From the age of 7 until I was 16 and had a driver’s license, my transportation was relegated to a bicycle. At 12, I was given an “English” bike, which was larger and lighter than my balloon-tired one, and had gears! Now progressing up hills or against the wind was a much easier chore.
After Memorial Day until Labor Day we spent close to the south shore of Long Island at a place called Remsenburg, near Westhampton. The ride to the ocean was about 6 miles. Our family and relatives belonged to a beach club called ‘Quantuck’, which was the Shinnocock Indian name for the ripples the wind made in the sand. The membership was about 30-40 families with many, many children.
After breakfast, I’d get my bike from the garage and ride through the village of Westhampton Beach along Old Country Road and down Beach Lane across a draw-bridge to Dune Road and about another half mile to Quantuck. There I’d pick up the key to the Ladies’ Bath house - locker number 41 - at the end of the left-hand aisle.
Quickly I’d change into my swimsuit, grab a towel and bathing cap and rush down the wooden walkway and steps to the waterside. Before changing into the c-o-l-d water (between 58 and 68 degrees), I’d leave my towel on a wooden chair to reserve it and check in with the life guards high up on the lifeguards’ stand. Often I’d find my friends, Tibby, Elsa, Hank, Fred, and Dick already in the water and splashing madly to ride a wave to the shore.
Except for taking a break to have lunch - either sandwiches made at home or charge it to a family account at the club - we’d spend the day until about three, when we’d wearily wend our way back home. My route often was against the wind.
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