From Gazette editions of July, 1934:
Here it is, mid-July on Martha’s Vineyard, a pleasant time at a pleasant place. We are always tempted at about this phase of every summer season to look around and take stock; or, if that is too businesslike a phrase to use in association with the Island, to form a picture of the busy, idle summer.
This year we can report that the trend seems to be definitely against tops for men’s bathing suits. Some development simply had to come. There has been a rising insurgency for a number of years. In and about New York city, we read, magistrates’ courts are disagreeing with one another as to whether the male torso must be completely covered. Whatever may happen in New York, on the Vineyard the liberals are in the ascendancy. This, we take it, is because so many bathers are young, and youth does things differently, its own way, inviting middle age and age to follow. The invitation is often accepted.
The revival of bicycling continues, but not to the degree we would like to see. We are still far from a revival of the age of wheelmen on the Vineyard, when fancy riders scorched over the first tar streets and walks, or attracted crowds with their exhibitions. The bicycle is coming back slowly, giving pleasure to a few more individuals each summer, and this season there are undoubtedly more wheels on the road than there were last.
Roller skates are not in evidence. Perhaps they are laid up for summer, or confined to indoors. This we record without any feeling one way or another, for we happen not to have the warmth of admiration for the roller skate that we have for the bicycle.
Shorts are being worn, mostly by young women with long legs; or does it just look that way? Anyhow, they are being worn, and we hail this as a step against that formality of dress toward which we seemed to be heading as recently — or as remotely — as 1929. There is a variety of shorts, too, striking more often than not a decorative note and an accenting of glowing brown skin.
Nude bathing is still rumored, and still rumored in whispers, with breath more or less bated. From past experience with the way these things go, one assumes that until it is spoken of openly it cannot be considered a menace.
There are still no patched pants in evidence in summer circles. Perhaps national recovery has averted them. At any rate, summer dress, for both sexes, seems more decorative, more gay than ever before. Color is, perhaps, less lavish, but those who design summer costumes and those who dress in them seem to know how to build a few bits of cloth into effects which blend with the sunshine and sea breezes. Yes, it is a gay summer.
To conclude, the observer must conclude that summer activity is striking a good pace, but that there is still plenty of room for more vacationers and for more good times.
One of the phenomena of summer is the odd way in which different visitors spend vacations. Some of them seem to work harder at recreation than they would be expected to work at jobs in the city. Some of them keep up a tremendous pace at the bridge table, instead of roaming about outdoors. Some of them just sit around.
Dr. William A. White, Washington psychiatrist, gives these observed facts a scientific background which is also sound common sense. Every person is a law unto himself, he explains. Vacation should mean a chance to do exactly what one pleases.
What Vineyarders know is that matters which would seem trivial at home take on great significance in the country. The stealing of plants from a vacationer’s favorite garden, the wakening of a vacationer from a quiet sleep, the dumping of refuse across the street from a summer home, the intrusion of jarring details into vacation life — these are the major calamities which ought to be prevented at all costs.
Dr. White thinks the practice of taking vacations in installments of a few days at a time is not much good. The length of the vacation is more significant than anything else, for there must be time to store up energy for the rest of the year. More and longer vacations are certainly one vital need of the country; and on the Vineyard, of course, is a good place for them to be taken.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner