Mystery at Tiana Bay

Written By: Dianne  Balducci

Our family traveled out to Hampton Bays for decade’s. This is where we spent our vacation’s on Tiana Bay.

We are known as “The summer people”.
I have always thought to myself this must be the most beautiful place in the world.

While sitting at the kitchen table with the large picture window you could view life slowly drifting by.

I often reminisce about about all the wonderful summer’s our family has spent there. Especially that one summer, the summer I met Jane.

When Spring would roll around the family would become impatient to head for our summer place. The would chant – “Happy days at Hampton Bays” over and over again, until we would get there.

Once we arrived I would take long walks along the seashore.
One day a young women approached me she said “Hi, I’m Jane do you mind if I tag along ? ”
I said “No at all I’m always happy to have company, be my guest”. We smile.
The was the beginning of our friendship with Jane”.

We were walking along immerse in conversation when Jane tells me about herself.

“I’m an Oceanographer her to study Tiana Bay, I’ll be here a while”.
I tell her about us “I have four daughter’s, Terri, Debbie, Laura and Rose and ten grandchildren!, we love it here.”
“Wow!” answers Jane “A full house”, We laugh. I said “By the way, feel free to come visit us anytime, you’re invited”. She did just that.
We often saw a lot of Jane that summer. She became a member of our family.

Tiana Bay is a small body of water, at times warm, friendly and inviting. It’s restless at others and in a moments notice it changes like a chameleon,ominous, mysterious and elusive. I would hear strange music coming off it’s water’s, it’s magical and seductive too.

Suddenly there’s Jane catching up to me. “Hi” we greet each other and continue walking.
In a small quizzical voice she asks a question of me “Do you think you might go shopping a King Kullen this weekend ? “. “Yes. I will have to fill in some supplies, care to join me ? “.
Promptly at 9:00 am Saturday morning there’s a knocking at my door. It’s Jane, she asks – “Ready to go shopping ? “. “Ready as I ever will be, lets go shopping” I reply.

We arrive with our shopping carts and in the foyer is a stack of Dan’s Papers. I nudge Jane and said “Take one of these, it’s free here and it will tell you all about Hampton’s”.”You’ll love it! Kind of gossipy”.
I am busily shopping when I lose sight of Jane, so I look around for her.
“Dianne-Dianne” I hear her voice call out to me “over here” I head for the produce department.

This is where I find Jane munching on some strawberries from a little green box. She says “This is Vinny
he’s the manager of the produce department. He tells me about the journey of produce “Sounds very interesting” I say. Vinny picks up the conversation “It’s like this, the farmers work hard to grow all this food. When the crops are ripe and ready they’re picked and shipped to the market place.
This is a place wear many people work. Some are buyers, they usually work at night buying food for other people who would use it in preparation or to sell to other’s”.
“It’s where they meet to deal in prices, many big decisions are made in the market every night.

Vinny waves his arms over the whole produce department, like a king from a throne.
Them with authority says “We have fresh food to sell here everyday, for shoppers like you”.
Jane is impressed, “Great story!” she calls out. “See you next time”. We head home.

I turn on the radio ” a little Siriusly Sinatra would be nice about now”.

There’s an art show at The Parrish museum, it’s on Saturday afternoon in the town of Southampton.

We ask Jane to join us, we all go.
The art show is in progress, we follow the crowd.
In a display of painting’s by William Merritt Chase. He’s a well known painter there and had lived in the hills. I believe he was a relative of The Kennedy family. It was known that his family summered there. The show is titled “About the Bayberry Bush”. He painted scenes of his family life.

I believe that it was his way of showing the world the going’s on of his family in The Hampton’s.
Jane presents a question “Why are all the figures wearing white clothes in his paintings ? ”
I reply “Wear white clothes would distinguish the different classes of wealthy people in summertime”.
” A kind of who’s – who list by the color of your clothes”.
“fascinating” says Jane. I agree! “fascinating!
Jane has another question for me “Why all the fuss about The Bayberry Bush ? A plant”.
I believe I know the answer so I explain “The Bayberry Bush grew right here in The Hampton’s,

it was fruitful and grew in abundance. It was enjoyed by many”.
“Unfortunately due to development and progress and The Bayberry Bush wasn’t protected, one day it just disappeared”.
“Wow! Explains Jane ” I imagine a lesson would be to take care of what you have or someday it might disappear”.

This is a good analogy I think to myself Ah yes, thanks for the lesson in philosophy W. M. C.

Jane’s mood changes dramatically when she notices the museum’s gift shop. She asked us “Do you mind if I buy some souvenirs ? ” We say in unison “Go right ahead Jane” We not towards each other “Yes! Here she goes”. For Jane it’s like a Pandora’s box. Her eyes were wide with anticipation. Jane said ” I must have some of these things to bring home!” She then asks the woman in charge “Would you have a large shopping bag ?”
My daughter Laura acknowledges “Mom forget it! There’s no stopping her now! Exactly! all sorts of items are stuffed into the bag, Tee-Shirts, mugs. stuffed animals and maps of Long Island. Finally she’s done!
Jane exclaims “I’m done! It was fabulous”, “Thanks Balducci’s “. “This trip has made my day!”
“I have something for everyone, right from The Hampton’s”.
You guessed it, time for some Siriusly Sinatra.
A perfect day is had by all! We head home.

One Saturday we take in a movie, “Avatar” is playing at The Southampton theater. Jane is invited, We buy popcorn and drinks. Jane is on the edge of her seat during the whole movie.
On the way home my daughter Laura asks the question “Who liked the movie ? We’re open for opinion’s”
Jane pipes up “I loved every minute of it”. “It was sheer magic”. We all agree.

Suddenly Jane quivers, tears come to her eyes. She blurts out “I’m all alone here in a strange place” “I miss home”. We try to comfort her. She looks around sheepishly and says “Except for you Balducci’s”
I take this as a compliment. Now it’s time to call in the reserves. What else ? I tune the radio onto
Siriusly Sinatra – works every time.

One night there was a terrible storm. Torrential rain, hollering winds and lightening strikes .
I rushed outside to secure the deck chairs. Suddenly out of the dark sky I see something, it’s a huge craft rising from Tiana Bay. I’m bewildered, I wonder what is this ? It’s like a spinning disco ball.
Glittering, flashing lights, I can’t move, I’m memorized. I look up, I hear music! Wait! I recognize this song. It’s Siriusly Sinatra, Frank singing “Fly me to the moon!”. The lights turn off, I can barely see it. It’s a message “Goodbye Dianne, had a great time – Jane. I can’t believe this is happening to me. It hovers over The Atlantic Ocean, then in a flash it’s gone.
Did I ever tell anyone ? I ask “would you ?”.

Over the summer’s I would look for Jane, to no arrival. I will always remember the summer I met Jane.

(Message to Jane}


Dear Jane, Hope all is well with you. I can picture you munching on some strawberries.

We miss you.

Love you, Siriusly, Dianne Balducci

Tiana Bay

P.S. – Credit’s and Kudo’s to Laura Balducci my daughter for computing this story for you.