You probably know how scent and sound can trigger such powerful memories. Well, this Brooklyn gal fell in love with a most beautiful island over scent and sound. To me, the island is Long Island, particularly eastern Long Island.
My journey to this very intriguing paradise began in the New York borough of Brooklyn. Surrounded by truck noises and loud voices of many people from all ethnic backgrounds, the adventure began when we ventured out to the eastern beaches. We’d get into a car and go over the Kosciusko Bridge to Long Island and head as far east as we wanted to go. Usually, a sunny warm morning start, the sounds of joy and laughter, excitement and anticipation were all around and all over me as I could smell my mother’s food preparations and hear the sound of rattling beach chairs being put into the trunks of cars.
Everyone wanted to go, so you were never alone. There were at least eight or ten car-loads of relatives following. It was like a caravan crossing a desert or a circus of people packing up and moving to go to another city. But when we finally reached our destination, it was like entering heaven itself.
We’d arrive at about 8 A.M. I remember the beach being an off-white color, sandy and then rocky, depending on which fork of the island we chose. The salt air was always cleansing. I was ready for it as a peacefulness came over me like I was home again after a long trip away. The ambiance made you forget everything and anything else. The aura around me was translating.
We would pick a location and the sound again of those car doors and the trunks opening and closing, the voices of children and parents, and the cries of the gulls took me to so many other places that I realized how lucky and blessed I was to be part of such a wonderful life in just this one place.
One particular memory comes back very vividly. I remembered at low tide that all the men left the area. After some hours, they returned with more clams, mussels, and crabs than you could count. The women would rise to cook these exotic dishes on outdoor grills and produce a feast not only for the eyes but for the other senses as well. What culinary delights came out of low tide. It was truly remarkable. I’m still amazed by the array of different dishes my family prepared from the sea’s bounty in this very fulfilling atmosphere.
So although a Brooklyn native, as I grew, my playground soon became a short ride over that good old Kosciusko Bridge to eastern Long Island where I now reside with my family and my grandchildren. My memories of the experience and its beginning never seem to fade because the farms, wineries, and open spaces are all around. I’m happy about some of the development rights selling out to agriculture. I believe that some things should be left as they are and not all things should be as everything else or we might wind up not recognizing the diversity and miss appreciating the variety.
Eating, playing, conversing, napping tanning, swimming, boating, fishing, collecting, admiring, laughing, learning and praying will never leave my association with these most precious beaches.
I can still call to mind seeing certain clouds that had soft curved edges that were huge, white, puffy, gorgeous, slow floaters that framed a deep turquoise sky. I remember the dark gray ones also, the many shades of gray ones that sometimes suddenly dropped their rain that sent us scrambling to the cars. Usually, the sun came around again, quite quickly sometimes, and the party continued. I too will never forget the many amazing sunsets. Every one was so different but they were all beautiful. Most of them were a perfect ending to a perfect day.
So now I continue to enjoy not only all of these pleasures associated with the beaches, but I also enjoy the great towns, shops, farms, eateries, wineries, bakeries, cultural events, museums, historical sites, shows, fundraisers, parks, festivals, parades, beautiful homes and landscapes and the other connecting islands that make up this wonderful eastern Long Island. We should all thank God for this most very special place and ask that His blessings always be upon it. And remember most of all to be worthy of it.