40 Shore RoadNow
Returning from a great summer at sleep away camp, I stilled looked forward to going out to Amagansett. Amagansett meant four foot waves, illegal bonfires on the beach, and trying to learn the dance called the mashed potato from my summer best friend, Nancy Murphy. Her parents Al and Muriel Murphy owned the White Sands Motel. Being good friends with the owners of a motel on the beach made me feel like a big shot. Even though my father was a doctor, I thought being a motel owner was a true dream.
As we turned the corner of Atlantic and Shore, my father stopped the car just short of our destination. He parked the car in front of this empty lot of sand and asked me to get out. Like a typical whiny child, I kept saying, ” I want to go to the beach. I want to go to the beach.” Ignoring my pleas, he just smiled and said, “Look at the four cement posts in the sand.” “These is all ours.” I stepped onto plot of sand and became flushed with excitement. We own a sandbox.
As it turned out, my father was having a few scotches with Mr. Murphy one might. The whiskey flowed and the talk turned to ownership. I think Mr. Murphy needed to unload some property. He had already built an extension along the highway. My father cut short his cocktail hour and rushed back to the motel room to have a sit down with my mother. “Rosie, Al Murphy is offering the property adjacent to the motel for five thousand dollars.” “It’s a lot of money. What do you think?” Now you have to understand something. First all of this is 1965. Second of all, my father was raised with what was called a depression mentality. He wasn’t always sure how to enjoy his money. My mother, on the other hand, knew how to let go. I don’t know if her exact words were “are you crazy.”
The next few months, our ten thousand dollar Sears catalogue house started to become our summer home. My mother and our next door neighbor from home made numerous trips to Amagansett from Great Neck. They’re excuse was to oversee the project. I think they made the trip just to see our builder Erling Justad. The longer the project took, the darker Erling got working in the sun showing off his fine physique always with his shirt off. I wondered if my mother even cared if the house ever got built.
The following summer we never returned to the White Sands Motel. The mashed potato was replaced with Led Zeppelin, and cocktail parties replaced bonfires. Yeah, we’re growing older and thought we could handle our liquor. Oh I learned that getting drunk on creme de menthe and daring someone to jump off your top deck isn’t such a good idea. After that, I left the parties to my parents.
Over the years I gained many friends. It doesn’t hurt to say you have a house on the beach. As I got older, I threw a few unforgettable parties on my own. And still nobody fell off the deck. The summer home became a haven. My mother was most relaxed when she spent hours picking rose hips or buying art from local artists. She turned us on to the Fishermen’s fair which I passed on to my friends. My parents were good friends with Roberta Gosman. A summer never went by without several trips to Gosman’s for lobster dinner. My father spent his days perfecting his tan and looking at the bikini clad women. Just looking mind you. When someone would even just one night, they said they felt like they had a week. The house seemed to drain all troubles out of you.
40 Shore Road today is up for sell. The parties are over. The Sears catalogue is in need of repair. It will probably be torn down and make way for some architectural nightmare. I only hope the next family will cherish it as much as I have. I guess I gotten older and know that can never be.