Tags Posts tagged with "Memories"


Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

It’s so easy to take each other for granted. Of course mom is going to drop everything at work, where she has an incredibly important job, and race to watch you play clarinet with your dad during a day-time concert because that’s what she does and that’s who she is.

And, of course, grandma is going to bring the entire family together for various holidays, welcoming us with hugs and kisses and ensuring that the house has the specific foods each of us needs for the days we share.

But these moments are not a given, any more than sunshine during a picnic or a last minute, life-saving reaction that avoids a traffic accident is.

Recently, my wife and I attended a service for my late mother-in-law. In a small ceremony at the cemetery, almost the entire extended family came.

My wife and I, our children and father-in-law arrived together over 90 minutes early. We sat in the car, waiting for everyone else to arrive and for the ceremony to begin. Other cars slowly glided past us, as other families and friends came to pay respects and to honor those whom they were fortunate enough to know but had lost.

Our children and I climbed out of the car and walked up and down the road, looking at the significant life-defining dates — when someone was born and when they died. We calculated how old each person was. A child died at the age of two in 1931, while a grandmother lived well into her 90’s.

Small raindrops started to fall, sending us scampering back into the car just before a sudden and surprisingly strong downpour.

My wife checked the forecast, which suggested that the rain would stop before the ceremony. Sure enough, 20 minutes before we had to get out of the car, the rain eased up and the sun peaked through the clouds, as the mixed weather served as a backdrop for moments of appreciation and an awareness of the keen loss.

We greeted other family members, who hugged us, shook our hands, or, in some cases, ignored us, carrying grudges or standing on principle for slights real or imagined long ago.

We saw an extended relative and her fiancée whom we hadn’t seen in person since their engagement. We congratulated them on their upcoming wedding, asked about the planning for the big day, and enjoyed the reality of a multi-year relationship transitioning into an upcoming marriage.

The officiant called everyone over, causing almost every other conversation to stop. After some somber words, he urged us to reflect on the person we were so fortunate to know and on the valuable time we shared.

After he expressed awe at the incredible long-term marriage between my father-in-law and mother-in-law, he asked if anyone wanted to speak. In a soft voice, my father-in-law celebrated the relationship he had with his wife, recalling the first time he met her and the bond they formed over 66 years of marriage.

When the officiant asked if anyone else wanted to speak, he turned to the grandchildren. Our son, who is the youngest grandchild and who gravitated towards his mother to offer his support, nodded.

He remembered the way his grandmother called him over whenever we arrived, smiling broadly and signaling with her index finger for him to come kiss her, which he and all the next generation readily did.

He also remembered how grandma, who was among the smallest people in any room, was always the cake cutter for birthdays. He described how her tiny arms worked their way through each cake, even frozen ice cream cakes, as she made sure everyone got a piece.

With each word, he reflected the love she gave to all her grandchildren back out into the world. In that moment, when he so eloquently captured his grandmother’s dedication to family, he made it clear that he didn’t take her for granted, any more than my wife and I took him for granted.

Without any preparation, he rose to the occasion, helping us see her through his grateful eyes.

There was no “of course” that day for grandma or for her grandchildren, just gratitude.

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

We are miles, three graduations and almost exactly five years removed from leaving the first house my wife and I bought.

As a close friend prepares to move into the first house he and his wife will own, I started to reflect on the way that first house served as a backdrop for such a seminal period in our family life.

As the temperatures have soared recently, I recalled how our children, who were born in Manhattan, reveled in the chance to run through their own sprinklers. They raced in and out of the water, laughing as their bare feet gripped the soggy, cool ground.

We moved into the house when our daughter had just turned five. On one of her first walks around the neighborhood, she brought back an inchworm on her finger. Eager to share the magic of that tiny life with her mom, she carried it all the way back inside our house, where it disappeared into our steps moments after its arrival.

In the backyard, a perfect climbing tree called to our children. Both of them displayed considerable prowess in scaling that tree towards the top, reaching over 15 feet above us. Their grandparents were in awe of their climbing skills and a bit unnerved by the heights they reached.

Our son and daughter shared a blue swing set. At the top of a small rock climbing wall, they sat on a board sheltered from the sun and rain by a triangular blue cloth. There, they enjoyed ice cream and a few moments in the shade.

On the lawn, we and our children played kickball with their friends and relatives, tossed around a baseball and softball, and played games like Kan Jam.

The seasons each had their defining characteristics. In the spring, a bush by our driveway announced the approaching warm weather with a celebration of white flowers.

Amid a few memorable hurricanes, including the vicious Sandy, we sought shelter in our protected basement, where we slept on mattresses we lugged downstairs, away from howling winds and driving rain. Fortunately, downed trees which cut power for nine days and reduced the temperature inside to 50 degrees didn’t hit our house.

With one season moving both slowly and rapidly into the next, we watched in wonder as our children grew up, bringing hard-earned athletic trophies home and filling the walls with the sound of music that became increasingly melodic and precise.

Family members pulled up to our steep driveway, bringing carved pumpkins, presents and support for our children.

At the end of their treks around the neighborhood during Halloween, our son and daughter emptied enormous pillowcases or bags of candy onto our living room floor, lining up and trading the kind of candy haul that would have made Willy Wonka proud.

Often as my birthday approached, my wife and I spent more time than we probably should have making soft chocolate chip cookies.

During one particularly difficult summer, I developed my first kidney stone. Not wanting to wake anyone, I sought solace in the basement, where I contorted my body into positions on the same floor where we found shelter amid the hurricanes. In the middle of the night, my daughter came down and stood on my back, providing some relief.

Like its occupants, the house wasn’t perfect, with water that took a while to heat at times, bulbs that needed replacing, and appliances that didn’t always work.

And yet, that first house served as the launching pad for new days, dreams and friendships. My wife and I greeted our children’s friends and their parents, who sometimes stopped by for barbecues or to drop something off before the next activity.

As my friend prepares to enter the next phase of his life, I hope the house he shares with his wife bears witness to excitement and adventures that lay ahead, one magical inchworm at a time.

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Had he lived, my brother would have been 95 this week. As it happened, he barely made it to 64 before dying of heart problems. I barely knew him, there being such an age gap and with no siblings between us, and he still disquiets me, like an unfinished story. Perhaps that’s because, by the time I could have gotten to know him, he was gone, gone from the house by the time I was six and from my life when I could have started to pay attention.

I have a number of memories about him, of course. In his 20s, he was quite good-looking, with thick, wavy blond hair and big dark brown eyes, a straight nose and strong chin. I was with him one day when a young woman my family knew gave him a piece of paper with her phone number on it and asked him to call, so I knew he wasn’t just good-looking to me.

My brother also personified great adventure. He rode a motorcycle, flew a twin-engine airplane in the days when plane flight was somehow romantic but becoming commonplace, and he owned a car, a 1948 Plymouth, which was unusual for someone who lived in the midst of New York City. He would drive the family back and forth to my grandfather’s farm in the Catskills and also to get some air along the outer borough highways on hot, sticky summer days. I always sat in the front seat because otherwise, I would throw up from the motion of the car. 

He loved cars and could fix whatever was malfunctioning under the hood. In fact, he loved anything mechanical and might frequently be found tinkering with motors. He also would talk endlessly about the physics of propulsion, telling my friends and me more than we wanted to know. 

I don’t remember his job title, but he had a major role in developing Checker cabs.

For those who are too young to remember them, Checker cabs were big, yellow automobiles with jump seats in the back floor that could unfold and transport a party of five plus one passenger in the front anywhere in the City. 

The real genius of the cab was its modular construction. Until then, if a taxi was in a fender-bender, not an uncommon occurrence in urban heavy traffic, it was off the road being repaired for at least two days. After all, no one wanted to hail a crumpled taxi, and so there was substantial lost revenue. But my brother’s work on the idea of manufacturing fenders that could pop off the body of the cab and be replaced with another in half an hour was considered a major breakthrough for the industry. I believe he collected a small royalty for many years.

There is a photograph of my brother pushing me on a swing. I look to be about three years old. I have no memory of that, but I do well remember his teaching me to shoot a .22 rifle in a country field near my grandfather’s farm and his enthusiasm when I was able to hit the can and knock it off the fence. In my excitement, I turned back to look at him, continuing to point the rifle straight ahead, only now it pointed at him. I guess the incident remains with me for his look of distress and panicked directive to turn back around.

My brother attended my graduation from college, and I was puzzled by his show of pride. I never knew that I was anything growing up but a great distraction as I required our parents’ attention and contaminated the chemicals in his photography dark room. But I do remember that a couple of my classmates asked me how old he was.

We lived in Yorkville, a German section of NYC, and he loved wiener schnitzel with spaetzle and red cabbage. Many years later, I traveled into the City one day to meet him for dinner, and it was at just such a meal that we had one of our first meaningful conversations in a restaurant on East 86th Street and Third Avenue just before he died.

Season 1, Episode 13 of 'The Sopranos'

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Having been exposed to the pleasure of streaming movies on my “smart” television, I now look for good stories and have caught up with “The Sopranos.” I well remember how popular the series was, running from Jan. 10, 1999, to June 10, 2007, winning all kinds of awards and addicting millions with its 86 episodes. Somehow I never caught up with the drama, but now, thanks to HBOMax, I have turned the family room into a nightly theater and watch as Tony Soprano tries to balance his work “family” and his biological family responsibilities, thanks to the help of an Italian-American woman psychiatrist. 

At the end of the latest installment, Tony, his wife Carmela and his daughter and son are driving at night when they are deluged by a wild rainstorm. Unable to see the road ahead, and with all of them feeling in peril, Tony parks and ushers his family into an Italian restaurant nearby. There, despite the loss of electricity, the proprietor cooks a marvelous pasta dinner for them, which they finally calm down and eat by candlelight, huddled together at a table in the warm and dry dining room. As he is appreciating the spaghetti on his fork, Tony looks up and says to his children something like, “When you think back on your childhood, it will be scenes like this that you will remember,” while the camera fades out.

That got me thinking. Can I recall such scenes from my childhood, when being with my family in a safe place was so comforting?

One of the first such memories for me was of an intense rainstorm in the Catskill Mountains. I was perhaps 5 or 6 and with my mother and sister in a dilapidated cabin, whose roof leaked ominously. After my mother put pails under the leaks, she realized I was frightened. “Just wait,” she said with a smile, “This storm has brought us pancakes.” With that, she took out a large frying pan from the cupboard, mixed together flour, eggs and milk, poured Hi-Hat peanut oil (the popular brand then) into the pan, and started cooking the mixture, as thunder cracked overhead. Almost immediately, the irresistible smell of the pancakes started to fill the rustic room. 

My mother dabbed the extra oil from the dollar-sized pancakes at the stove, put them on a platter on the kitchen table, brought out a bottle of maple syrup, and my sister and I started to eat ravenously. Soon, my mother joined us at the table, and despite the frequent bolts of lightning I could see through the windows behind her head, and the dripping water in the buckets, I felt warm and safe.

The only trouble with that memory: every time there is a heavy rain, I get the urge for pancakes.

I asked my middle son if he had such a memory, and he remembered when we were out in the Sound in our 22-foot Pearson Ensign day sailboat, and the wind and seas suddenly picked up. We had been enjoying a sunny, peaceful sail near New Haven harbor, my husband and three sons and I, sprawled out in the big cockpit, when the unexpected shift in weather occurred. 

With the waves towering around us, we pulled down the sail, put the outboard motor at the stern on high speed, and made for the harbor. My husband, at the tiller, gave each of us a task. My sons were to bail out the water that was flooding the cockpit with every crashing wave, and I was to sit on top of the motor to try and keep it in the water every time a wave pushed us up.

Needless to say, it was a harrowing ride until we finally reached shore and tied up at the marina, onlookers clapping. We left the boat and were thrilled to be on the sand. Drenched as we were, we walked the short distance to the harborside restaurant, Chart House and, laughing by then, had one of the best meals of our lives. 

By the way, if you, too, missed “The Sopranos” the first time around, I heartily recommend it.

Pixabay photos

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Even as we study evolution, we ourselves evolve over time. No, we don’t learn to fly or to breathe underwater. We change over the decades, in part because of social pressure and in part because, well, our cells, organs and experiences align to make us different decadal versions of ourselves. With that in mind, I’d like to share some snapshots from my life.

First decade:

Likes: I adored my parents (most of the time). I also appreciated the opportunity to make new friends and to play any game that involved chasing a ball.

Dislikes: long distances running, homework, dark nights, losing electricity, sitting in the middle of a station wagon with my legs cramped under me. 

Favorite food: pizza and grilled cheese with ketchup. It’s not for everyone, but I loved it.

Favorite sport to play: basketball.

Favorite sport to watch: baseball.

Biggest worry: finding parents.

Second decade:

Likes: time with friends, the freedom to drive somewhere on my own (later in the decade, of course).

Dislikes: tough teachers eager to teach me too many lessons, rejections from friends, and too many questions from parents. Waiting for parents to pick me up (until I could drive). Developing an intolerance to dairy, which removed pizza, ice cream and mac and cheese from food options.

Favorite food: Good Steer burger supremes with a root beer and ballpark hot dogs.

Favorite sport to play: baseball

Favorite sport to watch: baseball.

Biggest worry: Losing parents. Getting into college.

Third decade

Likes: getting a job where someone not only paid me to do something I wasn’t sure I was qualified to do, but also sent me on planes to do it. Spending time with friends. Going on vacations with friends and family.

Dislikes: working on weekends and holidays. Going on horrible dates with people who were a little too eager to see fights where teeth got knocked out during hockey games. Then again, some of those unsuccessful dates still bring a smile to my face.

Favorite food: Thai food at a restaurant on the Upper East Side.

Favorite sport to play: volleyball.

Favorite sport to watch: baseball.

Biggest worry: Finding enough time to exercise.

Fourth decade:

Likes: enjoying the miraculous connection that comes from meeting girlfriend/wife. Listening to my wife laugh and seeing her smile. Holding my son and daughter and feeling them relax enough to go to sleep.

Dislikes: trying to figure out how to handle when children got sick, needing something we didn’t have, and packing enough stuff in the diaper bag and the car for needy children.

Favorite food: Who tastes food at this point? We inhaled it in between picking up the food the kids spilled on the floor or in the car.

Favorite sport to play: softball in Central Park.

Favorite sport to watch: my daughter’s active and exciting volleyball matches and my son’s soccer games. I knew nothing about soccer, so I could just be a supportive father and fan without offering unwelcome and unhelpful advice.

Biggest worry: How to keep kids healthy.

Fifth decade:

Likes: holidays, vacations and not needing to stand over the kids when they got too close to the water. Hooray for independent swimming.

Dislikes: driving everywhere with kids and their friends who made the car stink so badly at times that I opened windows in freezing temperatures. Watching kids disappear into their cell phones.

Favorite food: fresh fish on vacations.

Favorite sport to play: I barely played anything. I coached kids and bobbed and weaved between the entitled requests from parents.

Favorite sport to watch: daughter’s volleyball and son’s baseball.

Biggest worry: helping steer kids in the right direction.

Sixth decade:

Likes: time with family and friends, days when pain in my hip stays the same or, rarely, is less than the day before.

Dislikes: not knowing how to handle important technology, an awareness that I’m older than my friend’s parents were when I was growing up, and I thought they were old.

Favorite food: anything that doesn’t keep me up at night.

Favorite sport to play: baseball or anything that doesn’t cause pain the next day.

Favorite sport to watch: baseball.

Biggest worry: the speed at which each day, month and year passes. The prevalence of anger for its own sake and the health of the planet our children are inheriting.

Lucas Films

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

When times are tough, we can use nostalgia as a bittersweet salve.

Nostalgia serves as both a source of comfort, allowing us to step out of our current situations, while also providing a longing for something that may be impossible to find or rediscover.

To that end, I’d like to share a nostalgic and a not nostalgic list.

— Being out of touch. I know that may seem odd, particularly for someone whose job involves keeping people in touch with information, but I miss the days when people couldn’t find me. I remember getting a beeper for the first time and thinking this was a slippery slope to nonstop accountability.

— Snow days. In the most intense heat of the summer, it’s easy to become nostalgic for the unplanned gift of a day off from school and, way back when, for some time at home with my parents. The night before a snow day, I would go to a particular window in the backyard, turn on the light and assess the size of the snowflakes. If they were too big, the temperature was likely far too warm and the snow would likely turn into rain. Smaller and super numerous snowflakes, like a colony of termites building a home, could work their magic overnight, causing the trees to bend in front of my window.

— Cultural excitement. We are so divided on so many issues these days, but I miss the general excitement that comes from blockbuster movies. I remember the experience of seeing the movie “Star Wars” in a packed theater and the excited conversation from people as the John Williams music sent them home happy.

— The meaningful sitcom. “M*A*S*H” somehow combined humor and drama, blending comedy with intense situations in an army hospital in the Korean War. The sitcom “Mom,” which deals with addiction, friendship, familial issues and loss, brought the same impressive acting to difficult situations softened by humor.

— Eating less healthy food. I miss the ability to eat a burger, fries and onion rings at one of my favorite restaurants (RIP The Good Steer) without having that food interrupt my sleep, create unfortunate digestive experiences or contribute to an expanding girth.

— Letting our dog roam the neighborhood. Our current dog is rarely off his leash. Decades ago, we’d ask our dog if he wanted to go out, he’d run to the door and return to play when he heard us outside or to have his evening meal and play at night. He walked himself.

— My dad. My father had the uncanny ability to make me laugh, even and especially when I was frustrated. Seeing my sour face, he’d come toward me in a battle of wills he knew he’d win. He’d make a strange face or do something unpredictable, forcing me to smile despite myself.

Okay, so, how about a few things for which I am not nostalgic.

— The rear-facing seat of a station wagon. The seat often didn’t have much room, because we also packed bags and suitcases back there, and was facing the wrong way, which meant that nausea, particularly on tight turns, was a constant companion.

— The Yankees around 1990. With a respectful nod to Don Mattingly, those teams were pretty close to unwatchable. 

— Marching band practice. I loved so many parts of my musical upbringing, but marching band doesn’t make the list. We sweat for hours on hot fields. During performances, our heavy, unflattering uniforms trapped heat and felt stiffer than denim that had dried too quickly.

— Going to the airport to change tickets. Awful as today’s airline experiences are, we drove to the airport and waited in line to change tickets. Today, we can go online, where systems are busy and the airlines tells us to try back later.

— Waiting for carpools. To borrow from J.D. Salinger and William Golding, waiting for exhausted parents to pick up a collection of teenagers dripping with Holden Caulfield angst was akin to living through a sociological “Lord of the Flies” experiment.

My family has become archeologists in our own home. After 12 years of collecting artwork from the kids’ classes in school, saving report cards and filing away binders from earlier grades, we are sifting through all that material, jettisoning or recycling what we don’t need.

Some of the finds are so remarkable that they stop us in our sorting tracks. My high school daughter isn’t much of a morning person. She often prefers short sounds or gestures in the car on the way to school, rather than actual conversations that might require her to form words.

As we were going through a pile of material, we found a note from her nursery school teacher. She described a charming little girl who often takes a while to get going each morning. That description is so apt today that we realized how much of people’s patterns and personalities form early in life.

Then, sorting further, we found papers from her spectacular first-grade teacher. A young woman with a soft voice and a determined style, her teacher brought out the best in our daughter, even early in the morning.

Our daughter kept a diary in that class, in which she shared stories about the family’s weekend activities. Clearly, her brother was jealous of that writing, as we also found a diary from him in which he thanks her for creating a similar book for him to record his experiences. He shared his thoughts from the weekend, and the rest of the family readily wrote back to him.

His sister also kept handwritten notes from her first-grade teacher. The letters are all clear and distinct, and offer a positive and supportive tone. Her teacher wrote to her, without talking down to her. What a wonderful role model. This teacher, through form and content, offered a ray of sunshine to our daughter even then, which was probably why we kept the papers.

These notes today take on a different meaning for us, as the teacher succumbed to cancer at a young age just a few years after our daughter had the privilege of being in her class. Our daughter was recently in a high school English class in which her first-grade teacher’s husband served as a part-time instructor. She shared some of these notes with him. He was delighted to take them home to his daughter, who was a toddler when
her mother died. His daughter has particularly appreciated seeing her mother’s handwriting and feeling an indirect connection to the encouraging words she offered.

We have also sorted through dozens — OK, hundreds — of pictures that have transported us to earlier memories. We have a photo of our 1-year old son standing on the warning track at the old Yankee Stadium, bunched up in a winter coat on a December day.

We also found numerous pictures of our son on baseball fields of his own, surrounded by younger versions of teammates who have stuck with him through the years, as well as of friends who have gone their separate ways — or have pursued other sports.

Amid all the trophies from sports teams, we discovered certificates indicating that one or both of our children had been successful lunch helpers.

We have unearthed old VHS tapes of movies we watched numerous times as a family, including a few Disney classics and a surprisingly amusing Barbie version of “The Princess and the Pauper.”

In addition to sending us down memory lane, sorting through all the accumulated clutter has made the house seem so much larger, giving us room to add modern memories and memorabilia to our collection.

When I think of my dad, I am reminded almost immediately of his loving nature and his playfulness. Now many dads I have met behave lovingly toward their families, so that is not what set mine apart. It was the other half of my description: His instant readiness to play and his aptitude for making up games on the spot.

My dad was an ambitious businessman, and he worked long hours every week. But Sundays were his day to relax and his unconstrained self would emerge. No wonder Sundays were my favorite day. He would begin the morning by getting up somewhere before 6 a.m., and start rustling around in the kitchen. The son of a farmer, he got up early all his childhood, and just because he moved to the city in his teens he wasn’t about to change the diurnal cycle that had been hardwired into him.

He was one of nine children and referred to himself when he was growing up as “Middle Child.” To hear his siblings tell of him, he was the one who routinely organized the pack into daily games in between their farm and school chores. Isolated on a large farm from other children and certainly without any municipal playgrounds in their lives, they created their own fun. That skill served him well not only for us, his children, but for the entire neighborhood. He was the undisputed Pied Piper wherever we were on any given Sunday.

Sundays belonged to my mother. My dad made sure of that. He would concoct a huge breakfast that was never the same from one week to the next. Into a dozen eggs, he would toss whatever leftovers he could find from the fridge, cook the mixture slowly with generous amounts of onions and other veggies and “mystery spices” and present the masterpiece to the salivating family gathered around the kitchen table. I always tried to sleep in on Sundays, but the marvelous smells that filled the apartment unfailingly coaxed me out of bed. Only my mother was impervious and slept through the ruckus of our trying to identify the ingredients as we ate.

My dad would then take us out to the park — Central Park that is — and we would roam over hills and dells, always yodeling in the many tunnels along the pathways. The echoes were hugely satisfying. He would set a rock on top of a boulder, give us each five small stones, and ask us to knock the rock off the boulder from 10 paces.

We’d have a vague destination within the park each Sunday, anywhere from the carousel to the rowboat lake, to Shakespeare Garden to Sheep Meadow with its multitude of baseball games in progress. He was good at pitching horseshoes, and as we strolled by the quoits section the men would offer him a turn. If we had thought to bring a basketball, we might shoot some baskets on the courts.

When the weather was bad, we would wander through the Metropolitan Museum.

Wherever we went, regulars in the park usually recognized us because my younger sister had Down syndrome, a condition that was almost never seen in public places. We stood out, I guess, and my sister, who loved to watch the baseball games and came to know some of the adult players by name, would cheer loudly with each solid hit.

As the day wore on, my dad would buy a box of Cracker Jacks from a park vendor and we would share the contents. By the end of the afternoon, we would head to a predetermined grove of trees where my mother would be waiting on a blanket with supper. I remember how happy my parents were to see each other — you would have thought they had been separated for weeks. Maybe it was just the prospect of some homemade dinner that sealed the day with joy for all of us.

Cedar Beach file photo

By Madeleine Emilia Borg

I have a very hard time saying goodbye. It becomes particularly apparent when something that has been there your whole life as a constant reminder that things are as they should be, suddenly one day is snatched away from you. Somewhere I have known that it can’t always go on this way. That this will also have to come to an end. Still, once it occurs, it is no less devastating.

It’s truly amazing to have had a place to return during the summertime. Loving arms that have welcomed me and a bed to sleep in, its worn lace spread getting thrown off every single night because of the nearly unbearable heat. And as soon as I had the light on, all the bugs ended up in the book I was reading. Almost always that book was borrowed from the Port Jefferson Free Library. Despite the various little critters, I would never trade those nights and days for anything in the world.

The Beach House, hidden away in Miller Place, Long Island and the people I’ve shared my experiences with there own a piece of my heart. With its typical northeastern faded gray shingles, the black roof one can crawl onto out of almost every room upstairs and the dreamy view all the way to Connecticut, where the fire works during Fourth of July light up the horizon as if it is burning. And for the first time in my life I won’t be able to visit it again. Because sometimes even old houses at New York’s end that have served as second homes must be emptied of all memories and sold to another family who can harvest the same pleasures and joys from it as much as its past cherishing owners.

The winding gravel path up from the road where the trash cabinet stands, its carved out blue whales on both doors and the sign in the tree with the black painted letters “Henry’s Place”, indicating that a home lurks beyond all the overgrown lush greenery.

The barefoot schlepp from the splintery board walk bridge up the steep slope, when the soles of our feet are numb after stepping around on tiny rocks laid scattered all over the dazzling white beach, but which we’ve always called pebbles and therefore they feel somewhat kinder than ordinary stone.

The outdoor shower that stills smells so much of cedar wood and security although it is over 23 years old. When I let the tepid water sprinkle down over my sun flushed shoulders it doesn’t hurt even a bit.

Below the hill where the magnificent deer family usually observes us through the screen window in the kitchen as we prepare for dinner making a salad. Slicing satiny tomatoes, chopping onions and carving out avocados that we’ve carefully selected at Jimmy’s down the road. He always sneaks butterscotch and sour watermelon lollipops into the grocery bags.

Having trouble falling asleep and the feeling of time standing completely still, while impatiently awaiting the next morning when I’ll hear the much anticipated sound of car doors opening and the rest of my favorite people. Uncles and aunts and cousins I call siblings will come up the driveway with smiles bigger than their faces. We’ll be racing down the stairs, the aching stir pounding under my rib cage.

Freshly caught seven-dollar lobsters from the little fish store that Nana brings in brown paper bags, the ones we dip into melted butter for our own version of a Swedish crayfish party. My cousins and I squeal from the carpet stairs in enchantment mingled with terror as we sit and watch how she puts them in the big black boiling pot, one by one. Afterwards my brother throws the remains to the seagulls after we gingerly go down to the water and rinse off. He really should get into baseball, someone says and we stop and grill marshmallows until we need to find our way back with a flashlight.

When my younger cousin and I as eight- and 10-year-olds invade our grandparent’s closets, smear on all the makeup we can find, attach the loose fitting garments with sparkly hair clips and wobble down the long stairs in way too high heels, feeling them slightly chafe but it doesn’t really matter because we hear everyone clapping and cheering us on from below.

Thirty-one years ago, my family purchased a beach home in Miller Place. It became a haven and gathering place for three generations of families and friends. It was a place of endless parties, a place for recuperation and healing. Located on four acres of land plus beachfront property, with unobstructed views of the Long Island Sound, it was truly a place of sanctuary back in the day, when Miller Place was full of sod fields, not strip malls and homes … but people get old, families and friends drift apart and life takes us all on different paths. Very sad to have given it up … but sometimes letting go breathes new life into all. My 21-year-old niece, Madeleine, who grew up in Sweden, spent the last 18 summers at the beach house with us. These are her memories. — Paul Singman

Early, calm crossword puzzle breakfasts with Poppy on the porch when the air is still clean and pure, only a few motor boat’s distant soothing hum. I make a sesame bagel with salmon and cream cheese, he opts for a bowl of cereal. And so we sit and listen to exactly nothing and just enjoy each other’s presence.

The few bright blue hydrangea bushes that survived the fire we never mention, where I pass the house next door and the contrasting reality looming between the bamboo shoots. Nana planted new ones adjacent to the facade later on, which quickly morphed into something jungle-like. It just grows bigger every year.

The attic holding Mom’s poufy wedding dress, a sandbox shaped like a giant turtle, my great uncle’s trumpet played in grand symphony orchestras, black and white photographs neatly tucked into worn heavy albums with burgundy spines and travel diaries from the sixties.

The huge and frayed weather polished log which fits my little brother and I perfectly in our daily occupations of playing shop and bakery, or reclining on each of its curved sides while trying not to spill our Animal Crackers and cheese sticks in the sand. Nana comes over sometimes to buy a lemon meringue pie and some rolls, or she’s looking for a new gown she can wear to the imaginary ball that very evening. We always have something just right to offer.

During an unusually dramatic and moist storm, the outdoor furniture with blue and white striped cushions blowing off along the corner of the house, lightning strikes down the chimney and dances for a few seconds over the glossy parquet living room floor.

Lazy evenings after a shower when my mother wraps me in a fluffy bathrobe and I clamber up on Nana’s unusually high raised bed. Stacked over bricks overlooking the complete paradise we find ourselves in, we start reading in the mellow comfort of each other’s camaraderie. My best friend. Earlier I left a note that ceremoniously invited her to this particular activity and would like it to continue forever.

The squirrel that gets in through a broken screen at the height of a pine tree, running across the fireplace, leaving adorable sooty paw prints in the sink and in the light purple bathtub which always tends to be filled with foam of lavender and violets, fittingly enough.

The dusty ceiling fan I stand straight beneath, closing my eyes just to breathe in the familiar salt breeze and coconut scent of Coppertone sunscreen which we continue to use even though all of us have grown up, even the smallest ones.

The back den with its sugary wood scent and photo collage of everyone of us from all times and places spread across the entire wall, Every time I look I see something new.

Short adventure walks that turn into running after we discover a vacant diving dock and quickly swim over only to throw oursleves in and scramble back up for hours at a time.

The wine bottle we manage to steal from the liquor cabinet and share with some we’d met the other day at McNulty’s ice cream parlor. Now sitting out among the dunes at the rotunda where we keep the umbrellas and swimming noodles I talk fervently to everyone except the person who’s mouth I’d like to graze with my own but I never dare to.

The bursting cotton candy sky, never ceasing to stun its audience, soon shifting into thick endless navy sprinkled with glowing dots. I look up at them from a swing in the sprawling storybook tree protecting a spot of the otherwise yellowed, prickly lawn. Crickets whose melodies slowly fill the night among the fireflies that we vainly try to capture in glass jars with holes in them.

The grand, annual birthday party in the middle of July that seems to get more stifling the older I get. Guests pouring in from all over the country, people I barely know but like already kiss both my cheeks and take my hand in theirs. Roaring laughter and animated gestures in a flurry of pastel cake frosting and white linen and without much blood involved, we’re still the world’s biggest family and I love each and every one of them.

And finally. The initial, delicious chills finding their way along my spine as I try not to slip getting into that remarkable ocean. All kinds of colors, textures and creatures emerge from underneath as quickly as they vanish and I’ll always be a mermaid here. Inching further in, I hear someone count to three and suddenly I’m completely underneath even though I’d demonstratively spun my hair up in a bun earlier to catch as many freckles as possible. I guess this is what heaven feels like. As I loosen the elastic from my head, I let myself float up slowly, opening my eyes to the glittering murky light and greeting a sun burning my forehead in a way that is only divine.

Goodbye beautiful house, you will be dearly missed.