Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre

Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre
Rescued Dogs' Stories

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Hamptons



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Our topic this week is where do you live?

                                                                         *******

Check out Patti Fiala blog and her first book in the Rolling Thunder series, Dog Days of Summer - your pick Amazon or Amazon UK or Amazon Canada

I grew up in a downward spiraling neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. During the summer, my grandparents would pick up, along with my brother and I, and take off to The Hamptons for a three to five-month vacation.

Summer was always spent in The Hamptons, but the timeline was a variable, depending on the weather. We would bustle about, packing only the necessities, weeks before the closing of the school. The day after school let out, we were standing at the local Long Island Rail Road station awaiting departure to the country. This ritual had started long before even our school days did. 

My aunt, who married late in life, bought and gave the Southampton property to her parents. Her dad had become disabled in his thirties. He was a small, wiry man who had made a good living as a jockey. In the late 1930s and early 1940s chronic kidney disease was not very treatable - which meant an early retirement - making him the first house husband I knew. Aunt Betty went off to work during the day and Grandma had her work as Superintendent of our building, that kept her busy most of the day cleaning or repairing. 



But, at least, the summer was away from the heat steaming up from the subway line that ran the row of buildings along our street. Our building was on the corner of Fulton Street, so there was easy access to buses for trips to Macys or Korvettes and the subway lines below to Delancy Street for our yearly shoes or decorations for Christmas. 

Winter was played on the street with snow forts lining both sides of Portland Avenue. Ammunition stacks piled high awaited our skirmishes each day. We, the ones good at aiming, had the job of taking out our opponents. Others on the team would continue to make the encrusted ice snowballs while still others had the job of transporting the ammo in a timely fashion. 

When the streets and sidewalks were clear of snow or ice, we could skate or play games that were popular before the advent of television or the far distant, unheard of, the personal computer. 

Skating was adventurous because the slate slabs that made up what passed for sidewalks were few and far between.They were launching pads for the skates that hopefully remained attached to the shoes or, horror, sneakers.We shot like human projectiles around corners, down hills, skirting adults as if they were hurdles earning us scores. 

For the first eight years of my life, I was the only girl on the block. This meant learning to play stick ball or aim snowballs was a given. Out skating or out running the boys was a challenge only because I was the shortest but not the youngest. I'd found a place in their ranks because I did not wail if I skinned a knee. I was always willing to take on a challenge, even if I had only a slim chance of winning. There was always a margin of error on some one's part and first place sometimes came to the runt - giving me more incentive to participate in the next race or contest.

 But the summers, at least in the beginning, had a different flavor. My cousin was nine months older than me, a softer girl who did not punch or kick and would look in horror if she needed to physically defend herself. She was the sweet country bumpkin and I was the competitive city sophisticate. 

She showed me how to make mud pies and dress cats - pushing them about in an old baby buggy. I taught her how to talk younger siblings or friends into babysitting our dolls as we would peddle the shared three-wheeler down our road, waving goodbye as we went off to work. 

But we were both soon outnumbered by boys and she, too, learned to play boy games. City skates are not useful on dusty roads but graduating to two-wheeled bikes soon gave us the
freedom and advantage to race alongside boys who would outstrip us on foot. 







Limbs tore off still standing trees after hurricanes, became our trusty steeds as we emulated the lifestyle of our favorite radio or television cowboy. Climbing trees, hanging upside down and allowing ourselves to pretend to fall out of trees was a deliciously danger-filled fun time.

 I still have the galvanized tubs my grandmother washed and rinsed clothes in on the one day a week we did not use them for our swimming pools. Looking at these same containers today brings back sweet memories of lazy days spent in water browning like a ripe berry, and now, wonderment on how small they appear to my adult eyes. 

My grandchildren have a different childhood lifestyle. They make play dates because chance encounters even in this serene country setting can be deadly. They must be shrouded in sunscreen and bug repellent. 

The short dusty road we raced on, free of fear from cars or predators is now paved up to our driveway where an abundance of cars and delivery vans run by daily. They speed along unaware of the natural depression I refuse to fill. If they do know it's there, it merely slows them to a 'crawl' of forty-five. I am almost ashamed to say, I wish broken axles or chassis upon these racers. Almost, but not. 

This sleepy neighborhood, three miles from town, is now dotted with summer homes which are rented out up to ten months a year. I understand the reluctance to return to the high-stress-level of the typical walk-up apartments, and these neighbors are owners who, as my grandparents did, love the relaxed lifestyle away from the cares of the city. And too, these once city folks get to chime in with the native residents as they bemoan the dirty or deadly antics of the careless or belligerent transients.

Our yard, fence-less for sixty years is now enclosed, keeping animals and children safely inside. We had the joy of running the roads - which is all but suicide today. They have a half acre which, while being more than most get, is still so much less than their forefathers. I can do little but shudder, as I envision their grandchildren's future, country lifestyle. {Excerpt from award- winning story, Estival Interlude Lament}

Thanks for stopping.  On your way out, check Lela Markham's blog and here is her link to her first book, The Willow Branch
 in the Daermad series at Amazon<