By Diane Hallett
I’m hoping that you folks still remember me and that you can forgive my lack of correspondence since I leftGeorgialast November. I am asking your forgiveness; I know how rude I’ve been. I’d like to explain myself not only for your enlightenment but for my own as well. I miss you folks and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of you.
So here I am on the east coast ofLong Island. I don’t have regrets about my decision to come here as. I had always planned to move back to the north to be closer to my children. The life style is so very different here and I have been homesick for you since I left. Doug and I made a photo Christmas card on the beach wearing new winter parkas, and even bought the postage stamps, but I never sent them, My holiday spirit was waning even as it began.. I looked for a Newcomers organization within a few weeks of our arrival. I had high hopes then! I never found one.
We were pretty busy at first looking for a new home while living with my daughter and her family. You may recall that the plan was to reside with her family and be the babysitter for her 2 small children, (ages 1 and 3) so that she could go to work. She has found employment and as a result Doug and I are slowly getting in step with our “hands on” grand parenting skills. Presently we’re 6 people renting a 5 room house while we cope with the bureaucracy of building permits in the town ofEast Hampton. I understand the why of it, you have no idea just how frustrating this process can become. I think that finally we’re nearing the actual construction phase, but it has been a real test in patience to say the least.
As weeks turn into months in the building permit process, I’ve had plenty of time to research my new environment, however, this process too drags on at a snails pace. I feel like I’ve moved to a deserted island not LongIsland. I’m living in a sea of people but I’m lost. If there is any type of welcoming group, it has eluded my attention. As I waited for the construction to be able to begin, I investigated the options for volunteering as a Master Gardener, however, the Master Gardeners seem to be organized in Riverhead which is a bit of a stretch for easy commuting. It took over 2 months to get a copy of their quarterly newsletter.
InGeorgiaI used to complain about commuting to things in a distance of12 miles. Unbelievably most things here are a25 milecommute away and due to the volume of traffic in the summer, travel time can be quite long. In an effort to keep theHamptonspristine, most shopping, continuing education, government offices and assorted interest groups are confined to Riverhead. And while the locals proudly point out that there is stellar shopping on this end of the island, it is beyond what my disintegrating middle class pocket book can afford. The area has, I think, a plethora of the arts and fine dining and although I would like to visit local galleries, shops, theaters, and restaurants, there doesn’t seem to be any means other than to go it alone. It meant so much to me to learn about the south and its culture by touring, lunching, and learning with a welcoming group of individuals. The shops here are primarily specialty with an accompanying appropriate price. There is no Target, Barnes and Noble, Kohls or large supermarket coming to this area anywhere in the near future. Thankfully, I will say that there are limited chain restaurants..
As near as I can determine there are two distinct groups of people here, a small group of locals who are driven to keeping the area preserved and by preserved I think they mean without night neighborhood lighting, historical pristine gardens without deer crossing their lawns, no box stores, no unnecessary noise and privacy at all costs. The other group includes a wealth that is unknown to me or anyone I’ve ever associated with. I understand choosing this most beautiful environment to live in but it seems very lonely to me to be surrounded by the homes of people who are rarely even here and if they are here, you never see them. I suppose some others meet or see them but no one I know. I’m living a class separation that heretofore I had only read about.