For more than 30 years, residents of Southampton Town have gathered at various locations on the coast of Florida in Palm Beach County for the annual “Southampton Day.” Albert Essay, the organizer of this year’s event, had announced that it would be held on Tuesday, February 26, starting at 11 a.m. at Dubois County Park.
This is a day during which summer residents of Southampton Town convene to have a cookout and visit with friends who they would not normally see in the off-season. The park has seven miles of ocean beaches.
This day was started by former Southampton Village Mayor Peter Majkowski to celebrate the birthday of a friend, Alfred Gusiewicz. It became tradition that the last Tuesday of February would be “Southampton Day.”
The first party, held in Phil Foster’s home, was moved one year to a larger location, Lagaer Head Park, and roughly 50 people attended. It was moved to Dubois County Park last year and approximately 200 people were present.
This year, between 150-200 people met at the annual event. Since 1999, Al and Virginia Essay have seen to it that this get-together happens. With the help of her many close friends and associates, mailings go out, as do postcards and notices. It is good fun to see people you don’t see too often up north and remember when we did many things with much more effort and ability.
Too much credit cannot be given to Al and Virginia for all the effort they put into this day, and at the end it was a special treat to have abundant servings of kielbasa and sauerkraut.
Perhaps the best way to compliment them for all they do is to repeat one of the greatest lines I was told one day while tending bar at the old Irving Hotel: “You know, Ted, there is no greater satisfaction than to know you’ve done a good, honest day’s work.”
Many more thanks, Al and Virginia. Let us hope they will be able to do this for many years to come.