My brother-in-law, Seymour Hacker, had spent many summers in Amagansett. It was a kind of extension to his New York life as an art book dealer, publisher and gallery owner. By 1978, Linda and Seymour bought a house in Lakeville, Connecticut, where the town beach edged Connecticut’s deepest lake. When my family visited we spent more time in their pool and the pond on their property.
One of Seymour’s friends was Ralph Carpentier, a Bonacker, born in 1924 into a Bonacker family. I was introduced to the pleasure of fresh Peconic Bay scallops. As a long time reader of Dan’s Papers I have been saddened by the many articles and outrage of the proliferation of residential housing along the bay and motor boats (yachts?) spoiling the scallop beds with oil.
It is a travesty and the plight of the bonackers is grim.
In 1976 came my introduction to a different sort of Hampton. My husband hailed from Erie, Pennsylvania and to him a house anywhere but Dune Road might as well be Erie. Our first house was in Westhampton with a panoramic view of the beach and the ocean. We enjoyed the beautiful sunsets over the bay.
We proceeded to that other familiar Hamptons activity – renovation – and soon had a house large enough for our own weekend guests and a pool. The pleasures of the ocean breezes (no air conditioning for us) was augmented by golf at the Country Club. Another Hamptons phenomenon – at least for me. Jim grew up in a family that were members of The Kawqua Club- a beautiful club with an 18 hole golf course and several heated and well lit paddle tennis courts.
Christmas in Erie, PA usually meant several feet of snow so clearing and heating the paddle courts was a necessity.
Jim was a scratch golfer at Notre Dame and was welcomed by fellow golfers at the Westhampton Country Club in 1976. I honed my tennis at friendly games and tournaments.
With the arrival of our son, James, in 1981 we (I) realized that two steep flights of stairs up to the kitchen with grocery shopping bags, luggage and baby equipment was not as much fun as before.
We moved east on Dune Road to Quogue in 1983 and in 1984 purchased a cottage that had still appeared sturdy after weathering several hurricanes – including the 1938 monster.
We also survived several hurricanes in tact. In 1984 there were predictions of a potentially dangerous hurricane. At the time we had a fully executed contract to sell the beach house in Westhampton but had not closed the transaction on Dune Road in Quogue but had a fully executed contract to purchase the beach house in Quogue. We had not yet secured flood insurance. It was a night to remember.
After a relatively short time our renovations included adding two new wings and a swimming pool on the ocean side. Even so, our new friends, Jean and Bruce Newman encouraged us to join the Quogue Field Club and the Quogue Beach Club (a convenient few steps from our door.) This was long before the application process became an exercise in social navigation and long waiting lists and once more we became involved in tennis, golf, lunches at the beach, a happy summer life and the marvelous addition of our daughter, Maggie in 1986.
After my husband and I amicably parted ways, I sold the Quogue beach house in 2000. I had recently begun my career in residential real estate in Manhattan. That January a broker in Norma Reynold’s office phoned me in Manhattan to say that her special customer had walked the property and even though the house was not listed for sale she suggested that I name my price. I called back a few days later with what I knew was an inflated price; we closed in that March.
My third house was the first house purchased by me alone from the broker who introduced to me to Clark Halstead founder and President of the firm that still bears his name. The house on Deer Path, with a swimming pool and tennis court on one level only five steps up to the front door) was a happy haven for James, Maggie and me for almost 10 years. The beach was close enough!