A lazy holiday on Cape Cod

When Edith wrote for the book for my father, she mentioned areas which I had forgotten, with regard to my stay with the Stokeys in 1973, perhaps understandably so – ‘Rajiva was a memorable guest. He gave us a useful lesson on how to define and reach a goal. I had decided that, as a long-term guest, he should take on a household responsibility, and so I asked him to mow the lawn. He did so cheerfully – a bit too cheerfully (I should have been suspicious). When he had finished mowing, I went out to admire his work. I discovered ‘holidays’ – patches of neglected spots – so numerous that the simplest way to fix the problem was to start from scratch and mow the lawn again. Rajiva proudly informed us that this had indeed been his plan: ‘If you do something badly enough, no one will ask you to do it again!’ Who could help but be charmed? Another idea of his, in the culinary area, was more helpful: when serving ice cream with jimmies (that’s chocolate sparks for the non-Yankees), one should provide a layer of jimmies beneath the ice cream as well as on top. Thanks to Rajiva, we still do it that way.’ But I did remember some of the food, the luscious BLT sandwiches we often had, where I developed a taste for mayonnaise rather than butter with bread, and the wonderful roasts.

There was a theatre in Falmouth which put on operettas in the summer, generally Gilbert and Sullivan which Lucy adored. So did I, making it a point to go every year to the annual performance of the Oxford Gilbert and Sullivan Society, even in the midst of my BPhil exams. At Cape Cod we would go every week, for wonderful entertainment, of which I can even remember bits of the Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore.

Towards the end of the stay I was asked by my father’s old friend Christobel Weerasinghe to spend a couple of days with her son Rohan in New York. I think she was very keen that he marry my sister, and this ambition developed when Anila went to America for her doctorate. But neither was keen though they became good friends, and in the end Chrissy had to make do with an American daughter in law, whom she came to adore.

But, as I put it in a letter home, Rohan took me to Greenwich Village & Chinatown and the Statue of Liberty and was very nice, and I saw the Metropolitan Museum and another and generally imbibed New York to decide 2 days was quite enough.’ I was even worse about Boston, to which Edith drove me one day when she had to go in for work. I had been expecting buildings like Oxford and Edith, realizing I was not impressed on the road down told me we would soon see something more charming. But when I asked when we would get there, she said we had already arrived.

The picture is of Roger Stokey and me in the fifties.