The Album of ’76

Written By: Mary  Barrett

“Scenes from the Boardy Barn and our first house in the Hamptons.  Also the Brooklyn guys and people we have met.” That quick note jotted is on the inside of a photo album I put together that year.  Yup, there are us girls at Boardy Barn happy hour with the guys from Brooklyn.  Turn a few pages and we are posing in front of the tiny Hampton Bays house located on a dirt road right next to the railroad tracks that we all chipped in for to cover the thousand dollar summer rental fee. Flip another page and we’re at a beach with the guys.  I remember that, we took someone’s boat to get there.

Another album holds the pics of our first trip out East that one was back in ‘74.  We were novices when we stayed our first weekend, renting a suite at the Weathervane Motel in Quogue.  Doing the touristy sightseeing things, time spent at the motel pool, driving through all the Hamptons.  The summer of ’75 we danced all night in a below ground disco, sometimes sleeping in the car or making the trip home to make it to church on time. By the summer of ’76 we had graduated to home ownership status and our time spent during the long Hampton days at our little house were leisurely and sometimes way too quiet for our youthful taste.

“Let’s kidnap the guys!” was my bright idea for one such afternoon.  My friends looked at me with astonishment.  “I saw it on an episode of Gidget.”

Back in the ‘60’s, across the country, TV gave access to a slice of life in California where the girls and surfer boys hung out doing just what we in the 70’s were doing, hanging out together at the beach, only for us it was minus the surfboards.

But there was this one episode where Gidget found out there was going to be a kidnapping party.  The boys were to pick up the girls unannounced and if they were caught in curlers and pj’s it didn’t matter.  Not one to be fooled, Gidget got dressed in her best clothes and waited and waited.  But no one came.

I don’t remember how the episode ended, but I did get two of our group to come with me on our escapade.  Now the Brooklyn guys were a couple of years older than us and thoroughly seasoned in renting houses, partying and hanging out in the Hamptons before we came along, so when we crashed in on them announcing it was a kidnapping they all moaned and turned their hung-over looks away from us except for one who shouted, “Kidnap me!”

He and his buddy got in the car with us three girls.  Not having thought that far ahead it worked out fine cause we all fit.  Off we went for a day of fun.  I can’t recall everywhere we went.  I remember we stopped for something to eat and drove around a lot and every time we got done at one place that same guy who shouted to be kidnapped, to our delight, would throw out a “Kidnap me some more!”

By ten o’clock that night we found ourselves on Dune Road, there are pictures of time spent at Hot Dog Beach by day so we decided to go there.  We got out of the car and walked up towards the wooden building that can only be described as a shack when one of the guys noticed a small trailer parked on the other side of the parking lot.  He drew our attention to the window which was lit up.

“It’s on fire,” he shouted.

He and our other kidnappee ran to it, they threw open the door, one went in and the next thing we knew they were leading a middle-aged man out.  The fire was put out without need of the fire department and the man they had saved was extremely grateful.

After it was over we got back to the reason we had come, walking on the beach at moonlight.  As we did we talked over the events of the day and pondered on how if we hadn’t all gone on this foray through the Hamptons who knew what would have happened to that man.

I turn a page in the album and it’s me and my young brothers at the Animal Farm in Manorville and pictures from the RFK Tennis Tournament that was held in Forest Hills that one of my Hampton’s roomies had tickets for.

I come to the end of the memories pictured there and close the album with a smile.