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Sixty-Something: Love Still Makes The World Go Round In The Hamptons

T.J. Clemente

"Over time I have watched witnessed some wonderful East End love stories," Clemente reflects. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

When so many things seem to be going so wrong, one cannot help but get confused and upset. Between the coronavirus catastrophe and recent police actions against minorities it has become too easy to get engrossed in the moment when negative news is dominating the airwaves, websites and blogs. Driving home from sailing last Sunday I noticed a couple holding hands as the sun was setting off Noyac Road around North Sea. I stopped and took a photo not realizing what the photo would show. I believe it portrays "love still makes the world go round in the Hamptons."

It was with this backdrop that I decided to write a column about something that glows more on the positive of the wonderful and for the best. Over the last 17 years I have had the opportunity to meet many people and see many things on the East End of Long Island. What touches me most and always actually has affected me my whole long life has been getting to watch love blossom so many times in so many different ways on the East End.

Over time I have watched witnessed some wonderful East End love stories. Here are a few:

I begin with when great first dates blossom into a marriage with teenage kids. This was twenty years ago. It started on Shelter Island during the June weekend when the folks of Shelter Island host the 10k-5k run. Early 30's folks, a city runner and a same aged California girl, met at Sunset Beach before and after the race. The intense sparks of that weekend started an insane bicoastal love affair that included lots of flights to and from both coasts. Now Mark and DeeDee have two wonderful teenage kids and live near Lafayette, California near San Francisco.

The next story is about Millicent and Tate King of North Sea Farms. Now both are gone. Doing a series of articles on "50 Traditions of the Hamptons," I had the opportunity to meet them in their home. All I had to do was stand in their kitchen and watch their spark in their later years to know about the long lasting power of love. Millicent twinkled as Tate said marring her was the smartest and best thing he ever did in his life. Yes, I am talking about Katherine King's - of "Tate's Cookies" - parents.

Then the high school kids, one from Montauk and one from Springs, who began coupling in East Hampton High School at 15. He was a surfer who went to college in Vermont and she a yoga living naturalist who went to study at Georgetown University, but after they graduated college they both came home to live in East Hampton. Today Ben and Leah live in Montauk with their two children, living the American dream and proving the next generation can live life in their home town. Last summer, I caught a glimpse of them at The Surf Lodge with their kids all watching the sunset together. It was a beautiful sight.

Lastly, I watched two women who live in Sag Harbor raise their son from baby to Pierson High School Senior. Susan taught me a lot about many tough issues, more importantly she introduced me to a broader understanding of issues I never had focused on before. I have to say watching their son grow from a tiny baby to a tall teen is wonderful because they did a great job. Their son is a tremendous kid.

Even in the darkest hours of the failed loves of my past I have always believed in the power of love, it's glow on life, it's ability to make best things happen. How can anyone disagree?

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