I spent summers on Cape Cod when I was a kid. And my dad did before me. As those of you who have been to Cape Cod know, the Cape Cod Bridge is a big deal for many reasons. There are two of them, of course, but we always refer to them as “The Cape Cod Bridge.” You can sail across it. Or you can get stuck in monster traffic. (It was far worse when I was small, I think.) Or it can be anywhere in between.
The dogs always stick their noses out of the windows to “smell Cape Cod.” And the human passengers can sense Cape Cod, too, and everything that means—family, friends, beach, corn, clams, sun, hydrangeas, ice cream, memories, anticipation, leaving, arriving . . . it’s a true bridge. A crossing.
When Alice Rice and her parents were halfway across the bridge, Alice felt strange. Her breath caught high in her chest and she became light-headed. It seemed as though there wasn’t enough air in the car.
“Look,” said Alice’s mother from the front seat. “It’s beautiful.”
“As always,” said Alice’s father. He was driving. He slowed the silver rental car. “What do you think, Alice?”
The sun was blazing. The water—beneath and beyond them—glinted wildly. Seconds earlier, Alice had been thinking that the surface of the ocean was like glossy, peaked blue-green icing sprinkled with truckloads of sugar. Now, she had to remind herself to breathe. She was dizzy and slightly afraid. Her hands were clenched. What was wrong? This had never happened to her before. She’d always loved the bridge, loved the feeling of being suspended, like a bird, between the mainland and the island.
The sensation passed as quickly as it had come. “Beautiful,” Alice finally said, relieved.
—from Junonia, by Kevin Henkes
It’s not the Cape Cod Bridge and it’s not even Cape Cod and it’s not even about summer, for God’s sake—but Junonia by Kevin Henkes (and how exactly does he write about girls so brilliantly???) has always struck me as a perfect Cape Cod book. And so it was a real treat for me and for my family to celebrate the publication of Junonia with Kevin, as well as the twenty-fifth anniversary of the justly famous Eight Cousins bookstore in Falmouth, Massachusetts, recently.
Here are some snaps. And, by the way, she did it again. Despite the rabid crowd in the store, Carol Chittenden hand-sold Tashi, by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg, and Kim Gamble to my daughter, and all of a sudden she is reading. Happy birthday, Eight Cousins!