Holy Cow, Water!

Written By: Susan  Read

I was a Mid Western transplant. I’d never been to the Hampton’s, and I didn’t know how to drive.

My friend and her husband were giving me the cook’s tour of the area, when all of a sudden, Ethel, their 15-yr. old vivacious Volvo, turned onto a bumpy dirt road into a deep dark forest.

“Where are we going?” I asked Bonnie.
“To look at a new house,” she replied.
“But I don’t see a house,” I said, glancing in all directions.
“Hang on, it’s here somewhere,” chimed in Barrie.
Bonnie and Barrie were professional House Sneakers. They’d sneaked in and out of most of the unfinished dwellings in the neighborhood. It was their hobby. Ethel coughed and sputtered around the next curve, and started chugging up a steep hill.
I see it!” said Barrie enthusiastically. At the top!
Ethel let out a couple of grunts, then screeched to a halt.

There it was. Appearing out of nowhere. The house of my dreams: It was a perfect-sized, cedar-shingled, gable-roofed, post modern design, with a huge wrap-around porch undulating around the entire house.

Up until now, I’d spent the whole summer looking for a weekend get-away in Connecticut. Something near a train station, of course, because I didn’t know how to drive.
I’d given up looking, when Bonnie and Barrie invited me to spend a restful weekend with them in the Hamptons.
“Come on!” Bonnie was already out the door, “Follow me! “
She was making her way up the not-as-yet-paved driveway. We followed her to the backyard where there was a giant hole.
“This is where the pool goes!” she excitedly blurted out!
“And look over here!”
We peered through a pair of sliding glass doors into a newly painted sunken living room with high ceilings and a big fireplace.

“This is it! This is the house I’ve been looking for! I’m going to buy it!” I said confidently.

Bonnie and Barrie looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.
“But Sue, you can’t buy this house! It’s not finished, it’s not for sale, and you don’t know how to drive!”
That was 1986.
I bought the house.
I spent every Friday night for the next 10 years taking the jitney to the Hampton’s from the city, and then taking Paul’s Taxi to my house in the woods. I brought all my groceries with me under the bus, because, of course, I would be stranded in the woods until Monday.

It took me the entire 10 years to furnish my house, because I could only taxi as far as Hildreths, and I could only afford to have one thing delivered per weekend.

Because I couldn’t drive, I never knew exactly where I was.
Every weekend, I would take a walk in a different direction.
Bonnie and Barrie lived 2 miles away, so I walked there sometimes. They would usually feed me, and then drive me home in Ethel, sort of like a stray.

Then, after living in my house for three years, I made a miraculous discovery: While taking my weekend walk, I crossed the highway for the first time. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

“Holy Cow! Water!” I screamed right out loud. Miles and miles of water! Was this the Atlantic? Did I live within walking distance of the ocean? The value of my house started to soar in my mind. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Bonnie and Barrie about my discovery. Why hadn’t they ever mentioned it?

After they stopped laughing, they informed me that I lived near Peconic Bay, not the ocean, but a lovely inlet of water, nonetheless. The value of my house was still intact.

In 1990, I finally got my driver’s license. That’s when I discovered Amagansett and Montauk. I’d only gotten as far as Sag Harbor on foot.

1990 is also when I started my marathon car rental addiction. Afraid to drive the LIE, I decided not to buy a car, but to rent. I would continue taking the Jitney out from the city, but would pick up a car when I got to the Omni. For 10 years I did this every weekend.

In 2000, my future husband informed me that with the money I spent on car rentals, I could have bought two Mercedes, a Porsche, and a BMW sportscar. He reminded me that one of the benefits of our relationship is that he came with a vehicle.

It’s now 2014. I’m very happily married to that man, who drives us out to the Hamptons on the LIE.

We still own the same house, but there are now 89 more houses in our forest.

I still see my friend Bonnie, who is now a full-fledged real estate maven.

Oh, and I still shop at Hildreths, but now I drive there.