Roger took an instant liking to my husband and was intrigued with the “post and beam” building methods he was using to build our house. His driving days were coming to a quick close, so it was both startling and surprising to see him drive up to Northwest one day to the building site and take a tour. He appreciated the construction; although it was unlike the more modern studios he and his friends had fought to build in East Hampton. He had once remarked to me that the town would only be happy if every new building looked like a 17th century slum. Sometimes, I think he was right.
In August that summer, I held my son’s 4th birthday party at Roger’s: kids, parents, the works. As luck would have it, it rained and rained that day. I was completely frustrated and asked Roger what I should do. He looked me in the eye and said, “ADAPT!” I did and we had a wonderful party barbequing under the wide eaves and playing games inside. Soon after my house was finished and school began. I left Roger’s vowing to visit often, but with full time work and two children, it did not happen as often as I would have hoped.
A few years later I was having surgery at Southampton Hospital and was recovering from the operation when I heard a man screaming at the nurses accusing them of trying to kill him. I knew it was Roger and my nurse confirmed it. I felt so bad that he sounded so rude and crazed. I never got to see him that night or ever again and soon he was in a nursing home. Roger died a few years later and is buried at Green River Cemetery in Bonac with many of his famous and not so famous friends who, if truth be told, Roger and Lucia sold plots to.
I pass Roger’s house about twice a week in my travels, but I rarely think back on that beautiful blue summer or consider the property the same place that I recount here. It has changed and so have I. My children are grown now and have their own summers. I do think of Roger however; whenever I attend one of the many art shows in town and I picture his finger in the air and his declaration of various pieces being either “important art” or “tourist crap”. “No matter”, he would also add, “there’s no market for either.”
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