Nantucket Island, Mass.
Tennessee Williams retreat
31 Pine Street
In the summer of 1946, playwright Tennessee Williams and his lover at the time, Panch Rodriguez y Gonzalez, were renting a “wind-battered, gray two-storied house” at this address on the island of Nantucket. (It’s still there – see it at Google Maps.) Williams had been ailing on and off all year and was having difficulty with the play he was trying to write, which was then called Chart of Anatomy.
Earlier that year, Williams had read Carson McCullers’ novel The Member of the Wedding, and wrote her a fan letter. A mutual friend arranged for McCullers to visit Williams on Nantucket for a weekend. The two writers had an immediate rapport, and the “weekend” quickly turned into half the summer. Together they swam, rode bicycles, and enjoyed candlelit dinners. Stationed at opposite ends of the cottage’s long dining room table, Williams worked on his play’s first draft, while McCullers began transforming The Member of the Wedding into a play.
At the end of his new friend’s visit, Williams presented McCullers with a jade ring that had belonged to his beloved sister, Rose, who like McCullers had suffered from depression and ill health. And when completed, Williams’ play – with the revised title Summer and Smoke – was dedicated to McCullers.