Yesterday's Island Today's Nantucket
Volume 40 Issue 2 • May 6-12, 2010
now in our 40th season

Celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
Island Memories

This season is Yesterday’s Island’s 40th year publishing on Nantucket.  We’ve seen many changes on the island in those four decades, and over the years we’ve made many changes to our newsmagazine.

As part of our anniversary celebration, we’re printing memories of the island in 1970 that have been shared with us by readers.  Jo Ann Hubbard saw our request on the Yesterday’s Island Facebook page and was the very first to respond.  We’d like to thank her for sending in her story, and we hope that it jogs some memories of others on-island 40 years ago.
If you have a memory of Nantucket Island in 1970 that you’d like to share with us and our readers, please email it to or mail it to us at P.O. Box 626, Nantucket, MA 02554.

Summer at Cisco

My memories of the early seventies on Nantucket are centered on growing up and coming of age at the Ark, my family’s beachfront home at Cisco. 
My recollection is a little hazy about dates but I think it was during the summer of 1970 (but possibly 1971) that my sister Mary and I spent part of the summer living at the beach without our parents.  She was in college and I was in high school and our parents gave us the house to stay in while we worked summer jobs. It was a fantastic summer on the beach, working and playing hard.

I remember a beautiful July which turned ominous with the forecast of an early season hurricane.  While there was a fair amount of anxiety, we felt pretty capable of handling the impending storm.  We stowed all the outside furniture, checked for plenty of candles, water etc and put up the storm shutters.  It seemed like a pretty exciting adventure and we had a front row seat.   The sea was white to the horizon and the heavy rain began to fall. Some friends joined us as darkness approached and the winds began to howl. The waves were  crashing on the bank in front of the house and the sound of the rain and the wind and the blowing sand was like a freight train in a tunnel.  We decided to venture out and witness—up close and personal—the fury of the storm.  (Yeah—we were young!)  We walked over the dunes to Hummock Pond and ran right into the ocean crashing through the beach grass and into the pond.  It didn’t seem possible that the water had risen and passed over fifty yards of beach and broken through the dunes into the pond and we watched in awe. I guess that was the first time I felt fear rather than excitement in the heart of the storm.

It was also a pivotal moment when I realized what an amazing island this is—a place filled with natural beauty which we can not take for granted.

Several years later Jay and I were married on the dunes in front of the Ark overlooking Cisco.  Today, if you want to see that spot where we were married, you need a boat and scuba gear—it’s a couple of hundred feet past the breaking waves!

- shared by Magee Detmer, Nantucket resident and an owner of Nantucket Bake Shop


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