Montauk Community Notes, February 20


While husband Don was at work on Sunday afternoon I spent about an hour hacking ice and snow so the front porch would be safe when he returned after dark. In turn he, shoveling snow at the crack of dawn on Sunday, was surely thinking, “She’s not so spry these days, I’d better clean up out there.”When first married and living in San Diego, Don and I would visit the small mountain town of Julian, 60 miles away. Known for apple orchards, at 4,235 feet above sea level, Julian receives snow in winter, at least when California isn’t troubled by drought. Our mission was to buy apple pies and just to see snow. We’d get out of the car, throw snowballs and enjoy a break from 70 or 80 degree sunny weather on the coast.

Take heart! As a snowstorm raged outside on Saturday evening, I found a tiny black ant on the dining room table. Always the optimist, Don declared, “Spring is definitely on the way.”

I managed to get my facts confused again in last week’s column. Jean Ruggles set me straight when I saw her at the rummage sale at Montauk Community Church on Saturday. Margaret Potts, as well as donating the Steinway piano to Montauk Community Church, was a teacher at Montauk School. Margaret Pitches, “That lovely lady,” said Ms. Ruggles, “was not a teacher. She summered here.”

I remember Ms. Pitches as the friend of Kay Maxwell. They were fond friends since their girlhoods in Scotland. They told me the story of their lifelong friendship as we nibbled cookies in the Guild Room after Sunday worship services. Today, February 19, marks the five year anniversary of Catherine (Kay) Maxwell’s death. Ms. Pitches predeceased Kay by a number of years. They were kind ladies of the generation before mine who graciously welcomed me when I first came to the church. Kay was a mainstay of the Women’s Guild.

In the future I hope to write sketches of Montauk School teachers, with a focus on those who both live and teach here. Many teachers at Montauk School stay for their full career. They know our families from one generation to the next, and that helps makes this such a special place. Elsewhere, where I went to school, I didn’t have any teachers like that.

On the Montauk School website this week, I note a reminder from Ginger Del Percio concerning the 2014 Spring Parent As Reading Partners (PARP) spring program.

Contracts were scheduled to go home at the end of last week, which may have been delayed by snow days. Wednesday, February 26 is Guest Reader Day, and also when contracts are due back and PARP begins.

Parent PARP volunteers are needed. Contact Ms. Del Percio at 668-2474 or email at Better yet, after winter break when school resumes, stop by Ms. Del Percio’s desk at the front entrance of the school and ask how you can help.

Basic PARP program rules are, spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week, reading with your child for a total of 75 minutes each week. You may read to your child, your child to you, or you may read quietly together. Your child may read with a grandparent, brother, sister, or a friend. Students in grades 5 through 8 may read 60 of the required 75 minutes (i.e. four of the five days) on their own. A parent must verify. If you miss a day, you can make it up the next day.

All students, pre-K through grade eight and their parents or caregivers are eligible. Students who complete all three weeks receive a bonus reward of a $5 coupon to our local bookstore, Montauk Bookshop.

Adults may also like to check out Montauk School’s Winter Adult Education Program. Some classes begin as early as February 25, next week. Contact Karen Theiss at 668-2474 or 668-5469 after 4 p.m. for registration information. Due to snowstorms at the end of the school week just prior to break, some grace may be extended for late registration for some of the classes, according to available space.

Get out to enjoy winter scenery this Saturday, February 22, at 10 a.m. with the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society. This is a six mile hike through Hither Woods with leader Victoria Von Frank and includes woodland and scenic coastal trails with panoramic views, and a stop at beautiful Rods Valley at Fort Pond Bay. Hike the same trails that Native Americans, early settlers, and the rumrunners did! Bring liquids. Meet at the Montauk Recycling Center about 2 miles east of the Hither Hills Overlook, on the left side. Significant snow may cancel. Call Ms. Von Frank if unsure at 324-8750 or day of hike at (631) 487-4506.

The following day, Sunday, February 23 at 9 a.m., Montauk Point State Parks and Recreation offers a seal walk. These walks to see wintering seals are ongoing, weekends, through April. A State Park naturalist will lead visitors on a 2 to 3 hour leisurely beach walk to an area where up to four species of seals can be observed. There’ll be opportunities to see many winter birds and to explore marine geology. Dress appropriately, wear comfortable footwear for hiking. Binoculars are recommended. Meet at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Grill and concession stand, 10 minutes before start time. The hike is approximately 3 miles round trip. Fees are $4 per adult 19 and older; $3 ages 3 to 18. Children 3 and under hike for free. To make reservations, or for more information, please call (631) 668-5000.

At The Library

Due to the frequency of storms, the library will postpone the upcoming Microsoft EXCEL 2007/2010 computer classes. Dates will be determined in early March.

This week’s free movie, presented by The Friends of the Montauk Library, is “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks in a true story about a hijacking by Somali pirates. Screening is at 7 p.m, Thursday, February 20.

On Saturday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m., the library presents a dynamic concert of Bulgarian folk music featuring vocalist Vlada Tomova and Chris Rael on guitar, sitar, guitarra Portuguesa, Turkish zas, and 12-string guitar. The concert includes Ms. Tomova’s arrangements of authentic Bulgarian folk music as well as her English-language repertoire. According to a press release, “Boldly mixing stylistic influences, the pair creates a haunting, unforgettable pan-global sound.”

Ms. Tomova would like to dedicate this concert to the loving memory of her friend, the late George Hadjipopov (“Bulgarian George”) who recently passed away in Montauk.

The concert is free and open to the public. For information, especially in event of inclement weather, please call 668-3377.

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