Hamptons Morning

Written By: Linda  Kopf

Paparazzi was in front of the building and before the doorman could open the door they began shooting . The bright light and clicks from the cameras startled me even though I had my sunglasses on . I apologized “it’s only us”………They were running towards us hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous actor that lived here. I weaved through the crowd and reached back and saw that my son had given them “the Bird ” ………Bennnn…….!!!! We laughed and broke East .
I packed the car loading many bags. We never had real luggage …..Packing in grocery bags from Instacart, Weekender totes we gathered over the years. I thought of having two of everything. One for Manhattan and one for the Hamptons . Two toothbrushes, two sets of lotions and vitamins, one dog , two leashes, one kid , one husband , two chargers”……..”Damn I forgot the chargers for the phones again ….. I slammed the trunk shut and swung the dog in the back seat. I put my head in my sons window , kissed his cheek and announced “Hampton’s next stop “. I was ready and looked forward to a smooth ride. I had peace and quiet , listening to music , I could think , Ben played games on his iPhone and the dog slept.
It was my 10 th wedding anniversary and i called my husband at work before we left . I told him that there is a new thing …..the marriage license automatically expires after 10 years ,unless you renew ,like your passport ” I said matter of factly. He was silent for a moment thinking this might be true but he laughed and whispered , I renew, and said he would meet up with us later that weekend…..Our marriage was rocky at times and the romance was lost between scheduling babysitters and careers but we became family and that bond was unbreakable.
My son called out from the back seat …..,……..Did you know that a dogs sense of smell is 100,000 times greater than ours………”Ben let me get on the road “….. Good baby ……if we get lost he can find our way home.
My 9 year old was at an inquisitive age and was into facts. School had taken its toll on both of us with all the tests , studying, and homework. The further we went on the L.I.E the better we felt . My son asked me to change the station. “What change Ma…Donna come on……🎶Life is a playground ” was playing.🎶…….. I reapplied my lip gloss while driving and boasted to Ben ” Mommy was hot in the 80s . My father …..Poppy ….used to pick my sister and I up at studio 54 at 4 am in the morning….in his white Cadillac …. “We danced all night” and I laughed to myself .
“Mom”. “You really need to snap out of the 80s , it’s the 21st Century “…………
I was silenced. I changed the channel. That was the last time I said BaCK in the DAY but A flood of memories came to me . I once tried to recreate a simple summer for Ben , even close to clamming on dune road, and it wasn’t the same …it was a new era …. . We weren’t relaxed , we had planned organized fun. I remember when we were young we used to let the day unfold and adventures were meeting up with old friends at the beach and making new ones. My parents rented a house in Westhampton when I was Ben’s age . We played with the kids next door . We caught catfish in the bay and put them in a small pool in the sandy backyard.we biked to town barefoot and Long days at the beach left our tanned bodies encrusted with sand and we smelled like summer. Dad barbecued burgers and had steaks and salad . we ate roasted corn and for dessert , sweet peaches with whip creme . My mother laughed at my fathers dry jokes as she fixed her kerchief with rollers on underneath . I remember her putting a heart tattoo on her bosom and my sister and I Put on a show for our guests at night. We had the time of our lives.
The 70s ,80 s and 90 s were fun
I wondered when we look back what the the turn of the century would be known for
………Awareness, political correctness, well Terrorism for sure ………………Everyone remembers where they were at that moment on 9/11 because it changed everything we believe today, I quit my job the week before 9/11 and was heading to the Hamptons . I heard the plane overhead … I grabbed my bag and ran to the corner to catch a cab to the Hamptons Jitney . I saw bright blue sky through the hole in the towers as I stared from the back window of the taxi . I hopped on the jitney and felt relieved I made it. I distinctly looking for a seat when the driver announced that the towers fell , the bridges were closed , and we would have to get off the bus. A women next to me said “that’s impossible “and as I said to her “This is real” and i made my way off through the crowed streets to my sisters apartment . I never saw fear on New Yorkers faces until that day……..later that Evening the streets were closed below 14 th st and we had to park and walk the rest of the way . We passed our fire station and a huddle of firemen that were covered in soot were angry and I could see from there eyes that many didn’t make it back to the station.
I looked in the rear view mirror at my son and tears came to my eyes thinking he was the best thing that ever happened to me. He smiled and took off his headphones off and called out ” “What is racism ” ………I tried to explain the best I could but he was confused and argued further. But if we are created by God…. Then we all must be brothers and sisters “. We are not religious but all I could say was “Amen baby Amen ” I exited at 70. I made it to my family’s house , my mother was in her studio and I could see she was working on that portrait of me that She never seemed to finish. I sat in the car for a minute looking at the bunnies running around back . Before I could get out of the car Ben ran back with my mother. “Grammy wants to go the beach with me can you take us . I drove them to Quogue beach and dropped them at the steps . As they climbed up The steps I waved to one of the lifeguards. A few summers we were caught in a riptide. I remember Even though I was somersaulting in the clear surf I was so calm because I knew they would come get us. When I found my balance I saw they had already jumped off the stand and I was grateful for them. I took a left onto dune road and I opened the windows and breathed. The sea air was welcoming and the warmth made me feel myself again ….happy I had some time to myself I continued past Quogue bridge staying on dune road to find the house my parents rented when I was a kid . I turned down the sandy street with thick walls of Sea grass that made the street secluded. I stopped to see hundreds of dragonflys dancing in the summer wind . I found the house and sat in front at the dead end On the bayside . I opened the windows snd breathed .The sea air was welcoming and the warmth of the sun made me feel myself again ………. Ben texted me to pick him up and the two were waiting for me …. My mom with her new gold straw hat and polo sunglasses I bought her and ben with a wetsuit and no shoes . Back at the house I finally unloaded the car and my mother started dinner. Ben and her were and put some bags in my fathers room and went to take out a Tennis ball from in my dads closets . A pair of jeans were hung by the belt loop , my dads “work pants”he called them when he worked around the house . He always had stuff in his pockets so I checked and pulled out some screws and a bottle opener . I sat on his bed where he passed away and took his wallet off his desk and put on his watch . He was such a man full of life . A wallet with some business cards and health insurance card inside with his name on it .I put my finger across his name and thought how silly life is . , how life comes down to this .My son came in and we hugged . He was my Rock and I told him I loved him and the cycle of life is natural .” It’s the circle mom…..Yep…Once upon a time … The end is how it goes. We laughed so hard we cried and then took the dog to the tennis court . He ran like the Tasmanian devil…. around and round. I thought of summers past. We played tennis with friends at midnight mostly drinking champagne leaning against the net . Weekend parties ended with us jumping into our pool with our gala clothes still on . After parties were at Quogue Inn. We had conversations at the bar without mentioning what we did for a living and had no names to drop ….. All was good …. When a sea of pastel pashminas would come in , my girlfriend would declare it was like a museum , and we would know it was time to go home.
I smiled as if I had a secret and Ben noticed and said “what ?”……We’ll go to town after dinner I promised . We ate and while my mom was cleaning up I watched My mother dancing in the kitchen with Ben to an old song she loved “in the summertime”.We headed to town for ice cream.
At the top of the quiogue bridge we stopped and pulled over as as a bright light exploded into a waterfall of red white and blue . It was fireworks from the Westhampton country club . I opened the sunroof and ben stood up out of the sunroof . He reached down for his phone to take some photos but I held his hand instead and we watched the magical show.
The next morning I felt happy . This is where I wanted to be ,my bucket list was not so much what I wanted to do but more of what I never wanted to do again…. I had no regrets, even bad things ,every word spoken , every heartache led me to where I am at this very moment .
I smiled as if I had a secret ……”what ? “Ben asked …… let’s get some breakfast .we went to our favorite spot and sat at our regular table.
The screen door slamming shut made me look up and a tall man came through the door . His gray hair still wavy and his face masculine and his eyes still young . My book slid off my lap as I stood up to kiss my husband on the mouth. Mommmmm……DAD……we sat and ordered the usual with the works .Ben smiled at the two of us and said ….. You know ……The Day never really Ends…..The Earth……..We are just spinning around the Sun !