Yesterday's Island Today's Nantucket
Volume 40 Issue 5 • June 3-9, 2010
now in our 40th season

Celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
Island Memories

Summer People

In 1970, we were Summer People. We didn’t decide to live here year-round until 1977. We were living at the time in California and flew with our three children to Boston, where we rented a car and drove to Woods Hole, parking it for ten days for $30.  We rented a $5 stateroom on the Nobska, with a huge brass key that we obtained from the Purser.  The trip took about five hours, with a brief stop in Oak Bluffs. The kids slept for part of the trip on a big bunk, and the stateroom had a small sink with running water.

My Mother greeted us at the dock and drove us to her summer home on Cliff Road.  When we asked how things were in Nantucket, she would say (almost every year), “This place is ruined.”  When asked why, she would say, “Someone has built a new house just up the road.”  Having been a summer resident since 1914 (leading horses out of the nearby barn during the Point Breeze fire), she found changes on the island difficult to accept.
In those days, Nantucket was busy from July 4 to Labor Day. We spent most of our vacation days at the beach, where it was considered rude to drive your vehicle among the beach-goers.  There was no such thing as an SUV – only a few jeeps, that stayed up on the bluff.  Our house had no television.  Almost every day we would go to Congdon’s Pharmacy on Main Street, buy ice cream cones, and sit on the bench and watch the pass.  Life on Nantucket was simple and pleasant.

— Corky and H. Flint Ranney

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.


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