A Lost Love
Typically we refer to people and life when we consider our sense of loss. Yet one can experience loss of place. Consider the Hamptons.
Some 40 years ago, after Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner but before the Wall Street Swells, I visited the Hamptons. Started in a share house, bought a Sunshine house and traded up to a beachfront house overlooking Gardener’s Island, Plum Island and glimpses of Connecticut across the Sound. We even lived down the beach from P. Diddy and Donna Karan. (My white linen suit sits in the closet waiting for the “White on White” party invitation.) (Following Paddy Chayefsky’s recommendation, I always have a packed bag in the hall closet, but that’s another story.)
As a part-time and then full-time resident, I lived to enjoy the special quality of this charming town. Just think about those magical three miles of East Hampton: from the ocean to the bay with forests in between. You can’t find anything like that anywhere else. Not even Tuscany or Provence has an ocean and a bay.
Beyond the beauty of the landscape, I miss the beauty of the environment: charity events; high class sports; splendid cuisine; and that always incipient opportunity to encounter a celebrity swell or two. Actually the only swell I would frequently meet was Billy Joel eating an ice cream cone on East Hampton’s Main Street. How American can you get?
Forgive me if I sound maudlin. But someday you’ll have to move with your memories from this special place. Nothing you can do about it.
Sure, you could make arrangements to be buried at Green River(maybe) or Cedar Lawn or even Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove (it helps if you’re Jewish). Or you can have friends cast your ashes into Three Mile Harbor or in the ocean at Main beach or Cooper’s Beach.
I never thought I would miss the Hamptons as much as I do. We lived in Manhattan and then purchased the requisite weekend house. That led to full-time residency. We saw Florida as the next step.
In preparation, we purchased a house in arty Sarasota. And for several years we spent six months in each place. Then we moved to Florida permanently. Driving back and forth with four dogs just took its toll.
In “Damn Yankees,” Joe sings “A man doesn’t know what he has until he loses it.” That’s how I feel about leaving the Hamptons.
Someday you’ll know what I mean. Before that, may I suggest that you take lots of pictures or have a friend take them. Eat at all the restaurants you can, and frequently at your favorites. It may not survive until next year.
Attend a host of charity events and makes lots of friends. Pursue your art or join the Trails Preservation Society. Volunteer at ARF or the hospital. Attend events at Guild Hall and art shows at Ashawagh Hall. And you can never visit Cyril’s too much.
You may someday end up in Florida. And while certain locations have beauty and style, they also have a level of vapidity that, having come from the Hamptons, you just won’t fathom. They will never prove as satisfying. So suck in and soak in the richness of the Hamptons life while you can.
I miss you Hamptons. Even though life is good and I pursue my art and I serve on municipal and cultural committees and write for the local papers, it just isn’t the Hamptons. It isn’t New York.
So please, Mr. & Ms. Literary Judge, give me an award so I have more than a casual reason to come up for a visit. Thank you.