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Sixty-Something: The Nearing End Of Another Summer

T.J. Clemente

The author captured one of those glorious Hamptons sunsets while sailing in beautiful Gardiner's Bay. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

Every spring I anxiously await the arrival of another summer. I long for the very warm weather, the trips to the beach, the opportunity to always wear shorts along with one of my many assorted memory filled tee shirts, and the joy of never having to wear socks. I love those long fun sunlit days and catching the sunset usually while I am sailing in beautiful Gardiner's Bay. Then one day I look at the calendar and it suddenly says August 20-something and "boom" it hits me summer is almost gone.

Now on the East End the locals say the real summer doesn't start until after "Tumbleweed Tuesday," the day after Labor Day when all the summer people leave and the density of activity slows down to a most relaxing pace. I understand the allure of such thinking but I love "high summer August" to the slow paced September with the shorter days of sunlight, and cooler temperatures. Although I agree there is something to be said about the absence of heavy Saturday traffic and the availability of easy parking everywhere, I enjoy crazy August too.

It is always towards the end of August that I reflect on this summer and of summers past. When you are sixty-something you always think back to the summer days of your children being young and innocent and wonderful to have around. The laughter, the happiness of early evening trips for ice cream and great family time. For my family it was time spent in Montauk. I perhaps dragged my daughters to see the Montauk Lighthouse a few times too many. We even used to fly kites on the big lawn of Turtle Hill, with the kites often flying high above the lighthouse. I bet the girls miss seeing that Lighthouse these days as they now live in England and Washington D.C. with adult lives of their own.

I also remember my last summer before going to college. I spent it with my friends knowing that at the end of August we were going onto a new chapter of our young lives and thus losing some of the then magic of high school and our carefree innocence forever. Oh those young summer loves with those kisses, those first evers, and those really long phone calls, on landlines. Who can ever forget the crazy summer jobs we did so long ago? Yet the best memories of them still feel like just yesterday. I have a daughter whose summer job was once "the manager" of the local Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream store in town. Every evening she came home with a quart or two of our favorite ice cream flavors.

My last summer job was doing the maintenance of the tennis courts of the New York Athletic Club. The job included breakfast in the employee dining room and lunch on the terrace next to the pool. Although I was a family member of the club eating for free every day was worth more than the $90 per week along with free tennis clothes to wear around the courts. Little did I know I would spend 25 summers playing tennis on those courts until moving to the East End.

Writing stories for two Hamptons summer weekly magazines was perhaps my favorite summer job ever. It lasted 8 years. I covered great summer parties at cool places, wrote about interesting people. It was while I was doing this and living in Montauk that I met my wife Cindi. For that alone the job was heaven sent.

My most bizarre late summer experience came but a few years ago when Nicole Barylski who runs Hamptons.com gifted me with two tickets to attend a "VH1! Save the Music Event" one August summer evening. Cindi and yours truly dressed up appropriately put the address in the G.P.S. and headed out into the early evening darkness excited. As the car G.P.S. said your destination is 500 feet ahead on the right we saw a valet parking cars on the side of a beautiful Hamptons mansion. This home was lit up only the way multi-million dollar Hamptons homes are lit up. When we arrived at the door a very professional hostess was at the front door with an electronic tablet and asked our names. I told her our names, she checked the tablet, nodded yes and in we went followed by a man with his wife, his daughter and two of her friends. We made small talk as we headed to the party area that included an amazing bar set up around a big-lit pool and amazing grounds. We all made small talk until the fellow, a beverage CEO, said something was wrong. He was correct this wasn't the VH1 party but a private one. In shock we put down our drinks and fetched our car from the valet. We then drove a few hundred feet down the road where there was a field filled with a few hundred cars along with golf carts poised to take us to the real VH1 party. Later that night I saw the beverage C.E.O. and we laughed, as I said, "Only in the Hamptons..."

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