For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent the 4th of July on the beach, mostly in Montauk, NY.
For those of you unfamiliar with Montauk, it’s the easternmost tip of Long Island,120 miles east of New York City. Originally a fishing village, it used to be known as a popular summer spot for middle-class families, especially compared to the glitzier Hamptons villages to its west.
That’s the laid-back Montauk I remember fondly. The place where I square-danced with my parents and sister at the Hither Hills State Park campground. Where I learned to drive our silver Buick station wagon. Where I called out orders for steamers and lobsters at the dockside clam bar. Where I wept over a break-up with my first love. Where I raised two sons. Where I committed to my writing life. Where I wrote words that turned my life—and my family’s life—upside down.
That streak of 4th of July’s in Montauk ended in 2017 when I left my old life and moved to landlocked Pennsylvania. That first summer away from the beach, my new girlfriend Wendy and I went tubing on Pequea Creek. It wasn’t the toes-in-the-sand setting I was used to, but it was a blast in its own way. This 4th, Wendy and I went tubing again, this time as wife and wife. :)
A new chapter sometimes calls for a new happy place.
Where’s your summer happy place?