When I was quite young, in the late 1950’s, I remember pleading with my father as we were setting off on one of our Sunday drives: “Dad, let’s get lost.”

I grew up in an urban town on the periphery of Manhattan where I felt like a fish out of water. In my heart of hearts, I was a nature girl and didn’t want to find our way back home from the wilds of Bear Mountain or even the Jersey shore.

And so, what a thrill it was when I graduated from my all-girls’ high school and was given some money by my parents to travel on my own for a couple of weeks. My best friend, Josie, and I made our plans.

This was 1970 and we were in the thick of it. I remember packing a slew of full-size vinyl records: The Doors, Tim Buckley, The White Album, and our goddess, Joni Mitchell. But this also entailed schlepping along a rather heavy portable record player. I remember packing an enormous Mexican straw suitcase full of books: Be Here Now, Anais Nin, Hermann Hesse along with all of our thrift store finery.

The idea of a silent journey was also parsed as antidote to our habit of constant chatter. With no sense of being burdened, we were taking the bus with this plethora of stuff, looking, as my mother said in farewell, like a couple of gypsies — and why did we have to wear those szmatas? (Polish for “rags”).

Cape Cod seemed the place to go. The silence lasted a full half hour as the Greyhound sped along I-95. As we were getting close to Hyannis, where we planned to get off, we saw a road sign that said Martha’s Vineyard.

The only thing we knew about it was that it was an island but the romance of the name bowled us over. We were instantly under its spell and on the next ferry here. Such is the power of words, of poetry. The catalyst of those two lovely words that led to a serendipitous boat ride was the launch of a 50-year love affair with this Island.

When we got to Oak Bluffs, we felt like we arrived in a fairytale, including Ocean Park and its turn-of-the-century architecture. As happened in those days, we walked around Circuit avenue and within an hour made three friends. As the day waned all five of us rented one room at the Nashua House. One thing led to another — from summer jobs, to settling here full-time the winter I graduated college.

These days when my single women friends bemoan the dire state of possibilities here, they sometimes bring up a saying: “Women come here to find themselves. Men come here to lose themselves.”

Well, I guess I had it backwards. I am so grateful that I managed to get lost on this beloved rock all those many years ago.

Susan Puciul lives in Chilmark.