My dream of a white Christmas thus ironically became true. I first saw snow on November 20th 1961, inNew York City. I would also end up enjoying the beaches ofEast Hampton in summer vacations, summer reading in hand, pondering too on how we ended up there and planning the future far from the warm tropical sands. One Memorial Day weekend my father stoically went for a swim atGeorgicaBeach that landed him atSouthamptonHospital. There is so much to do in theHamptons, of course, there are the Southampton Classics, involving horses or cars, and the long walks on the beach, ideally at twilight. I have grown as fond of the beaches up north as we once were of those tropical sands. A walk on the beach is one of those universal and timeless joys that costs nothing! Sometimes you can even share a bun fire with the locals, making the experience even richer. At this point I’ve made countless such walks and for me it remains one of the most unique pleasures that a human being can enjoy.
I’ve always considered myself a New Yorker, since that day when the Super Constellation of Cubana landed atIdlewildAirport, whether I am here, inEurope, or inNew Jersey. The myth that started with the letters from my great uncle’s apartment inManhattanhas come full circle. Everybody seems to find his or her way, here inNew York City… something to do, a friend. I love the ocean and the beach too. Perhaps there is a connection on another level with those early days onMarianaoBay. For Marianao, like Eastern Long Island, is a way of life…driving in Promised land, camping at Hither Hills, pizza at Ma Bergman, I remember driving my Citroën car and seeing Carlos Montoya, the legendary Spanish musician, in his. He was an exile from his country like my family was exiled fromCuba. I think of the whimsical articles in Dan’s Papers, the East Hampton Summersun, the Southampton Summersun, etc., among my favorites: “The Citroën with one bold tire” or “How the Hamptons got their names” to name two. And there is watching the sunset from Conscience point or theSag Harborpier, where masses of tourists now gather like on the piers ofHavana.
If what one remembers in a memoir is neat, perhaps history should be written this way too. However each of us is a story. There’s a Brazilian song that says that when two people dream it becomes reality.East Hamptonfor me was that new reality of living by the sea, and afterHavana, a nice place to land. The potato barn on two acres in Bridgehampton for a modest sum is a memory and a thing of the past, but some farm stands with a table where you can leave payment in cash on an honor system survive. Fifty years of memories and the making of them has kept us going.
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