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Sixty-Something: I Am Meant To Be Here For Some Reason

T.J. Clemente

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15 years ago I lived on the East End of another island, Manhattan Island. (Photo: T.J. Clemente)

Conventional wisdom has always said it is not the destination but the journey itself in which life is actually lived. However within the journey there are destinations/locations where you live life during the journey. There are also people who are the cornerstones of your life such as your parents, your children, your friends and if you are lucky your soulmate/lover/friend/companion and in my case wife too. They travel with you or in some cases are the reasons you travel.

15 years ago I lived on the East End of another island, Manhattan Island. I was working in there on 42st Street between 5th and 6th Avenue and lived on East 83st between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. I was a master of both the subway system and NYC's alternate side of the street parking for my car. One late June day I did a chore for a friend that had something to do with going to Hampton Bays to get a deposit check back for a sailboat. Instead on impulse alone, I purchased the sailboat and never truly went back to NYC. I landed in East Hampton, divorced, suddenly unemployed, with very limited financial resources and was quite frankly a damaged 50-year-old. I remember Joe Shaw, looking me right in the eye after I proudly handed him the check for the boat saying, "When are you getting your boat off my front lawn?"

He did give me a number to call and thus I had a foothold in the East End, the sailboat. Soon it was rigged and docked in Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton. From the very first sail it was the beauty of Gardiner's Bay that just arrested my soul. It was new, it is forever beautiful and it was summer. I knew nothing of the history and "ways" of the Hamptons. My grandfather fished Montauk in the 1920's, not for the glamour but for food. My dad fished Montauk for the glory of a boatload of tuna. I was a mountain guy, usually either the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Rockies of Colorado, or my true love being the steep high cathedral like aiguilles de Chamonix. Now I resided on flat ocean and bay fronted land, I thought I'd spend perhaps three years at most as a visitor to East Hampton.

I always thought my destiny was to be a successful business guy except I just didn't have the savvy to do big business deals. I suppose I have too much boy scout and altar boy and not enough blinding ambition. However life throws curveballs at you and one hit me in the head and I landed on the East End.

The people of East Hampton/Montauk accepted me for what I was, a non-local living in their town due to divorce and a blown-up business life career. Luckily for me they were all getting real estate rich and business was good due to the pre-bubble bursting real estate market and home values in the Hamptons 2002-2007!

Home equity refinancing in the Hamptons then was like what discovering gold nuggets in rivers in California in the mid 1800's, new found wealth! Everyone shared in the successful times except me as I rented rooms, slept in boats and ended up at the Ditch Plains Trailer Park, 432 steps from the breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I made my existence money by both writing articles for local publications, along with being their delivery guy. I also was doorman at a famous local bar and a substitute teacher and even delivered flowers for a local East Hampton florist. With five jobs I fit in with the hard working ethic of the East End, and people thankfully looked after me. It was like living my early 20's in my early 50's. I felt younger. I sang karaoke somewhere almost every night. I learned to love life on a very simple plain.

Things have worked out wonderfully with a sweet wife, but those hard times made the now so much sweeter. I even have two novels, Whistling Past the Hottie Graveyard and Triangle Love (both available on Amazon). Every morning I know I am meant to be here for some reason.

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Guest (Dana) from Seattle says::
I am beginning to think you are right about this.
Nov 9, 2017 9:51 am


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