The Jewish Lady
The Black Man
& The Road Trip
Carol Sue Gershman
We took the car out of the expensive New York City garage, piled the suitcases in, and drove
through the Midtown tunnel onto the Long Island expressway. The top was
down, and we were on our way to Montauk, New York, to visit my son Roger and his gorgeous family. I particularly loved going to the Hamptons. I had
spent many wonderful summers there and had sublime memories.
As soon as I left the city, knowing where I was going, a feeling of peace
and happiness came over me. I was familiar with the drive out, enjoying it year
after year: first the tunnel, then the congestion, then about 45 minutes out
of the city, there were signs to the small towns off of the expressway. Farther
along, we passed exits to Fire Island, where our family had spent summers.
Finally, we reached the turnoff that said “Montauk.”
The corner gas station on Route 27 indicated we were almost there. We
would soon pass Hampton Bays, where I had once had a summer share with
an exciting group of designers who filled the house with tons of friends and
wild binges. The landscape turned green and we were able to see parts of the
bay. After perhaps another eight miles, we reached the king of them all, South
Hampton, one of the most beautiful places on earth.
A delightful café, the Golden Pear, sat on the corner of the town and
was always packed with people. We waited in line for a table and ordered
bagels and tea. Afterwards, I took Xavier on a quick tour of South Hampton,
showing him the magnificent mansions, one after another on the sea. They
were exclusive homes passed on from generation-to-generation, with tennis
clubs snuggled between. I showed him the beach that I loved and where I spent
many summers after my separation from my husband Norman. Before leaving, we went
through the town’s business section, seeing Saks Fifth Avenue, Abercrombie
and Fitch, and countless upscale shops in a divine three-block radius. Finally
we passed the Drivers Seat restaurant in the center of town. It was there that
I became silent, going back into my thoughts remembering my unforgettable
love affair with Gerhardt.I came out of my reminiscence as we drove through the Hamptons, from South to Bridge to East Hampton. I told Xavier little stories along the way. He had
never been to most of the places I was showing him during our road trip. The
beauty throughout the Hamptons surpassed all other places, certainly Miami,
the vegetation lush with vegetables, fresh fruit, and rows and rows of Long
Island potatoes. There were polo fields, bays and harbors, quaint shops, longstanding
and short-standing restaurants, the hangouts where we would meet
guys, and the romantic beaches. The Hamptons never became commercialized
and remained practically the same as I knew them, so many years ago.
The road leading from Amagansett to Montauk is one of my favorite drives.
After passing the deluxe fruit stand, which is a landmark, the road turned. Then,
before our eyes, we witnessed the crashing waves of the sea coming from out of
nowhere. My heart pounded, the view, thrilling me, over and over again.
“Xavier, get ready for one of my favorite rides. The view is spectacular.”
The view from the top of the highway, where the sea formed this incredible
inlet, took my breath away. The road then turned back again to the highway
and the sign “Lunch” appeared. Everyone waited for summer to gather here,
as they were famous for the most extraordinary clam rolls imaginable. We had
to stop and have one, even after having a couple of bagels at the last stop. They
really could be shared because they were huge. We sipped our O’Doul’s during
our second lunch, one hour from the first, relaxing before going on to my son Roger’s.
I looked at Xavier, thinking about all the young men I had known, and
said, with kindness, “Do you know you are the oldest guy I have ever gone out
with, since my husband?”
“And, you can be sure, you are the oldest lady I have ever known,” he