How a Nice Jewish Boy Became a Long Island Redneck

Written By: Dean  Trufanoff

I’m not sure when it was exactly, I think it was ten or eleven years ago, but I know it’s been a long time.  Looking back and realizing that it’s been almost half of my lifetime ago is crazy to me, almost as crazy as me remembering what I do.  You don’t know me and I’m not going to pretend like you do, so I’m going to tell you a little about myself.  My name is Dean Peter Trufanoff, at the time I am starting this I am 23 years old, and my memory is shit.  That being said you should be impressed that I remember as much as I do, I am.

I remember that it was a bright summer day, I know that because it took place at the East Hampton Lighthouse. My brother and I were walking and playing around while my parents talked to each other when we were checking out the memorial for those lost at sea.  My brother was looking at it and out of nowhere he calls out to my father, “hey dad, isn’t this your brother?”  That got my dad to come over really quickly and sure enough in stone was Edward Trufanoff.  I mean, my uncle’s name was Edmund not Edward, but the Trufanoff was clear as day carved into the rock with all the other lost souls.  I also kind of find it funny that it was Edmund that was misspelled and not Trufanoff.  Trufanoff is a hard name to say, much less spell, it drove my teachers crazy trying to sound it out the first day of school each year.  So I say more power to the person who managed to carve it into rock.

I’m not sure if you knew Edmund “Mad Ed,” Trufanoff personally, I unfortunately never got the chance.  My Uncle Ed was born on May 12th 1952 and died the same day in 1985, six years before I was born.  I’ve heard a lot of things about my uncle, my parents and some of his friends say that he was a bit of a legend back when he was alive out here.  I kind of realized that I am 24 now and everything I know about my Uncle Ed was from bits and pieces growing up.  There were times when I thought he was a bully, times when I thought he was an anarchist, other times I thought he was a redneck, a vigilante, a hellraiser, a troublemaker, and even a good guy who just was lost sometimes.  It’s all part of being human I suppose, but I just want to know a bit more about my uncle since I never got to know him.  The only thing that has really resonated over the years was that he loved it out here, like even though he lived in other places for a good part of his life this was the area he called his home. That’s why I’m collecting stories and trying to figure out for myself who my Uncle Ed really was when he was alive since I love this place too.

So far I’ve only gotten one little anecdote from my Uncle Scott Moroff who was in my dad’s first grade class in elementary school and has been one of his best friends ever since.  Uncle Scott is an honorary uncle since he isn’t related to my father by blood, though my dad was adopted and so was my uncle so it’s not like my Uncle Ed was my blood uncle either, but they did grow up in a family as brothers.  Any way regardless, like I was saying my Uncle Scott knew my Uncle Ed all of his life, and he told me that it was because of my Uncle Ed that he learned how to drive a stick shift.  Note what I said, ‘because of my Uncle Ed,’ my Uncle Scott ‘learned how to drive a stick shift,’ it wasn’t because Uncle Ed taught him to how to use a stick shift, but because my Uncle end needed a getaway driver sometimes and it was either Scott learned how to drive quickly, or they would both get thrown in jail.

Uncle Scott thinks it’s funny and he still smiles when he talks about my Uncle Ed, so trouble maker or not my Uncle Ed seemed like a good friend to have and a fun guy to know.  Like I said I haven’t learned much about my uncle yet, but I’m going to since I’m spending time out here in the Hamptons, the land he loved so much.