Home Away From Home

Written By: Tiffany Jenkins

It seems as though it could never be the same, yet somehow it always is.

I’ve never been on a vacation. I’ve never needed one. I have something better. I have the Hamptons. Daycation, one day getaway, call it what you will. For me it’s my home away from home.

I grew up in Mastic (and Southampton). I didn’t live there, but I may as well have. I visited enough. I don’t know what I loved more, a picnic in Agawam park or a day at the beach. How do you choose between lush green grass and monkey bars and endless grains of golden sand and crystal waves?

It feels like yesterday. Climbing the jungle gym to the tip top, soaring down the slide, swinging with daddy so high I thought I could touch the clouds. “The good old days” as I’ve heard them referred to. Indeed they were.

If only I could go back to the days of giant “Stan the man” burgers and lazy, hazy afternoons, on the shores of old Amagansett, filled with kiting, swimming, sandcastles, and sprawling out beneath the sizzling summer sun. A time long past but not forgotten. Stan the Man; Boss, friend, all around good fellow, and master of meat. The guy was like a legend…and my dad was lucky enough to know him.

“Big John”, Another of daddy’s friends, would give us rides down the beach in his 4×4 from Stan’s house and back.
The times of my youth. Some of my fondest childhood memories were created on long Island’s east end. Like when daddy would go to work and mommy and I would go to the library or for a walk through the streets of Southampton. Sometimes, she would take me into a building (store) with a tall, narrow, staircase and let me pick out a stuffed animal.

One of my favorite events was the Fourth of July parade. I was always the first one up, at the front door, decked in red, white, and blue from head to toe. We would leave early and spend the entire day “out east”. One time daddy left before us and mommy and I took the train. It was an exciting adventure! Every year daddy would wear his black Riddell roller skates and skate with the King Charles band. He was a celebrity of sorts. Mommy and I would watch from the crowd, snap pictures, and cheer. I was around 10 when he let me skate with him, though I wasn’t very good. I did a few clumsy cartwheels, maybe attempted to spin…but it didn’t matter. I had the time of my life that day. One of many spent in Southampton; The home of the Princess Diner and award winning cheesecake, Shinnecock reservation, with it’s annual pow wow, and occasionally the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers circus.

I’m not sure how old I was when I wore my Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey tee-shirt. Face paint melting from the humidity, drizzling down my cheeks onto my Burger King cheese burger and fries. I didn’t care. I’d just munched away happily, mesmerized at the prospect of watching assorted acrobats and animals under the sweaty big top.

I miss those years. The era of enchantment, endless enjoyment, and exploration. It never mattered where I was or what I was doing. Life was good.

Life is still good. I still go to Southampton though less frequently. It brings the same enjoyment and timeless pleasures despite that I am older and much has changed. While I’ve outgrown playground tomfoolery, and “Stan the Man” burgers are a thing of the past, I am still fond of a day in the park and a walk on the beach. A warm breeze caressing my cheek as it tousle’s my curls and tireless tide tickling my toes. I loose myself in nature as I attempt to capture its beauty with my Canon T3 and zoom lens. I hope I can do it justice. I am ready to seize the day and take on the world. New and exciting grown-up adventures await in a place that feels as much like home as my own. My “home away from home”.

Whether it be a musical venue, bike ride through town, or stroll down Jobs and main, it is there that I find myself surrounded by serenity and tranquility as I peruse old past times and enjoy a little sliver of heaven. My “happy place”.

It seems as though it could never be the same, yet somehow it always is.