I am very into Led Zeppelin right now. I know, I know. I’m about twenty years past prime Led Zeppelin phase age, but I’ve always been a late bloomer…
This music – and anything by Pink Floyd – takes me back to my first summer of freedom, when I had just turned eighteen and lived on Cape Cod. I’d been going to college in Vermont and met a slightly crazy girl at work. She had moved to Vermont to go to college, too and had grown up on the Cape.
Blonde and willowy and yet another August baby, our eyes met across the checker who ran the register between us at the Grand Union at the base of Killington. And I don’t know what it is about Leos, but they somehow see through my well constructed façade of detachment to the cream puff I keep hidden and locked away. They just dig me. I guess I like them, too, because she and I quickly became inseparable.
She was living with her father and stepmother and younger half-siblings. They became my second family. Her mother had married very well into an old money family on the Cape, but her father was just a regular guy. My friend moved back and forth between both worlds. I attribute her craziness to this dichotomy of regular folks who love her for her and these privileged, old money people expecting her to always act and talk and dress a certain way. That’d screw any kid up.
So when the semester was coming to a close, she asked me to come live with her on the Cape for the summer. We rented a tiny apartment on Main Street in Hyannis, packed up our cars, and left the mountains of Vermont for the beaches of Cape Cod.
I worked three jobs that summer. I waitressed at Friendly’s during the day, cocktailed at Guido Murphy’s at night, and on my days off from Friendly’s, I worked at a bathing suit store on Main Street convincing tourists that that color really flattered them.
My friend, we’ll call her Leona, and I lived together for about a month before I moved in with a guy I’d met through some friends I’d known when they were ski instructors back in Vermont. The guy was a prep school roommate of a ski instructor I’d dated briefly. Gosh! Dating was so incestuous when we were teenagers, wasn’t it?
His family had a ton of money, but he was spoiled mostly by his looks. He was beautiful. Seriously gorgeous. The first time we met, he presented me with a rose some other girl had given him. Girls just threw themselves at him. He didn’t quite know what to make of me because I treated him like he was nothing special. Somehow, that made me a keeper.
Anyway, the reason Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd remind me of Cape Cod is because of these other guys I met one night while I was out with Leona. We were bored and out looking for a party we’d heard about. We eventually came across a bunch of guys standing out on the lawn of this big yellow house. Leona yelled out the window to them, asking them if they knew where the other party was. They said, no, of course, and we ended up staying there and hanging out with them. It was our second home for a while. The guys were all from U Mass Amherst, and long story short, they listened to a lot of classic rock.
So there you go: My Led Zeppelin story.