I’m doing several things at once including preparing Sunday dinner, via crock pot, while writing this column. My dog, Chance, cozies up to my feet because it’s time for his walk.We’ve accomplished this weekend’s visit, in which we met, for the first time, Janet, our son Dan’s new girlfriend. She was mostly raised in Rochester, New York, and had never been to Montauk. As I told my sister, who has married children, with kids of their own, “I was on my best behavior.”
I’m aware that something as elementary as hanging laundry outside may seem eccentric in some circles. I live in a houseful of men who generate tons of laundry. Much of my spare time is spent looking after men and cleaning up. I work full time and it’s hard to keep on top of every inch of the house. If Janet noticed anything amiss, she made no comment: a valuable trait! She also good naturedly endured a jaunt to Block Island with Dan, on which the ferry broke down on the return trip and they had to wait for a replacement ferry. It was uncomfortably rocky, she said.
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Fran, nee Schuller, at the Montauk Community Church rummage sale this week. For a moment I thought Fran was her sister, Maureen, who I bump into once or twice, each summer.
We had been young teenagers, spending summer vacations in Montauk together. Fran and her sister summered at their parents’ then new home, diagonally across from my Aunt Helen’s, along with another girl who stayed with them, their good friend. They seemed a cohesive unit of three, not needing me, though I was prodded to join them, by Aunt Helen. We ranged in age from about 12 to 15.
Aunt Helen, my mother’s sister, with no children of her own, had taken on the challenge of raising my cousin Sean Meloy, after his mother, another of my aunts, had died. Sean is older, about the same age as Fran’s sister, Maureen. He was a handsome boy and to this day, retains that same devil-may-care attitude. My brother, Paul, then only 11, lived for the chance to tag around with Sean. We kids had one foot still in our childhoods, while with the other we marched relentlessly forward. Fran commented that she “follows” this column. I keep in touch with Sean, who along with his wife, raised their family in San Diego. I expect to hear from him soon, for my birthday.
I have officially lived exactly half my life without my mother. The anniversary of her death is also this week. She never met half her grandchildren. Dan was born two years after she died and my brother’s children also arrived later. My father put away all her pretty things. I brought them back. Each item holds a story, but none has monetary value. I imagine this arrangement must seem cluttered to the casual observer.
A reminder: our main event of the Montauk summer is the annual Gala at the Playhouse, on August 6. Proceeds go toward the Montauk community’s goal of building an indoor aquatics center at the Playhouse. Tickets and complete information can be found at montaukplayhouse.org.
Kudos go out to several for good deeds; veterinarian, Dr. Pepper, who braved the scary traffic to drive out to Montauk and check out some health questions we had about our favorite dog, Chance. Also, here’s a good word for the folks at Geek Hampton, also in Sag Harbor, who fixed my friend’s Macintosh laptop computer, accidentally dropped, by using spare parts from another computer. That’s great recycling! My friend was so happy not to have to upgrade!
Congratulations to Shar Janetschek of Montauk, who graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in fashion and textiles, from SUNY Oneonta.