Dear Diary — August has started off beautifully. The sky is so blue, it is warm, and there is a heavenly breeze. The minute Mary and I got up we decided to go for a hike up the shore. So we rushed through the dishes, beds, and to the store and back. Mother fixed our lunch and we were off, clad in shorts and halters, with our bathing suits in a rubber bag. Just as we were leaving, we decided to have Mother take our picture. Ted came over just then, and we lured him into one, but couldn’t get him into the second one.
About 11:10 we said our final good-byes and set out up the shore. We talked about different things as we walked — Mary was definitely not “in the mood,” though. Presently we left the road and cut across the road. ’Twas rather hard walking and when we came to a heavens-sent bench in the midst of a sea of sand, we gladly “besat” ourselves and rested for about fifteen minutes. It was rather warm but breezy and soon we upped and “struggled” on. Inevitably Mary got off on the subject of Lester, and we discussed him quite thoroughly. When we came to a certain wooded point I remembered we cut across it through trees and over poison ivy. When all was safe we came out on the shore again and found no path — just rocks. Finally we came to a huge rock and perched on top of it to rest.
We managed to get in an argument about which island was Duck Island. We really had quite a disagreement. Sometimes Mary is positively maddening — she thinks she knows something (if not everything) about everything. I suppose I am like that myself, though. The point ahead of where we were sitting looked uncommonly like the one just before you reached Red Bay and I was sure we couldn’t be near there. Mother had given us strict orders not to go to Red Bay, ’cause it was too far away. But a few minutes’ further walking brought us in sight of that settlement and was I surprised.
We had to follow the shoreline and it was quite a walk. We weren’t hungry enough for lunch and it was only 1:00 so we decided to walk on. Followed a road to a point and cottage called “Harbour Lights” and then headed across it for the lake again. In the shade of some nice trees we sat us down and rested. The sky was oh so blue and it was a grand afternoon. Mary said this was the most wonderful summer she had ever spent — I guess it is. No thanks to me, though — ashamed to say.
Soon we arose and started on our way once more, having decided to stop at the next point for a swim and lunch. We waded through some long, silky grass and then a bed of sticky reeds. At last back out on the rocks and soon to the next point. I walked ahead and sang. Much to our disappointment a man was building a house in among the perfect-for-undressing trees. So on to the next one which also harbored a few cottages. No one seemed to be around, however, so we went into a nice clump of bushes and changed into our suits.
Hiding the lunch and our clothes we set out in search of a place to swim. Thinking we had found one directly out front, we removed our shoes and gingerly stepped over the rocks en route to the water. Upon reaching the water’s edge, we discovered that it was a genuine all-rock bottom and not exactly tempting to the would-be swimmer. I spotted a dock nearby and proceeded to explore the surrounding territory, barefooted on the burning rocks. When we came to a little slippery-rocks bay, Mary surrendered and turned back. But I was determined to investigate the possibilities of a dip off the dock, and since wading across the bay was the closest way, I balanced myself and started. First few steps okay, but next thing I knew I was sitting in the water with uncomfortable rocks underneath. Nothing (?) daunted, I arose and resumed my course. Made a comparatively safe crossing and landing. The rocks on ’tother side were hot! but I kept my eyes on the dock and at long last reached it. When I got to the end of it and peered over, what did I see but a rocky bottom far beneath. Determined to get some enjoyment out of it, I sat down and cooled my poor feet in the water. Then I steered for our hiding place and Mary got my shoes for me.
We left our suits on and carried our lunch pail out on the rocks. Mary’s shoulders were so red and so were mine — in fact they burned. It was then about 2:00 and we finished at 3:00. [In the upper margin: “It was fun while eating lunch to contemplate the good dinner ahead of us at night. Also Donald Duck’s arrival.”] Decided we’d better start back and not go swimming until we reached Oliphant since we were to be back at 5:15 — “not a minute later.” I kept my towel on my shoulders after that. The water was so blue and sparkling and how we longed for a swim.
When we got to Red Bay, and I remarked about how sandy it was, we couldn’t resist the temptation, so left our things on the shore and ran through the shallow water. It was only forty minutes since our lunch but we didn’t stop to consider the famous cramps. The water was grand and when we got out where it was deep we swam and floated and had loads of fun. There were just a few people in near shore so had all desired privacy. The waves were rolling in and made floating a bit difficult. Mary was the one who suggested we’d better be going (after we’d been in about forty-five minutes), so we started for shore. The water was quite shallow but clear with a hard ripply sand bottom. One of us suddenly had the brilliant idea of swimming “under” water with our eyes open. It was loads of fun and we forgot all about time. At first things looked all green and blurry but later cleared up.
We finally pulled ourselves away and actually reached the beach without stopping to try anything else new. And lo and behold, it was fifteen till 5:00. We had exactly one half-hour to walk about four or five miles. Not stopping to dress (the location being too open to public gaze), we headed for the point and there found some bushes which afforded privacy. We were all ready to start for Oliphant at ten till 5:00 so off we went at full speed over the rocks. I was quite a bit ahead of Mary. When we got to the “boathouse point” I cut through, not waiting for Mary. The sun on the sparkling water was glorious and I wanted to live in that moment forever. If only we could follow the shining path of the sun to the other shore!
Soon I heard a faint “Pat!” and then Mary’s whistle. I whistled back and waited. Then I started on across the sand. About five minutes later Mary emerged from the trees at the point and we waved. She had gone back to look for me, thinking I might have fallen. On we went across the sands and was it sinky! awfully hard walking. When I was safely over, I sat down to wait for Mary to catch up. When she did we went on to the road and I thought my legs would fall off.
Mary has to let everyone know when she does something better than someone else, and how she rubs it in! For instance, I was tired and she got me to admit it — then she boasted of not having rested since we left Red Bay (reminding me that I had sat down once) and not being a bit tired. When Mary is like that she makes me so mad.
At 5:15 we were walking to beat the band. Once a carload of people passed us and just after they got by, a boyish voice called, “Henry, oh Henry!” Mary and I got so tickled. Later we met two little boys and a girl who very politely said “Hello” as they passed. But as soon as they were by the boys yelled “Henry! where are you, Henry?” I’ll never live that down! It was so funny, though.
At 5:35 we were in sight of the cottage and as soon as we reached it we informed Mother (who didn’t scold us — miracle!) of where he had gone, why, and the reasons for our lateness! Ted came to call just then. Mother was expecting Archie Ayers to fix the roof so we had to leave the mail till after supper. Had yum-yum dinner and then Mary and I went down for the mail. Letter from Elma for me and one from Lester for Mary. We went on over to the store and while I marketed Mary sat on the bench and read her letter. I went over to ask her about the Jello once and just happened to see how the letter began — it was “Dearest Mary.” I was so shocked I almost passed out and when I got back to the counter my knees felt weak. Of course, I teased Mary about it going home and she didn’t seem a bit surprised or disapproving. She even told me some compliments he had paid her in her apologetic, maddening way. She insisted it was the first time he had ever addressed her as “dearest” and although I didn’t doubt her word, I felt disappointed and let down.
When we got home Mother had just finished the dishes for which she had to be scolded. I told her about the “dearest,” but she just laughed. Then I sat out on the porch and read Elma’s letter. She had let Earl read my last letter to her before she had read it herself. Heavens! I believe I told her about Mary and I being “sick.” Mother came out to sew and Mary to finish the letter, but I gave her no peace, addressing her as Dearest Mary, and trying to see how he had closed — I expected “Love, Lester,” but she assured me it was “Sincerely.” [In upper margin: “Just as we were going to the store Donald and Mrs. Engel drove up at the Dawkeses’.”] Finally Mary retired to the window seat in the living room with her precious letter. Presently she very calmly announced that he was planning to visit Oliphant on the 19th. I let out a joyous shriek and clapped my hands noisily. Mother vainly tried to quite me down and Mary grinned sheepishly (if that is the word). Then we began discussing his connections, stay, etc. and I was so excited I thought I could never wait till the 19th. Finally I settled down with the funny papers Daddy had sent and then we watched the gorgeous sunset. The night was cool and suddenly it seemed as if the summer were almost over.
We went in after the sun had gone down and lit the lamps. I found some old McCall (1929) magazines and started a murder mystery which I had read three years ago — “Hide in the Dark.” It was very good and I had a grand and successful hunt for the second installment. Mr. Dawkes came over about that time to see how we all were (accompanied by Ted) — he had been on a fishing trip since Tuesday. He asked about the “Reverend Sir” as he calls Lester and then I broke the glad(?) news. He made appropriate comments, Mary blushed, and I felt somewhat rewarded for my long suffering. Then he took Mary out to see the moon.
We all read till about 10:00 and then I was forced to leave my story and get ready for bed. I had the strangest feeling then, Diary — I wanted to cry and cry and cry. I had been so happy and then suddenly everything looked different.