It makes perfect sense that as humans get older their memories increasingly take center stage in direct proportion to their advancing years.
The more experience one accumulates from age 5 or 6 and up, the more there is in the storehouse of memory to look back on and consider. After a certain point, as midlife somewhat imperceptibly transitions into the so-called “golden years” and the catalogue of new experiences starts to diminish, the mind is still free, and often driven, to find stimulation, both positive and negative, by wandering in the lush fields of life remembered.
Today, it seems—to At Quaquanantuck at least—that the coronavirus pandemic is mirroring the effects of aging on activating the memory, for both young and old. There is no question that, like aging, the stay-at-home directives have curtailed almost all the typical activities that defined people’s lives and filled their time, at both work and play.
If we are no longer able to go to an office or school and work in a customary setting, go to the gym, out for meals, travel, go to the movies or theatre, attend sporting events and parties, no matter what age we are, our minds naturally turn to remembering what it was like when we could do, and did do, all those things.
And while this is a natural progression for people kindly referred to as being “of a certain age,” consider the plight of high school and college seniors. For these young men and women, although bolstered somewhat by virtual “gatherings,” memories are just about all they have. The painful shutdown of all traditional activities, celebrations and ceremonies cannot help but steep them in disappointment, dashing expectations that were themselves based on the memory of what it was like for the seniors who came before them.
No final season of spring sports, no final spring show, no senior prom, no awards night, no (traditional anyway) graduation ceremony, no graduation parties, in essence no event or events marking the class of 2020’s achievement in making the transition to the next level of life experience.
For those among us who remember all these markers, and the experiences and the feelings that made them a significant part of our path, it’s important to recognize how the pandemic is robbing the class of 2020 of these important signifiers. That’s why At Quaquanantuck is urging parents, grandparents, guardians, and the students themselves to contact this columnist at AtQuaq@gmail.com and send in news and photos and future plans of high school and college seniors in the class of 2020, for this column to share with readers.
These students and their families have come far and gone through a lot, including the life altering coronavirus pandemic in the last months of their senior year. They are a vital part of our community and will be helping to shape it for years to come. They should not be made to feel that by cancelling all the traditional events and activities, the virus has somehow erased all that they have accomplished. It’s time to honor them and their achievement.
And so it goes in the days of the novel coronavirus today.
The Mayor’s Corner: Police Pitch In and Go on Record
Along with the customary updates on coronavirus restrictions and phased reopening (complete details at at https://forward.ny.gov/statewide-guidelines) this week’s letter to Quogue residents from Mayor Peter Sartorius included a report on the role of the Quogue Village Police during recent East End demonstrations protesting police brutality and systemic racism, and an email from Village Police Chief Chris Isola sent to the Village Board of Trustees.
The Mayor noted that although protest demonstrations in Bridgehampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor, and Westhampton Beach had, “happily,” all been peaceful, police officers from across the East End, including Quogue Village Police, had been dispatched to those areas “as a precautionary measure.” Members of the Quogue force went over to Westhampton Beach on Saturday, he said, to respond to “normal” calls, freeing up officers from the WHB department to monitor the protest.
In his now weekly letter, the Mayor also shared the following email from Chief Isola, written in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis:
“If I may, I would like to express on behalf of myself and the entire police department that we are all appalled, angry and ashamed by what those officers did in Minneapolis. Those officers do not represent law enforcement in this country. Our department is dedicated to serving and protecting all of the public with respect and dignity. Our officers receive advanced training in anti-bias crimes, implicit bias, proper use of force, de-escalation techniques, and community outreach. We will continue to work hard to reassure the public that this police department is here to protect and serve them and we will embrace the changes that may be needed to regain the public’s confidence. Thank you.”
At Quaquanantuck salutes—and is grateful to—Chief Isola and all the members of the department for their condemnation of police actions in Minneapolis, and for re-stating their sworn commitment to, and training in, serving all of the community equally with respect and dignity.
Mayor Sartorius also said that relaxing the enforcement of village sign laws in order to allow the class of 2020 at Westhampton Beach High School to honor the graduates will now be extended until the end of the month in order to accommodate leaving in place a number of Black Lives Matter and similar signs posted by residents as part of the recent national movement.
On the Covid-19 front, Hizzoner once again asserted that “the main thing to remember is that the coronavirus remains a serious threat, and people have to be responsible for their own safety and be respectful of the safety of others. Wear a mask when you are around others not in your own family unit and keep six feet apart whenever possible.”
Beyond that, the Mayor urged all residents once again to “Please continue to walk and jog on the left, ride on the right and clean up after your pets.”
To receive Hizzoner’s email blasts, send an email to ABuhl@villageofquogueny.gov and ask to be put on the email list. The other way to see the most current, and all the Mayor’s letters, is to go to www.villageofquogueny.gov and click on Announcements. While on the Village website, be sure to check out the home page for other news and Covid-19 updates.
Clambake Takeout Benefits Moriches Bay Project
A delicious opportunity to join the “Save Our Bay” movement will be presented in a curbside fundraising event to benefit the Moriches Bay Project at Buoy One in Westhampton Beach on Sunday, June 14, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Diners who order Buoy One Clambake or Crescent Duck dinners through the Moriches Bay Project website (www.morichesbayproject.org) by Saturday, June 13, will be greeted by MBP curbside delivery volunteers when they come to pick up their dinners on Sunday between 4 and 7 p.m.
The dinners are $68 each, and “Save Our Bay” supporters will receive one raffle ticket per each dinner ordered for a chance to win an eight-person Buoy One Clam Bake takeout dinner. Watermelon margaritas to go will be available as a separate purchase on Sunday, when diners waiting for their orders will be treated to “drive-by” music by A Happy Accident, featuring Jim Hulme, Chuck Finch, and Tom Maltese.
The Moriches Bay Project is a small grass roots not for profit with a mission of improving the quality of the water in Moriches Bay and turning it back to its natural state of health, through oyster farming and eel grass planting. As the home page of the group’s website proclaims: “We are dedicated to bringing awareness to the local community and educating our children. We all live, work or play on the Bay; we all have a responsibility to care for it.
Since its founding in 2012 by longtime residents and friends Aram Terchunian and Laura Fabrizio and Westhampton native Dwight Surgan, MBP has been planting oysters in Moriches Bay through partnerships with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Southampton Town Trustees and Brookhaven Town. With one oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water each day, the goal is to continue to double the amount of oysters each year. More information is available by clicking here.
Wildlife Refuge Sets Up Social Distance Paddle Days, June 12 & July 3
Undeterred by the challenges of meeting all the requirements of current pandemic protocols, the quick-thinking folks at the Quogue Wildllife Refuge have come up with a social distance“Family Paddle Days” program on two Fridays: tomorrow, June 12, and Friday, July 3. All the time slots for Saturday, June 13, have already been taken.
To maintain social distance for participants, the partially guided paddles in kayaks and/or canoes around Old Ice Pond will be open to six people at a time in three different private time slots for households or families on each day.
Activities during each 90-minute time slot will include: guiding by a naturalist for part of the exploration of Old Ice Pond; time for “free paddling”; and exploration with the help of a scavenger hunt/ID chart. Paddlers will have a chance to observe the various species of freshwater fish, turtles, and birds that live in and around this more than 100-year-old pond that was originally created for ice harvesting for the Quogue Ice Company.
On June 12, the available time slots are from 9 to 10:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; and 12:30 to 2 p.m. On July 3, time slots are from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; 12:30 to 2 p.m.; and 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.
The fee is $250 per group, and pre-registration and payment in advance are required.
This program will be weather dependent. Single kayaks, double kayaks, and canoes will be determined prior to paddlers’ arrival based on the individuals in the party. For more information and to register, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org.
All June QWR virtual programs and live social distance programs—including Earth Yoga Outside with Amy Hess on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. (weather permitting; pre-registration required)—are now posted on the Refuge website. For details, click here, or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org, click on the Programs tab at the top, then click on Events Calendar on the drop down.
Although the Nature Center and facilities remain closed at this time, the trails at the QWR remain open, to counterclockwise single direction access only, and with adequate social distancing and other protocols required.
And please remember, too, the new Quogue Wildlife Refuge “text to donate” app for smart phone users. Donations to the QWR can now be made from anywhere simply by texting QWR2020 to 202-858-1233. The new app leads users to a very simple donation form, right on their cell phones. If apps aren’t your thing, consider making a donation at the QWR website, www.quoguewildliferefuge.org. Now more than ever the Refuge is an invaluable resource for area residents and visitors; offering your support during this crisis is the right thing to do.
Notable Stop on the Quogue Historical Society Tour of Dune Road
A recent Quogue Historical Society email blast contained a detailed history of the creation of the first road and scenic drive on the beach, and also offered a guide to some of the sights one encounters today when driving down that same byway, now known, of course, as Dune Road.
The story, as pieced together by QHS Curator Julie Greene, explains that by 1926, Southampton Town had approved the construction of nine miles of road along the barrier beach, from Post’s Bridge—the bridge then at the end of Ocean Avenue that crossed directly to the Quogue Beach Club, founded in 1919—to Southampton Village. The new road opened to the public three years later and soon became the most popular scenic drive on the East End.
The drive all the way to Southampton Village on the beach was a casualty, along with Post’s Bridge and the Beach Lane bridge that crossed into the Surf Club, of the Hurricane of 1938, when the Shinnecock Inlet was cut through in a matter of minutes.
Today, the drive or bike ride or walk to Shinnecock Inlet from the Post Lane bridge (built in 1941 to replace the two bridges destroyed by the ‘38 hurricane) is still a popular pastime, with a number of scenic and historic highlights.
High on the list of these would be the charming and terminally cute cottage at 205 Dune Road, about a half-mile east of the Quogue Village Beach, opened in 1966. The tiny (by the standards of any age, but particularly those of the current McMansion era) house on the bay side was made famous by Norman Rockwell in a 1957 Kodak advertisement, “Closing up the Summer Cottage.”
While it was known to many passersby over the years as the “Honeymoon Cottage” because of the heart cutouts in the painted plank shutters, At Quaquanantuck always referred to it as the “Murder House” because of a legend passed down from older kids that this cheery, benign setting had been the site of a gruesome homicide. Now, at long last, thanks to the QHS, the legend has not only been confirmed, but the facts of the case seem a perfect fit for a film noir template.
As the QHS email spins the tale, 205 Dune Road is “where Frank Tuthill, nicknamed the Corn Doc ‘because he was so adept at soothing the aching bunions of Long Island matrons,’ was lured in 1932 and murdered for the cash-lined overcoat he was known to wear.”
News accounts at the time—suitably sordid and sensational—featured a mugshot of the married woman who did the luring and then later turned state’s evidence to testify that it was her husband and partner in crime who did the murder.
Putting the whole affair in context, the QHS account concludes with a fitting Dashiell Hammett tagline: “It was the Depression, after all …”
Readers are reminded that the cottage is privately owned, and while the homeowners might understand the curiosity engendered by the history of their home, walking around the house and looking in the windows at any time is not only totally inappropriate, but a heinous violation of the owners’ privacy and an act of trespass.
“Jeff Muhs: Deliverance” at Quogue Gallery
“Jeff Muhs: Deliverance” is the first show of the seventh season of the Quogue Gallery at 44 Quogue Street just off Jessup Avenue. On view through July 2, the exhibition features 11 paintings arrayed in the north gallery.
As part of the New York Forward Phase II reopening, the gallery is now open to the public. During June, open hours will be on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The number of people allowed in the gallery at any one time is currently limited to no more than 10 and masks and social distancing are required.
Known principally for his work as an abstract painter, Jeff Muhs has exhibited in galleries and museums nationwide. He was born in Southampton in 1966 and his father, an artist and third generation hunting and fishing guide, instilled in him an intimate appreciation of the local natural environment. Continually inspired by the light, water and horizons of the East End, the artist’s painting has undergone an evolution from its beginnings—in literal depictions of his environment—to abstraction with a modernist touch.
“Jeff Muhs: Deliverance” continues to be available for viewing via the “virtual gallery” located on the gallery website (www.quoguegallery.com). Artwork may also be brought to clients’ homes for viewing by request, and gallery owners Christy and Chester Murray can Photoshop a piece “into” a space to help clients better understand how a work of art fits into their home environment. For more information, contact the gallery, by phone (203-321-9427) or e-mail, email@example.com.
Library Calendar Chockablock with Virtual Programs for All Ages and Interests
Embracing the virtual realm that the coronavirus pandemic requires, the Quogue Library is listing a plethora of programs geared to all ages and a wide variety of interests. Registration for all programs, except as noted, can now be completed by pointing and clicking on the library website. (Detailed instructions below.)
The library’s Remote Resources Picks of the Week for this week include an offering from the National Museum of African American History and Culture recommended by Smithsonian Magazine: a new portal titled “Talking About Race,” which is a compilation of digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources tailored for educators, parents, caregivers and individuals committed to racial equality. To enter the portal, visit nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race.
Also shared by the library this week are the following Smithsonian resources, “designed to foster an equal society, encourage commitment to unbiased choices and promote antiracism in all aspects of life”: 158 Resources to Understand Racism in America; #MomentsOfResilience; and Greensboro Lunch Counter.
In the “East End Libraries Collectively Present” series this week, library patrons will find The Power of Piano Music with Alexander Wu, presented at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, June 12, on Facebook Live.
Also on Friday, June 12, families can enjoy the return of Fish Guy Photos for a virtual tour of sea life in Alaska at 7 p.m. Home base for this underwater tour episode hosted by Fish Guy Chris Paparo is Tanaku Lodge on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska, home to some of the best sport fishing and scenery on the coast.
For this program only this week, registration is still by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A virtual author reading and craft for youngsters this week will feature author, teacher, and mother of three Denise D’Angelo Roland (snapshot profiled in At Quaquanantuck of May 14, 2020: “Taking On the Age of Digital Distraction”) reading from her debut picture book, “Please Look Up at Me,” on Saturday, June 13, at 2 p.m.
Registration for this program and Zoom login info is online at quoguelibrary.org.
On Thursday, June 18, at 4 p.m., children in fourth grade and up can take part in an “Owl Pellet Dissection” program co-presented by the Quogue Library and the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. To register and for more information about the program and picking up owl pellets at the QWR, click here, or visit quoguelibrary.org.
For a complete list of library programs and resources on the June calendar, visit quoguelibrary.org.
As noted above, the Quogue Library has implemented a new procedure for patrons wishing to register for any one of the roster of virtual programs.
Patrons can now go to the library’s home page at www.Quoguelibrary.org; click on the flier image of the program for which they wish to register; fill in the requested information; scroll to the bottom of the page (remembering to check “I am not a Robot”) and hit Register. A confirmation email with Zoom login information will be sent to all registered patrons.
Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.