Being a teacher afforded me many fascinating summer vacations, but the times I really treasure are the ones I spent as a child with my family, many aunts, uncles and cousins in a blissful place called Remsenburg on Long Island, which is a southern part of New York State. Remsenburg is about 80 miles from Manhattan Island, which most people consider New York City.

In the 1920’s, my maternal grandfather, bought property around Westhampton Beach, a popular resort area on the Atlantic Ocean. In Remsenburg he built three summer homes for his daughters on about four acres of land. The homes were perfect for the summer and later, in the 1950’s, when my father and uncles had retired from ‘work’, they were converted to year-around living. Each house had an attic (and a basement) four bedrooms and two baths on the second floor. They also had an attic, which was a wonderful place to play on rainy days, a front porch – also used on non-beach days – and a screened-in porch on the south side. My father added a breakfast room on the north side to accommodate all six of us children. Besides a good-sized living room with a fireplace, the first floor had a lavatory, a kitchen and a dining room. There was a two-car garage (for 1920 sized cars), which had a guest apartment and bath attached to it.

Right after school closed, we would traipse out t this summer home for the season. Dad would ‘wake-up’ the cesspool with some cakes of yeast, the water would be turned on and all the faucets opened to flush the rusty pipes and the many beds would be made up with fresh linens. We’d also take food, china-ware and flat-ware silver, along with our summer clothes, books and toys for our stay until Labor Day in early September.

When our cousins arrived we’d begin the evening routine of ‘Capture the Flag’, or ‘Hide and seek’, and we’d play until darkness.

During the day, we’d bicycle to friends’ houses, the Yacht Club, about a mile down the road on the Great South Bay, or to the tennis courts and – of course, to the beach, 6 miles away.

At least one Sunday a month, we had dinner at my grandparents’ home in Westhampton Beach. Their property also had a stable, some paddocks, chickens and a vegetable garden. It was started during WWII as Victory Garden. Fortunately for us, my grandfather had wonderful help that took card of feeding the livestock, planting and weeding the garden. All we had to do was exercise the horses and harvest the vegetables and eggs!

No one could have had a more magical life than during those summers on Long Island.

Lois Learned
Southbury, CT

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