"There are places I remember..."
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! This year, the holiday is bittersweet for me. I am fortunate that none of my loved ones were lost during service, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all who were not so lucky. Instead as summer kicks off, I am acutely aware of a very special place that will no longer be a part of my summers, at least not for a while.
My mom grew up spending summers in Montauk and in the late 1970s, her parents decided to build their own house in East Hampton. Sadly my grandmother passed away prior to the house’s completion and my grandfather was only alive to enjoy it for a few brief years before he died. However, my family and my mom’s sisters’ families got to enjoy it for decades. Growing up, my immediate family would spend many weekends there during the year and come the end of school, would go out from mid-June to the start of August. Some of my happiest moments and memories took place in East Hampton and when I was there, the beauty of the town and salty, clear sea air worked their magic on me, melting away my stress.
Over time, East Hampton (frankly the whole east end) has changed. Every year brought more “summer people” and with them more traffic, entitlement, and attitude- everything we would go there to escape from. Add to that the fact that as we got older responsibilities, be they academic or work-related, meant that we couldn’t spend as much time there as we once did and that when three families have all adult children, some of whom have their own children, sorting out bedroom assignments when more than one family was there could feel like solving a Rubik’s cube.
I know, I know, I’m sad about no longer having a house in “The Hamptons.” I realize this is the epitome of #firstworldproblems, but to me, it’s not about where the house was or that I no longer have a summer home. It could have been a shack in the middle of anywhere and I would feel pangs of nostalgia. East Hampton was where I felt a connection to my grandparents. Having never met them, to be in a house they were in with flowers in the garden that my grandmother planted and a basement filled with boxes of their things was my way of knowing them. My parents and both of my aunts were married at our house and I think part of me always thought that one day I too follow in this tradition. When I look through my childhood photos and remember my summers, so much of it took place there.
Little Mommy (L); More grown up Mommy with baby me (R)
I know that one day I will go to East Hampton again, but there will be a lot of emotions as I make that familiar drive, knowing that the destination will not be the same. For now, I’m doing my best to look forward to all of the new memories to be made this summer and trying not to cry when I see all of the “Hamptons” posts on social media and lists from various publications about where to eat, shop, sweat, etc. this summer.
Have you ever sold a childhood home? What do you typically do in the summer?