Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Summer Crossing

"They say it's not the same anymore...all in all, it would seem that the change in Provincetown which people speak of, especially those who contrast it to their salad days, is not so much that it is any less alluring or it's gay life less vigorous, but rather that with the New Conscience gaining ground elsewhere it is no longer one of (a) few ports in the storm. It is not quite the never-never vacationland of one's wilder dreams it once seemed to be, because you can believe it's really there now. It is beautiful, beautiful people live here, beautiful people come here. But no longer...on parole".

This heady, albeit heavily edited prose comes from John Francis Hunter's lengthy 1972 epic "The Gay Insider", a moldering copy of which presently sits at my left hand. I bought the book when I was all of 17 years old, and it still has some value as sort of WABAC machine to our not so distant past. In spite of the lovely and then brand-new liberation rhetoric, it only seems to reinforce the idea that people have been complaining about Provincetown changing for a great many years. One feels that perhaps even the Wampanoag must have complained about the changes wrought by those awful Pilgrims after they picked up and headed off to Plymouth for more fertile ground and potable water.

It seems like almost everyone had something to say this summer. Dear friends had taken to referring to the place as Problemstown. But the concerns at hand were no longer my issues.

Here it is: Perhaps it's not actually Provincetown that changes. Certainly, retail establishments open and close, new restaurants appear as some old standbys drearily trudge on, real estate prices creep ever higher. One generation is given the gift of growing old; another blithely replaces it.

Basically, the town seems to stay more or less the same; it's we who change within it.

And for some of us old yearly trustees, it's only the conditions of that parole that have changed.

We are sentenced to return year after year.


Richard said...

My partner and I have been going to P-town off and on for the last ten years. This summer we rented a condo for two weeks. Our neighbors on each side were “straight” families from Boston. In past years gays and lesbians occupied each of the units. I’m guessing that the rental rates may have risen so high that younger gays and lesbians can’t afford P-town. Or is it that people in general are becoming more accepting and it doesn’t bother them to rent a vacation home next to a bunch of queers?

Supreme11 said...

Well said nd well written! Sorry I havnt been reading mu8ch, but you know I love reading your blog man!

Mike said...

I've always wanted to live or buy in Provincetown, but then I wonder if it would be the same. And also faggots like me driving up the prices are part of the problem.

What's happening is the same thing that happened to my building in the gay ghetto...all the single gay men and couples have been replaced mostly by rich yuppie lawyers.

Call a place "Paradise" then kiss it goodbye.

johnnybc@cox.net said...

Gay Ghetto- Only the 'mos will move into a dumpy neighborhood, get rid of the garbage, the rats, and the cockroaches, plant trees, flowers , put up paint, window boxes, safe lighting, raise the rents and force the indigenous out, but not to high to stop the fabulous from moving in, call it a "ghetto" and complain when others see the beauty and buy into it, which raises the rents and forces the indigenous out... boo hoo.

P'town changing?
Everything changes.
My 2nd grade archetypal red brick school house in my home town has been decommissioned. Jeff Buckley is dead. They want to widen Rt 44.
Things change. But if we fight every change, there would be no women's vote, no St Louis Arch, no President-elect Obama, no fruit smoothies with protein powder, no paved road out to the tip of Cape Cod...

If you can't embrace change, or accept it gracefully, then move on to where you don't have or know the history.