The Core of the Big Apple / by Susie Lubell

Westhampton
Roger's Beach, Westhampton, New York
 
I was on a roll with my big apple stories but then I hit a nearing deadline and panicked and a shark bit off my thumb and I fell into a hole and red ants ate my eyeballs. None of those things are true except that I had/have a deadline for a custom ketubah (Jewish wedding contract - do I have to keep telling you this or does everyone know what a ketubah is at this point?) and the wedding is August 22 but the bride wants her grandmother who has generously paid for it to give it to her on the day of her wedding shower which is August 8, except that I am leaving town again on July 31 so she needs it on the 30th and that's on Thursday! But I finished it! Because I am a ketubah making MACHINE. You will get a peek coming up soon. But first, a final recap of New York.

After our two days touring Manhatten we dug into the core part of our trip which was seeing family and eating. I took the kids to see my husband's grandmother on the south shore and then when we tried to get to the beach from there and failed, I took them instead to a park nearby with sprinklers. I could have just as well turned the sprinklers on at my own house and saved myself a ton of time and money. I must say though I am really good at getting around Long Island even though I had to take six different highways to get ten miles. My aunt scoffed at this notion pointing out that on their various trips to see us in southern California back in the day she remembers taking the 5 to the 55 to the 22 to the 405 to the 73 to the 1 etc. She has a point.

On Saturday we spent the whole day at my cousin's house culminating in a fifth birthday party for my niece. Most of my cousins have kids now and they're all about the same age and this cousin is so relaxed entertaining a house full of people. You can imagine her stirring the tomato sauce in her bikini and holding her two year old on her hip with everyone around her screaming or kvetching or whatever. And the kids are all in the pool and the cousins (the grown-ups) are remembering when we used to have chicken fights and play marco polo when we were kids. And now we're all old. 

Sunday was time for more nostalgia. We drove out to Westhampton where my aunt has been living the last 45+ years. We used to go out there every year and stay in her house which was over the pharmacy that my uncle owned. They had a giant tree swing out back and a golden retriever named Fletcher and even though I was the youngest cousin on my mom's side (by a lot) I used to love tagging along with my big cousins and going to the beach where we'd line up our shoes as is local tradition, taking showers outside and eating steamers for dinner. It was so nice to be there this time with my own kids and their cousins and to see my aunt. And even though it was a double red flag rip tide at the beach and I was terrified the surf would eat my kids, we had a terrific time. And we even got to clean up in my aunt's outdoor shower. That is the essence of summer.

Our last day we went to the Long Island Children's Museum and then drove to the airport where unfortunately our flight was delayed three hours. But my kids were stars. We ate dinner, played games, watched movies and by the time we took off they were completely wrecked and slept the whole way home.

Some parting thoughts:
  1. Traveling solo eliminates the stress of figuring out what you'll do each day and who you'll see because you just do what you want to do and that's that.
  2. I would need to grow out my hair if we ever lived on the east coast because the humidity makes me look like Bozo the Clown.
  3. There is no need to bring a "just in case" sweatshirt to New York in the summer. 
  4. Family is good. The bigger the better.