When I was a girl, I clearly had a dark side. The Robert Frost poem“Nothing Gold Can Stay” was one of my faves. Yeah, I was a maudlin little child.
But, as I age, I have simply accepted the fact that change is inevitable. Places, people, and things come and go and the pandemic has radically disrupted how we meet, eat, and entertain, but we can still celebrate the essence of what used to be.
The summer is drawing to a close, but we can revel in those last moments of warmth and freedom.
The East End of Long Island holds a special place in my heart. My parents honeymooned at the Montauk Manor many years ago, and we began taking family vacations in that part of the country (which is often known as “The End,” but I think it’s actually the beginning).
Honeymooners in Montauk (circa 1940-something, I suppose)
It used to be a chill and undiscovered/undeveloped community. Very few of the original stores remain on Main Street and my simple childhood summer home was torn down and replaced with a large and expensive beach manse. As an adult, I’ve written about how the Hamptons have changed over the years.
My own family now has a small house in the woods and my daughters have been coming here since they were one and five and creating their own memories.
When I lived in New York, I drove out here often. I used to get a Flagel (flat bagel — among the only carbs I usually allow myself these days) and a large coffee. I sat on the bench outside the bagel store and ruminated about life decisions. Although the bench remains, Bob the bagel store owner died of COVID-19 last year and the store sits vacant, waiting for some gourmet shop or trendy boutique to move in.
But now let’s get to the happy part…
This week, I flew out here from Arizona and my daughter and grandkids came to visit. We have new versions of old traditions. We packed beach lunches and the kids boogie boarded and rode waves. They ate corn on the cob (a timeless summer treat) and ate fresh berries from the farmers’ market. They colored with the Crayola 64 box of crayons (with a sharpener, of course) that once belonged to my daughters. (I had one too, as this photo confirms.)
Crayons, comics, and Clue. Oh yeah…frilly PJs too. What more does a girl need?
As the summer ends, now is a great time to reflect on what HAS stayed over the years, what’s evolved, and how you can find delight in those final days of summer.
And, as important, how are you going “back to school” this fall? If you had to write an essay called, “What I Did Over the Summer” as an adult, what would it say? What will you do between now and this holiday season to bring joy into your own life and those of others?
Sorry, Mr. Frost. You were wrong. The shade of gold changes, but that precious metal (and color) is eternal.