Winter in Springs
By Richard M. Kostura
Many people that visit theHamptonsthink about what it would be like to live here year round. I know. I was one of them.
Born and raised onLong Island, I’ve lived my entire life in three of its four geographical counties, and I’ve been familiar with theHamptonsfor almost 50 years. I began visiting east end beaches as a young surfer in the Sixties, and sold Schaeffer beer in a polyester suit and a company car on theNorth ForkandShelterIslandin the Seventies. I would travel all the back roads and think romantically of how nice it would be to live out here year round and raise my children in a place like this. I investigated the possibility of relocating my family out here in the Eighties, but moved west instead. Finally, 8 years ago this July 29th, I purchased a home in Springs.
And now that the Order of Protection has expired, I can tell you all about it.
The first thing that I liked about the house that I purchased was that the realtor and I could not find it. We drove back and forth on the street over and over, and eventually found the house way back almost500 feetoff the road down a long dirt driveway. There was however one other house that we passed as we went up that driveway. It was a small ranch house, unkempt I noticed, and it had a faux street sign in one of the front windows that read “PARKING FOR AMERICAN’S ONLY”.
I have owned numerous homes during my adult life, and so I understand the importance of good neighbor relations. I’m also a student of psychology and human behavior, so I know that if someone is displaying a sign like that there’s a couple of possibilities; one being that the poster had a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor and ballsy irreverence, or they could be a bigot. Guess which one it turned out to be.
I’m a peace and love kind of guy that never lost his spirit of love and brotherhood – real or imagined-from the Sixties. In fact, I am still so enamored by the “good vibrations” of that time that I am letting my hair grow, much like I had it way back then. I’m also very creative and like to help make things around me better. For example, as part of our giving back to the community, my wife and I who run a business together along with my son have donated hundreds of hours improving the quality of life for staff, patients and visitors atSouthamptonHospital. We are “Pay it forward” type people that get satisfaction from exceeding peoples expectations, and giving more than we take. It’s how we have fun and sleep well at night. So understanding the darkness of personality that would display a sign like that made it obvious right from the start that relations with this neighbor would be best kept to cordiality- the nod and wave as you drive by kind of thing- no deep friendship here. Unfortunately, my wife did not heed my observations and became friendly with them, a sure recipe for disaster given the differences in our perspectives, and the neighbor’s affection for consuming copious amounts of Coor’s Light and Fox News.
No one had ever told me that they “had my back” before, but this was my neighbors inebriated promise to me one evening early in the relationship. Coming across as nice people was their cover. Over the next bunch of years, this same neighbor made unwanted advances and even exposed himself once to my wife, and made advances to my son. It seems this was his accepted behavior by others for most of his adult life, and no one thought it a big deal.
I tried to be a nice neighbor. My son and I shoveled the collective driveway, clearing the way for his vehicles. I cut and left him firewood from clearing of debris along the property, and even asked him if he wanted to help me in a creative venture that he had expressed interest in, but he never acted on it. One of the reasons that I moved to Springs was because of the similarity of personality and purpose that I feel I share with Jackson Pollock. He was showing the world a new way of looking at art, much as I am trying to show a new way of looking at time and reality. I expected open minds and curiosity from the more artfully minded populace of theHamptons. When I mentioned this to my neighbor in one of our early gatherings, he drunkenly informed me – and I quote- that I “Can’t come out here and tell people that you (I) know how the universe works.” Alrighty then.