We took back roads the rest of the way to Amagansett. Pete and I sat quietly, still stunned by Pele’s magic. We drove the last mile on the high ridge overlooking the ocean, still hundreds of yards off in the distance. “The Montaukett Indians travelled this road long before it was called Atlantic Avenue guys,” Dad said, imparting local history as we began the final decent toward our summer house. “Oh Jim, that bungalow is for sale. Isn’t that the one Marilyn Monroe summered in with that playwright?”
“Oh I don’t know KAREN, and it’s Arthur Miller.”
“What, who,” my mother replied reflexively, still looking over her shoulder.
Crickets were chirping outside my window as I lay down on damp sheets. I reflected on our good fortune as the soccer ball sat lifeless once again, in the dark corner of my room. My Dad had been right, our road was changing fast. New homes rose out of the sand, seemingly overnight. Gone were the quiet, honeymoon days of Marilyn. With the rest of the summer ahead of me I found comfort in the rhythmic sound of the surf crashing, falling fast asleep.
Halfway through the summer season, I became interested in the new people. A group of aspiring models and successful traders rented a salt box far up the street, nearly to the high ridge. In the early afternoon a convertible Porsche 911 meandered down to drop the girls off. Those sexy ladies helped me understand exactly what Gramps meant when he described a woman as, “a tall drink of water”. The guys followed after, pulling a loaded wagon and a beach cooler with wheels. I was watching from behind the railing on our deck, noting the trendy styles and dark sunglasses. A few even wore hats like Gramps.
Brass Monkey – that funky Monkey
Brass Monkey – junkie
That funky Monkey
The infectious song played from the boom box they carried.
“I drink Brass Monkey! The FUNKY MONKEY! Whatcha doing peeper-creeper, yuppie spying?” Peter said, coming out onto the deck. Embarrassed, I shot out of the chair and as Pete had just closed the screen, I was sliding it open. Walking inside and out of the sun, I had effectively ignored him.
Summers seemed to pass quicker than they came. I wished the season was something you could hold in the palm of your hand a little longer. We stayed after Labor Day, just before school. It ended summer by giving us a taste of the quiet romance of the old days. It was very easy to fall in love with this place all over again.
“Come with me for a walk down the beach? My Mom said stretching out her hand, an old habit she still had from when I was a younger boy.
“OK,” I said, getting up from my towel. We looked for shells on the sand as we walked, finding the giant clam shells used for ashtrays.
What are these? I see them all the time.” She says holding up a black, leathered, H.
“Oh yeah, Dad says they’re where baby sharks come from. It’s an egg sack I guess? Kind of reminds me of a dead beetle.”
“Oh Gross,” she said, promptly dropping it.
We walked closer to the water, where the sand was firm. Waves curled and crashed onshore like phantom fingers of the sea. I was mesmerized by the fast digging, ghost shrimp that made the beach boil as they disappeared. Occasionally, I felt compelled to dig after a bubble to catch one. It was vindication that they actually existed.
“Are you ready for school?”
“Yeah,” I replied, sounding melancholy.
“How about we stop at Van Huesen on the way out, get you guys some clothes.” ”Ok, I’d rather stop at Snowflake Mom.” I was bummed the summer was ending but we both knew an ice-cream wasn’t going to cure my blues. Towards the end of the walk we labored in the soft stuff as we approached the incline to our path.
“What’s that?” Mom said, stopping to catch her breath. Living Clouds floated across the water towards us. The flight was similar to the way pods of baitfish school together. Shimmering in shades of red and orange, they filled the sky.