hall (town of Gosnold). Mrs Haskell lived in the front of this building.

Cuttyhunk was a fun place for kids, because there's a lot of freedom, and I learned to sail here, and taught sailing here, as well.


While the social changes of the 60s and 70s were in the air in the U.S., the western world in particular, and around the world {e.g. the hippie trail, and all those hippies who journeyed to the east, and all over}, Cuttyhunk experienced its own social innovations and experimentation. Alan Westin, Jr. built a windmill with his own money on his own land, so the Town of Gosnold could have wind power, but the town wouldn't buy the hook up, so it stood over Cuttyhunk for decades, a Don Quixote-like structure of unrealized potential, and beauty. The Liberos, two professors (Linguistics and Sociology) at small Massachusetts' colleges, explored radical left politics, were very generous with their home, and friends, and often went quahogging at the west end of the island, and sailing in their little (Herreshoff designed) Bullseye named after a Meville novella. Martin wrote a novel which he never published, and Bella is working on the 5th edition of an progressive sociology text book. 

They partly self-funded, wrote and co-edited (with compassionate, left-leaning friends) a little newspaper, "Survival News," which homeless people could sell on the street to make money. They also continue to be editors, to this day, of the journal "New Politics" ( 

(taken from this 2009 blog entry:


photo (1981 or 1979) of me with yacht club kids from Cuttyhunk Historical Society (with Ken Burns' effect)


INTERVIEWS with Denn L and  Claud J

Night trip adventures in Boston Whaler speed boat - INTERVIEWS with Denn L and  Claud J?


The Potters used to have a bakery in the house in front of the Coast Guard house (a little to the right facing out from the C.G.), right on the pond. It was fun to go there for bakery treats.


How great Potter (Allan Potter) was. He would pick up the freight at the Alert (the ferry), and could fix anything. He delivered the bottled gas and picked up the trash. He wore overalls, drove a very comfortable, old, pick up truck, and smoked a lot of cigarettes. He had a merry twinkle in his eye. He and his wife, Mildred, were honored at a picnic at the Moore's Cuttyhunk Fishing Flub in the mid-1980s, I think. Potter wore a golden, paper crown, and he and Mildred sat in aluminum folding chairs. Alec Brown inflated helium balloons for everyone, as he had done for years for Cuttyhunk gatherings. Martin Libero's unpublished novel lionizes Potter as its main character, as an example of a Billy Budd type workman (from a Marxian perspective).

Many of the kids working on Cuttyhunk wanted to work with Potter. Doing so was one of the most desirable jobs. Going to the dump on the garbage run at the west end, when working with him, brought a kind of closure to the day. And a lot of us did, including myself, worked for him for part of one summer. 


Sunrise breakfast and evening cookouts at Barges' beach with the Rectors (a professor of speech, at a good institution), with a lot of singing, campfire food (sometimes quite innovative, like 'egg on a rock'), and good cheer around the fire.


My brother and I sleeping in two, different tents (in which we could stand upright) over multiple (1968 - possibly 1987) summer's behind our Walpole cottage, because the house was too small. The smell of the grasses on Cuttyhunk are very sweet in the summer.


The charm of the house we rented for years. The pine (it was called Piney's house) in it, the books, particularly new plays at the time (Piney Wheeler was an English teacher, and the dean of Pine Manor school for Girls, in Wellesley, for years), the mulitiple penguin dishes, glasses, plates, the tiny kitchen like a ship's galley, the antiques, the hedgerow path which everyone walked through to get from the road below our house to the tennis court, and through to the road, again, skipping a steep part of the hill, liverwurst and tomato sandwiches on good, local bread with mayonnaise, our two dogs' enjoyment (Penny, a small, standard black poodle, and Angie, a yellow lab) of Cuttyhunk (they enjoyed Cuttyhunk a lot, - it's a very alive world for a dog), the brown and green paint of our house, the porch where we ate so many lunches, and so much more.


The delight of coming to Cuttyhunk from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on my own, on the Greyhound bus as a teenager from around 1974 to 1979, of teaching sailing as well as working on Cuttyhunk in those years, of knowing everyone - in pretty open, very friendly, ways - in the context of the openness and creativity which was in the air vis-a-vis the 1970s, the social changes 'in the air,' and the friendliness of summers on Cuttyhunk. It was also fun to wake up really early in the morning while living in Hamden (near New Haven), Connecticut, from 1966-1972, to get to the old, wooden, orange and white MV Alert ferry, with lovely lines. And it was fun to drive from Bethesda, Maryland (near Washington DC), from 1972-1974, when my father worked for the department of Health, Education and Welfare, for 2 years.


Going for camp outs with yacht club at Cuttyhunk's deserted west end, and on Penikese Island, and playing games, doing cook outs, eating somemores, knowing the feel of the land of these islands.

Feeling free and able to go anywhere on Cuttyhunk - on the rock or on the water - and on and around the last few of the Elizabeth Islands (Penikese, Nashawena, Naushon Pasque), because I knew them, and everybody.


Working in Mugsy Thompson's store. Mugsy was entertaining and had a friendly way with people, hiring many kids on Cuttyhunk in at least the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Serving ice cream, doing freight, or working at the counter in a friendly small town were all part of it. He had been in the Navy and smoked a lot of cigarettes. Flo, his wife, was very loving. When the store moved down the hill one house, Steve Baldwin, a skillful sign maker, who visited in the summers, made a perfect sign for the new store which was at the back of the home. It said: "Abaft the House." 


Engaging the radical, and literary, thinking of the Liberos, while living in their basement for a few summers, as well as their generosity and compassion, in the context of the 1970s, and as a teenager. They thought of me for awhile as an example of the 'new man,' (in a Marxian reconceiving of masculine subjectivity, I think) in my early twenties, because I was thoughtful, caring, and independent-minded, and was open to engaging feminist thought, for example.


The radiance, warmth, fun and engagement with people, especially in the summer of 1979, (but all through the 70s and beyond), when I was the head yacht club instructor at the Cuttyhunk Yacht Club, and I also organized a talent show that summer in the evenings, which was very, very fun, bringing the island together, summer and winter folks, rich and poor, to create a kind of communitas (that is, a kind of warm, creative togetherness). 

And since I knew all of the kids in yacht club, and was 19 years old, I felt a kind of rose of youth and creativity much of the time, I think. I also initiated building a little dinghy for the Cuttyhunk Yacht Club, as an afternoon class that summer, and Eb Wincott (who named it 'Watermelon,' painting it green outside and pink inside) did much of the building, and the Liberos and other adults and some kids in yacht club, attended it. The yacht club had needed a dinghy for years. And it was an interesting teaching and learning opportunity, which I could initiate as the head instructor of the yacht club. Besides eliciting creativity in others via the Talent Show that summer, this is another instance of how the milieu of Cuttyhunk brings out creativity in me; I'm not sure why. 

I experienced a kind of loving bliss 'in the air' that summer.


Playing tennis with a long-time friend simply to keep the ball going, as a kind of 'flow' experience, instead of to 'win,' - on one of the two clay, slightly weathered, summer only, courts on Cuttyhunk.


Visiting one particular family who had 3 girls and a boy, very often in the evenings to play Yachtzee (a spelling game with letter dice) and tea ... early crushes


Freedom of being on dinghies (small boats), and sailboats, as well as an ease on the water, thanks to the Cuttyhunk Yacht Club from 1966 through 1979 (when I was the head instructor), and well beyond ....


An island where radical, loving and creative thinking, and idea-exchange were possible ...


'Games' in the evenings ("Red rover, red rover, send Phillip over ..." "Simon says ..." and "Capture the Flag"), in a yard at the end of one road, and on other islands around ...


The freedom (and cleanness) to walk barefoot all over this little island, and also living close to natural world in the summers, - produced a lot of happiness. 

So many people went barefoot. My father, a physician, didn't want us to, because of the risks. This was frustrating because everyone else did. 


Staying in the Bosworth House in 1966 or 1967, or both. It's now a private residence. And staying in the Allen House in 1968 (with its guest cottages 'Fair play,' 'Foul play,' and 'Horse play'), - also now a private residence.


The warmth and generosity of Granny Moore, who introduced us to the former owner of the house we stayed in, and the openness of her home - its blue room with the long, shell-identifying tables, its kitchen, pantry, and the New Englandy front rooms, - for decades - at the "Cuttyhunk Fishing Club."


Knowing Wilfred Tilton, who had grown up on Cuttyhunk, gone to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), had a really nice aesthetic, and loved to joke around, and dance, had served in the navy, loved flowers, and although he never went to Church, and always arranged the flowers for the Church. He put the sign "Hermit" on his garden gate for the last few decades of his life (perhaps to avoid the latent fractiousness that can exist on Cuttyhunk). He had set up a pottery near three corners, in a large garden, after returning from RISD, and worked a little with Cuttyhunk clay, but I don't think the pottery ever went anywhere. 


The kind of creativity and art that Wilfred's working with Cuttyhunk clay is an example of ... there was a lot of this, especially in the milieu of the 1960s and 70s. 


First summer loves ... :)


Going up the hill to smoke near the schoolhouse and in the grove.


Hanging out on the wall near the store in the evenings during the second half of the 70s, with all the other kids. Blue jean jacket's were cool then. (And you needed to wear two or three layers in the 1970s in the evening. In the past 2 decades, I've only needed to wear one layer. Global climate change?) 


The presence of my folks when they were on the island. They were great, - my father a smart and skillful interlocutor with ideas, with a quick mind, and helpful as a doctor to many people. {My father loved this island a lot}.


A wedding in the back of the garbage truck ...

A wedding part way in the water at Church's beach ...

{reflecting a kind of hippie (kind of cultural reversal) or Cuttyhunk way of thinking ... }


singing, and harmonizing, in the summer - at the beach, hymns ....


Face painting on the steps of the Town Hall to start the Talent Show in 1979. I was very engaged that summer ~ lots of 'flow' experiences of very enjoyable kinds, coming together as a whole in the summer.


There's a couple on Cuttyhunk whom I've known since they were babies (but I don't often think of them this way). The woman, and her twin sisters, used to live next door when they were four or five, and we had so much fun over a number of summers. I was teaching sailing during these summers. And as a couple now, they really love each other, and seem to kind of generate loving bliss between them. It's impressive. They now have something like a 5 and 3 year old. (Is it their time of life for this as parents of young children?) She, in particular, seems to generate a lot of this loving bliss for them, and he's very receptive, and mutually warm. It's quite an interesting phenomenon on this island which is a little like a village in the winter, and not without its fractiousnesses and feuds.

Is this natural, mutual, loving bliss?


When I got on the ferry to come to Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, on Friday, I saw many old friends. One of whom I had known from birth, also, and I was her first yacht club instructor, when she was about five. We were talking with other friends, and she recalled how her first memory of me is of my balancing an oar (for rowing) on my chin. This woman is very good friends with the couple above, and they've all known each other since childhood. This woman is also quite content. {I think they all have good love lives}.

I was very playful, and fun, during my teen years and in my twenties on Cuttyhunk. It was a fun time. Lots of sitting in laps and playing with the above folks, and engaging life fully on this island.


Photo of beach picnic with Peter Smith and myself in overalls (with Ken Burns' effect)


A windmill was built on Cuttyhunk in the 1970s and stood for decades without generating power for the island. The person who built it was conservationist-minded (as was his father), built this windmill with his own money, and the windmill was an expression of alternative-energy thinking of the 1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, the town of Cuttyhunk wouldn't pay for the system to hook it into the existing power generator, which still runs on diesel fuel.

The person who envisioned and built the windmill hired many of his friends, also hippies, to build it.


On nearby Penikese Island, Dave Mash and George Cadwallader created new possibilities for juvenile delinquents, by setting up a state program in a very rustic place, where at-risk kids, who were 'offenders,' from communities on the mainland closeby could come to live and work for many months. Kids had to want to come to be admitted to the Penikese program. The program was paid for by the state of Massachusetts, and kids learned building and other skills, in a radically different environment. The program still is helping kids almost 40 years later. (In a way this Penikese program is an interesting social psychology experiment, vis-a-vis Zimbardo (1972), Milgram, et als.' research, but I never heard of it being conceived of as this).


Envisioning possibilities on Cuttyhunk as a teenager in the milieu of the 1970s, and with radical intellectual, Marxian friends ... with much creativity, I found Cuttyhunk very stimulating and fun, a place where I experienced freedom and sometimes loving bliss. A commune de Cuttyhunk?


In the mid 1970s, there was also a garbage can painting competition on Cuttyhunk. This involved recycling! 55 gallon drums again as trash receptacles, to be used then to keep Cuttyhunk trash-free. In the competition, people could paint their can any way they wanted. People were very creative, and made these unsightly cans beautiful. The competition was one of many summer happenings that brought people together, and benefited the island in multifaceted ways. I haven't seen any of these beautiful works of art in years.

So many benefits emerged from this clever countercultural way of thinking.


I can think of a lot of examples of countercultural thinking from Cuttyhunk from the 1970s. Counterculture was fascinating in its pervasiveness in the U.S.


Cuttyhunk Island's native American name is Pocutahunconoh, meaning something like "land's end," and people have come to Cuttyhunk to get away - for its remoteness - and for decades. In a way, it's a pretty hippie thing to do.

And Cuttyhunk's fishing culture, which is signficant, is a parallel example, but perhaps without the colorfulness or creativity of counterculture, as it found expression on Cuttyhunk in the 1970s.

Cuttyhunk is hard to get to, and people have come here for a long time just to get away from it all, including from modernity ...


In a way, life on Cuttyhunk dovetails sweetly with (and precedes, too) hippie-mindedness - (turn on, tune in, drop out).


(all of the ***** above taken from this blog entry: - August 21, 2009)


Further Recollections of Cuttyhunk

Occasionally I'd see horseshoe crabs at the far end of the Cuttyhunk pond.

Very ancient, beautiful creatures ... Merisomata -

We'd also go fishing for crabs and ink squid off the fishing dock with periwinkle's {snails} - which we'd have to crack with rocks, for bait.

And we'd go hunting for mussels while avoiding the barnacles with our bare feet.


Gone fishin' ... which is what a lot of folks come to Cuttyhunk to do ...

{It's kind of a hippie thing ... go off to the beach or out on the water, and commune ...}

Sailing, too ...

Cuttyhunk has always been off the map, a kind of quiet place to get away to, because it's pretty hard to get to logistically.



Sitting on the ramp
by a boat house
on Cuttyhunk,
where I came so often
as a teenager
with friends,
to hang out ...

Still coming here now
because it's quiet,
and now to write ...


My father loved Cuttyhunk Island a lot, where rosehips abound in the summer. He came here first as a school kid in 1943. We started coming to Cuttyhunk in 1966, the year we moved to Hamden, Connecticut, where my father took a position at Yale University, working on the development of group practice and community health plans at the Yale Medical School.

Cuttyhunk Island has been a place of continuity and community for my father and mother, through a number of moves in their lives, prior to their move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1973.

My father was Cuttyhunk Island’s principal medical doctor during his vacations in August each year in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, and provided medical advice for many who needed it for free.


possibly some poetry too from this Cuttyhunk label in this blog -



What would be the best music or sound track for a Cuttyhunk documentary of the 1970s? Ken Burns' inspired music, e.g. a very moving folk music track played by J and S on violins (and me a little on bagpipe?) or ... ?

Here's Ken Burns on music in his films:

On Music in Film - Ken Burns


So the above is a beginning outline, and with photos, for a Cuttyhunk documentary of the 1970s, but which I'd like to be much more inclusive about with interviews of Cuttyhunkers ...



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