August 22 - 1959: Rafio the Mad Monk meets his destiny in Ptown

1989: Breakwaters can help control beach erosion
Rafio and Patricia at Ballston Beach in 1959.

1959: Ye Olde Editor of came acropper on Commercial Street

Love among the Beatniks in Ptown over a half-century ago

On this day in 1959, at 3:30 in the afternoon,  this writer met the woman of his dreams in Ptown. I  was eking out a living as a poet and street artist in Greenwich Village and had come to the Cape tip to escape the city's heat along with all the other starving artists who did portraits along Sixth Avenue at Waverly Place. Our usual customers were here on vacation anyway. That's me back then on the left.

I set up my easel on the porch of the Crown & Anchor and started sketching portraits since the coffeehouse craze hadn't reached here yet.

I soon noticed an very beautiful young girl strolling along Commercial Street every day. She was indescribably beautiful with long, blond hair pigtailed down to her waist and a shape which would get anyone's complete attention.  She had a shimmering beauty and grace which I can still recall in complete detail a half century later.  I had never seen a more beautiful woman.

You can read the rest of our "Cape Cod Love Story", but suffice it to say our courtship lasted three or four hours, and she moved into my pup tent in the dunes that evening. I'm holding a poster of Patricia below in my cc2day office sitting on the lap of Wally2 who runs things when I'm goofing off. 


1989: Breakwaters Can Help Control Beach Erosion  

Move would save $35,000 in lost tax revenues for Chatham

On this day in 1989, Nicholaus Souter of Wellfleet wrote this letter to the New York Times:

Your Aug. 1 Science Times article on beach erosion was excellent. Recognition is growing that dumping sand into flood waters (''beach nourishment'') doesn't work. We are about to reinvent the breakwater.

In early 1988, erosion was 60 inches a day along 1,300 feet of beach in Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod. In one area of the flood, 600 cubic yards of sand were dumped at a cost of $3,000. This was gone in two weeks. For $20,000 a small rock breakwater was then put down. The rate of erosion dropped to 6 inches a day. The annual cost of flood control dropped from $75,000 to $7,500.

This story, however, does not have a happy ending. The adjacent property was denied permission to build a breakwater. Flood control efforts on both properties were then abandoned.

Of the nine houses originally in the flood area, four have been destroyed, and two others are valueless. The three surviving properties have breakwaters. Six homeowners have been wiped out. Federal flood insurance paid less than 10 percent of value. Three other houses in the interior and a wetland have been lost.

Chatham has lost $35,000 a year in tax revenues. This would educate seven high school students. People once willing to pay for flood control have left town. Further erosion of the coast and the tax base is certain.

The Netherlands was doubled with rock breakwaters. The economics of erosion are such that the United States will soon return to this type of flood control.

NICHOLAS B. SOUTTER Wellesley, Mass., Aug. 9, 1989 welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on