Conscience Point

Written By: James P.  McGaughey


Conscience- noun, an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.  In other words, a moral sense.

Point- noun, Math Word definition, an exact position or location on a plane surface.  A point is not a thing, but a place.  Verb, direct someone’s attention to the position or direction of something, typically by extending one’s finger.

This year marks the three hundred and seventy fifth anniversary of the landing of the first English Colonial Settlement, located on Eastern Long Island.  It is now in present day Southampton Township, New York.  I did not realize this until I researched the title of my composition.

I spent two years working for Dave Bofill in his North Sea location, from 1988- 1999.  This marina is now currently owned by Strong’s.  It is just around a curve from Conscience Point.  This is where Dave once greeted me with the nick name “Leonardo,” as I would have to paint cinder blocks for the boat shows or displays.  He would wind up roaring with laughter if things were going good.  Those settlers would have been definitely startled, if they could have seen how quickly Dave could move boats.

I wonder what those pilgrims would think of the Hamptons and the New World today?  I believe they were Puritans.  I would say they were a rather stern and disciplined people.  I have seen the stockade area at the Southampton Historical Museum on Meeting House Lane.  I wonder about who had the misfortune of being placed in the punishment stocks.  You were locked into this device and publically scorned and humiliated.

Those pilgrims must have gotten off their ship and just walked straight, due south on North Sea Road.  Across County Road 39, probably already glancing west and east beyond the yet unbuilt, 7- Eleven.

“Holy Cow”(Phil Rizzuto’s voice in my head), what would they have thought about this site!  A guy standing at this intersection waving to passing cars, holding a flag and a sign.  It is Tom Wedell.  The people in the cars leering, honking, cursing or laughing.  Possibly questioning their own thoughts or ideas.  He has a United States flag.  The sign reads, “When they jumped the fence they broke the law and Deport Illegals.”

Just to his side, the southeast side, is a lineup of men.  At one time it stretched down both the west and east sidewalks to the L.I.R.R.  overpass.  They were also from another land, looking for work and possible opportunity.

Dennis Michael Lynch even jumped out of his car and made a documentary on this plight.  He once pulled up to this scene, passing it many times before.  Suddenly, a Neil Diamond song came on his radio as he was stopped by the red light and heavy traffic.  A song called “America.”  This triggered his reaction.  I wonder who the pilgrims would have thrown into the stocks for the creation of this situation.

I remember in 1988 the most peculiar thing that I witnessed was that statue just to the north of County Road 39, somewhere by the forgotten Roadhouse bar.  On the east side of the road, possibly an antique dealer, if my fading memory is correct.  It was of a fellow standing there looking upward with his arms outstretched to the sky.  He had no clothes on and oh my goodness!  The statue seemed like no big deal.  I thought “it,” which was naturally there and while driving past in open view, was extremely amusing!  Definitely a very Jerry Seinfeld, lighthearted, thought provoking scene.

So now they must have continued south, passing Jagger Lane, Mick?  I am pretty sure that the Jagger ancestry had a definite influence on this area (John Jagger is one of the original Lynn settlers).  Mick and the “Stones” certainly had a major affect on American teenagers during the British Rock invasion of the sixties.  They also spent the spring and summer of 1975 resting out at Andy Warhol’s, Church Estate, out in Montauk.  Where is Keith?  What, you might possibly think in the stocks?

The next street is Hampton Road starting the Southampton Village shop area and ending it at the next block.  Meeting House Lane and the historic punishment stocks.  A couple of blocks more and you are at Gin Lane then the ocean.  The only other people they would have run into were the Shinnecocks.  Hey, how is it going?  We are your new neighbors!  Meeting new people can be very interesting.  Bernie Madoff certainly was!  I am sure many people wanted to make a new movie about him calling it, “Weekend at Bernie’s 2, Rot in Hell.”

I had an old friend, who could be very rough and course.  He was a big, intimidating man with definite Viking ancestry.  The property adjacent to his had been for sale for a while, letting the grass grow high.  The house finally sold.  The new neighbor moved in and introduced himself.  He then asked my buddy if he could borrow his mower to cut the grass.  Don had a very quick answer and said, “I don’t know, do you think it would be okay, for me to borrow your wife?”

Now I believe the roads in those days, three hundred and seventy five years ago in 1640, were only foot trails.  They were most probably walked by the indigenous animals and humans developing them into trade routes.  The major native society in these Northeastern parts were the Algonquian tribes.  The Pequot and Narragansett peoples which include the Shinnecock.  In 1641, the pilgrims signed a lease with the Shinnecock.

The new British neighbors from Lynn, Massachusetts must have been definitely tough.  I do remember the tales of the Salem, Massachusetts pilgrims.  Maybe this is why these Southampton settlers chose to come here.  Witch!

As time went on and the population and trade increased the trails expanded.  Horses and trains were utilized.  Then Henry Ford came along and was a sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique, Mass Production.

Everything presently seems to be more about greed and how good it is!  I did see the movie Wall Street and understood the basic undertone of the script.  I once renovated an oceanfront property in Sagaponack.  It is a Shinnecock word meaning, land of the big ground nut or potato.  It was right next to Ira Rennert’s little bungalow, adjacently located on Potato Road to the east.

Boy oh boy!  I believe Gordon Geckko portrayed by Michael Douglas, sure was right!  What was that you were saying, Dan?  Yipes, zoinks Scoob!  Can somebody please try to help me, get out of those infamous stocks?