Friday, August 26, 2005


I spent most of my summers in Orient, Long Island. It's the tip of the North Fork of Long Island, just as Montauk is the tip of the South Fork. But they couldn't be more different, especially when I was a kid. Montauk is a stone's throw down from the Hamptons which were exclusive and la-di-da even way back in the 70's and 80's. Orient, Greenport and Southhold were more farming areas -- Long Island potatoes -- and rural.

Orient was my mom's idea of paradise. Rent an old house with funky furniture, sofas upholstered in big flowery 1930's prints. Get a stack of books to read. No TV. Maybe the radio for music. Do next to nothing from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

We kids were busy doing nothing too, also reading, climbing trees (still a favorite with me) exploring the long empty beaches -- which in Orient have piles of round rocks -- not sand, writin g letters, walking to the General Store (there really was one in town and that was about it, save a post office and a gas station), buying penny candy out of the glass counter jars, rowing boats, sailing catamarans, barbequing on the beach, riding our bikes everywhere. It was heavenly.

So I'm really glad I'll be heading out that way soon, because September is the best month for Orient -- tourists are gone and the place is empty like is was when I was a kid. Can't wait.