THE MILLSTONE TAVERN, MOM AND THE PINK CADILLAC
By Joyce DeCordova
The time was the ’60’s and The Millstone Tavern was a naughty place. Located in
Noyac opposite the now defunct race track, it was the first gay bar in the
Hamptons. Straights were allowed in (there was a bouncer at the door) but
basically they provided cover for the gay men who came there mainly from the city.
Being gay was a definite no-no then, but, if you were gay, The Millstone Tavern
was your kind of place. You could speak freely, dance, drink and pick up or not.
The Tavern was built on sand and looked like a bunker which, given the
unfriendliness of the locals, was probably a good idea. It was approximately 30×80
feet. The floor was a cement slab, it had a flat roof and the sides were made of
cinderblock. It had no aesthetics except for the bar which was30 feetlong and
made of mahogany plus a jukebox and a mirror ball. It had two bathrooms,
although the girl’s bathroom was hardly necessary and rarely used.
Men would dance together to the music of the jukebox and since there were
straights at the Tavern, they also had line dancing led by the owner’s sister.
Everyone did the Hully Gully and rocked and rolled until the wee hours. The music
was loud, but that was okay. There were no other houses on the road. It was
nowhere and yet there were nights when you were turned away because of the
crowds. Being nowhere gave it privacy and because it was in the middle of an
unlit & deserted road miles from town, It felt like a place where anything could
happen… and it did.
So how did my mother arrive at the Millstone? At the place where anything could
happen? My husband bought it in the 80’s and used it mainly for storage. He
bought and sold estates back then and needed a place. When we got together in
the early 90’s, we decided to convert the Tavern into a home. We put down
porcelain tile floors (2200 square feetof it). We made a kitchen, put in fireplaces
and an 8ft high wrought iron door was placed in front. The sand outside was
mixed with wood chips and stones were laid, bushes were planted and we moved
in…the three of us. My husband and I and my 90 year old mother. I was her only
child, so where ever I went, she went. She had lived in the city her entire life and
we brought her to “nowhere” but that was okay with her because she was with
me and that made her feel happy and secure. I was still working then and I was
staying in the City three days a week. That left my husband with my mom. He
loved her and the feeling was mutual and, knowing that she was unused to
country living and being somewhat frightened by the isolation of it all (“Where
were the cars? Don’t people walk around here?” It’s so quiet here, I can’t sleep”),
he stayed at the house as much as he could while I was away. But there were
times when he had to go out.
Sometimes he would take her, sometimes not. The day of the pink Cadillac
convertible was one of those days when he left her at home alone.
He told her he would be back within the hour. He was always apprehensive when
he left her alone because she was beginning to get forgetful, and saying someone
called on the phone when they didn’t or forgetting to turn off the burner on the
stove, so he hurried back and asked her if anything had happened while he was
gone. There were no calls she said, but she did have a visit. Four Japanese men in
black suits driving a pink Cadillac convertible came by. They were lost and asked if
they could use the phone and she let them in. “Oh boy” he thought, this is the
beginning of the end. She’s really losing it. She’s becoming delusional. He called
me at work and told me about it. He was concerned and so was I. We spoke about