Shooting Star from Hollywood to the Hamptons, a memoir
by Gaby Rodgers
I am a Golden Oldie because… I came toEasthamptonin the 1950’s to act in a play at Guild Hall. And stayed at the 1770 House. In the daytime we went to Barnes Landing to swim, in the afternoon we napped, and at night we partied gloriously, after the show, ofcourse. One actor whispered during a performance,,”talk a little faster or the bars will close.”
By the time I had acted in the film noir classic, Kiss Me Deadly,” and left Hollywood to write sometimes for the Easthampton Star, little did II know that my small circle of friends would later be regarded as some of the best artist and writers of the last century.For example, deKooning and I used to chat to each other in Dutch or at least we tried. Most of the time we nodded and said, Ja, ja and ja.
In those days, the artist community was like a family. The painter Syd Solomon gave regular and great parties where most of us had a few. I can’t recall whether AA existed in those days, only that we enjoyed our vino and were ready for fun , sober or not , a great time was to be had.
Somewhere during this period , I married the songwriter Jerry Leiber and bought a house onHampton Lane. I was beside myself with joy . We produced two sons, Jed and Oliver. The boys now live inCalifornia,but theHamptons will always hold a special place in their hearts. Jed tries, in spite of professional commitments on the West Coast, to visit here every summer.. The place holds for him happy memories from childhood.
As I made friends in the artist community,amongst them, Patsy Southgate and the Solomons I came up with an idea for us to entertain each other. With an 8mm camera, handed around from artist to artist, we organized an Artist Summer ‘ 71 festival. The list of shooters included many, amongst them, Murray Schisgal and Robert Alan Arthur,ClarisseRivers, Marta Vivas, Tony Rosenthal, Herman Cherry, Alfonso Ossario, Hans Hokanbson , Patsy Southgate,and others . At the screening,. my late husband, the songwriter Jerry Leiber, served chili, Syd Solomon poured his Artillery Punch. Drunk or sober, we had a ball. it was truly a community of artist and we enjoyed this togetherness in this very special place.
Winters inManhattan, our family could hardly wait to come to Long Island. When my husband died in 2011, we sold theEasthamptonhouse and now live on Springs Fireplace Rd.Today, I am here seeing old friends still kicking around, swimming and eating some fine meals at Gosmans, and lunch ofcourse at The Lobster Role.
Dan’s paper writes that our contribution should be between 600 and 1500 words. I am poor at math, but I have written those special memories that I still treasure of this beautiful place.
Adios and a Bientot, in English, see you later, alligator!
Again I ask, what makes theHamptonsso special, after all, inCaliforniawe have the beaches also like Malibu.Walking onMain StreetinEasthampton, you have the comfort of being in a small village and also enjoying the company of international visitors.
My oldest son Jed and I are here to enjoy our home in the Springs, At night, we can see the deer peacefully grazing, in the morning the crows wake us with their gossip I often ask myself, what makes this place so different from ourCaliforniahome? Everything, the landscape, the people, i The Hamptons
Are like no other place East orWest.
Now I can’t top this last remark, I’ve made it clear that I love this place and feel so at home. Our house is a refuge for us and I made my sons pledge that they won’t ever sell it when I go to either
to heaven or hell..Jed replied,”ofcourse not Mom. We love it here.”
Dan’s Paper suggests that we keep our copy between 600 to 1500 words. I’m poor at math but I have told you some ofmy happy Easthqmpton memories. There are for me somethings left from the 50,s:
Dreesens, the Star, and the smashing beauty of this island retreat. May we all live here for a lomgtime and enjoy thisParadise, the Hamtons.
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