One thing about being sixty-something is that you have a wealth of life experiences to draw from for writing columns. I attended a pre-Halloween party in Tuckahoe, NY this last weekend. The pure love and affection between the couple hosting the party, their teenage kids and all their friends was inspiring. Then my wife and I, attended another get together on Halloween night in Sag Harbor. It was a wonderful way to party in costume and to say forever goodbye to October 2021.
I fondly remember my first Halloween Costume party in the Hamptons in 2004 at Rowdy Hall. Neighbors and friends danced in costume, it was my first month of living full time in East Hampton.
November is a transitional month in the Hamptons. Farms are harvesting the last of the fall crops while summer businesses are usually winding down for their hibernation until spring. What I find fascinating is that it is after the leaves fall off the trees that you can see the homes of the east end often hidden the rest of the year by foliage.
It is in November that the dog people truly retake possession of the ocean beaches to exercise their dogs off-leash. There is a serenity to observing dogs running and playing in the surf with no bathers or surfers in sight. In the summer no one wants a dog off the leash walking all over their beach towel and chair setup. I still chuckle recalling a Labrador retriever who broke free and promptly raided folks having lunch one summer day. The dog went for the sandwiches as the kids watched and their horrified mothers scrambled to take action.
My wife and I enjoy walking and breathing the crisp November sea air usually bundled up to negate the November chill. A favorite recollection of this time of year is of the weekly morning coffee time spent on the front porch of the historic “Springs General Store” with now deceased John Heisig. He would wait until I took my sailboat out of the water to start coffee get togethers. He always had some new gossip or old history to convey to me to write up. He loved everything east end. John prepared me to be able to appreciate and observe the finite details of east end existence. Heisig lived to be 94 spending his last 50 years living in the Hamptons.
He now resides in the brilliant sunsets I observe over Gardiner’s Bay during my many evening sails. It was John who found the sailboat I own and convinced me to put down a deposit in the middle of winter while it was buried in snow on the then Southampton College campus.
Now it is me who is one of the older guys at the boatyard. It is me who remembers stories passed on to me years ago. As everyone who loves the east end knows, there is no fountain of youth in the Hamptons but at times it feels like the whole place is one.