From Rockaway to Westhampton

Written By: Jane  Genende

From Rockaway to Westhampton

By Jane Genende


Ever since my childhood summers at the beach in Far

Rockaway, the beach has remained one of my favorite

destinations for vacation. My summer vacations in Rockaway

with my grandmother were among the happiest times of my

childhood. My parents’ would rent a bungalow for my grandmother and I. Each summer we would spend a minimum of two weeks to a whole summer, from the 4th of July to Labor Day together. We agreed that if I was homesick I could return to my parents at anytime. After the first week, and for each additional week that I remained with her we had a ritual. She would ask me,

“So Janie, you like dis country?

“Yes,” I’d reply, “I like it here.”

“So maybe now you’ll stay anoder veek?”

“Yes, grandma, I’ll stay another week.” And we would both laugh knowing that it

was a double entendre for grandma and I. A joke, she said, from her early days as a young immigrant newly arrived in America, that now applied to out situation. As if her stay here in America, like my stay in Rockaway, was only temporary after all, and if it didn’t work out she would go back home to Poland, and I to my parents.

Over the years, my husband Jack and I have gone on at least one beach

vacation a year to relax, refuel, and strip away the tension and

stress of a busy life. Some vacations were for just the two of us,

and some were family trips with our children, Emily and Seth. In the 1980s

and early ‘90s, when we lived in Manhattan, every summer we

would go on vacation to various beach areas on

the East Coast: the Hamptons on Long Island; Cape Cod,

Massachusetts; Cape May on the Jersey Shore; and Rehoboth

Beach, Maryland, just to name a few. We enjoyed all these

places, with each having their own special character. However,

since the Long Island area is the closest to Manhattan and

commutable for weekends, we settled on that location when we

lived in Manhattan and thought about looking for a weekend/

summer place.

In 2007, when Seth was a senior in high school, he and

his classmates were planning a prom party at a friend’s house

in Westhampton, New York. Jack and I volunteered to be

chaperones, along with another couple. After we made our

plans, it dawned on me that while we were out there, we could

contact a realtor and make an appointment to see a few homes.

It was a place we still liked, and we thought perhaps we might

retire there.

The prom weekend passed without an incident. We

enjoyed our time away with our friends, and we were pleasantly

surprised to see what we could afford to buy as a summer and

eventual retirement home. We spent a year of Sundays

driving out to Westhampton Beach and looking at homes with

our realtor. Those Sundays could be very frustrating. The drive

is about two hours one way, depending on traffic. Being in a

car for a total of four hours is enough to ruin a day. Add to

that the stress of looking at several houses, each one coming

close to what you want, but not quite close enough to actually

make an offer. Ultimately, we did find what we were looking

for, and we closed on our new home in Westhampton on Jack’s

birthday, April 17, 2008. Unlike our first house in Chappaqua,

which was a compromise, albeit a very good one, our place in

Westhampton is really a dream come true. It is actually about

three miles from the beach, but we have decided by popular

vote to dub it- the beach house.

Since closing on the house in 2008, we have been going out

on weekends, vacation every August, and even enjoy going out

once or twice a month in the winter. There have been some

unexpected bonuses to having our house in the Hamptons.

Emily and Seth like to come out on weekends and often bring

friends. My brother Barry, who lives on Long Island, visits with