Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Saltaire Memories: Labor Day

Tom Lyon was a smart city kid. He seemed to know about everything. In Saltaire, he would sit down in front of the Saltaire Sweet Shope or on the dock and read a whole stack of daily newspapers. Sometimes he would fight with his sister Laurie about who would get the sports sections first and who would get the news sections.

Tom would come up with critiques of and pithy quotes from that morning's observations by Arthur Krock, or John Drebinger’s report of what happened last night with the Yankees. When we were kids, Tom must have picked out a thousand newspaper articles for us to read and talk about.

And the Yankees ... Tom could tell you what the Sporting News was saying about the latest Yankees streak, or how many home runs Babe Ruth hit at the Stadium in 1927.

At any rate, it was Labor Day, September 7, 1964. The annual awards ceremony was over, and people were starting to roll their wagons packed and ready to go down Broadway to the dock. In those days, the season pretty much ended at Labor Day.

Tom is sitting there in front of the Sweet Shoppe, and he says "you should read this story.”

It was an essay about Labor Day from that morning’s Times. I read it, and I figure I have read it again almost every Labor Day since. No great shakes, that essay. Tom wasn’t sentimental that way. His sentimentality had more of a Holden Caulfield edge to it.

But I read it because I think of Tom sitting there reading that paper, that day at the end of that summer.
There would be more summers for Tom. But not many. Nor for Laurie. I still think of Tom sitting there.

Then I think of the millions of stories over that vast expanse of time that Tom never got to read, that he never got to talk about, laugh about
, make sarcastic remarks about. I still think of Tom...

---JO'H




So for what it's worth: here is the article Tom told me to read:

_______________________________________
TOPICS

End of Summer

It's gone it now, the whole thing. That's all there is, there isn't any more. It seemed just a moment ago when, on a Memorial Day Beach the summer stretched ahead to a rockets a flight beyond infinity. Obviously this was not so. The seashell held to the ear that day sang a gay lyric based on sunshine, sparkling water -- and all the time in the world. Hold that shell today and it weeps with sadness and is dour with foreboding. Good-bye to the beach, which to all intents and purposes today is turned back to the gulls. Farewell to the clams and the driftwood fires, to the castles and the fishermen and the legend of the singing sand. This holds that to walk over it when the tide is right will compress it in such a way as to sound like a song. The tide was right that day the summer started, the result having a lilt like something composed by Meredith Wilson for 76 trombones. Today the tide is all wrong. Today is Labor Day and the end of summer. Good-bye.


Lake and Mountain

Farewell to the lake and to the mountain just behind it. Under a late May sky the water was deep blue and the mountain a brilliant green, and the scene cried for a painter to record it. Today there is something bleak about the sky, and an occasional dab of red and brown disfigures the green, like careless spatterwork. No artist would care to touch it today, now at the end of summer. Good-bye. Farewell to the trout at the bottom of the stream and that bass the bottom of the lake and to the loon that makes its home near where stream and lake join together. Back in May the call the old fellow made could be recorded as a cheerful salute to the season, although this could stretch the imagination somewhat. Today, there can be no question about the call. It is rude, sardonic, and it spells out its message -- you're going back where you came from, and good riddance.

The Winding Road

Farewell to the dirt roads which lead to picturesque hamlets and pretty, cared-for farms. Back at the end of May, the spirit was adventurous and it took no more than a touch of the wheel to leave the superhighway world and find a better one. A whole new country opened. Roads were found which followed the natural course of roads -- beside the natural course of streams -- the best of them not even on the wavering thin blue lines on the road maps. On Memorial Day it seemed right to plan an entire summer away from the highways, but good-bye to that. Farewell to lanes going through buttercup meadows, and the brooks lined with weeping willows, the lanes on which twice a day the herds of cows have the right of way. Good-bye to the road stand with box-top counter, where sweet corn is still warm from the sun and practically given away by a proprietor or honestly glad and to see you. Farewell to the country store. Of recent years these have sprung up everywhere, vending atmosphere along with antiques, but they are imitative, not real. The real ones are on the back roads which, starting in late May, went everywhere. Tonight, going home, they will lead but to the superhighway at the end of summer. Good-bye.

Farewell to It All.

Goodbye to the weekend, which never is quite long enough, of course, but is the next best thing to the official vacation. Farewell to tennis and golf and the rocking chair on the hotel porch and the hammock beneath the tree. In late May it was possible to itemize all the worthwhile books which would be read in that hammock, but today the fact must be faced that "War and Peace" has suffered its usual postponement until another summer. Farewell to the little carnival, set out for a week in the town's dusty lot -- about the only relic left of the great circus tradition. Farewell to watermelon, held in the hand and not on plates, and grilled chicken drumsticks, served minus forks, and peanut butter sandwiches seasoned with just the right pinch of fine white sand. Farewell to the summer. Late last May it seemed likely that even the office time clock would cooperate, by slowing its hands or stopping them altogether. That was just an illusion, so recognized now. Instead of stopping on the sunny hours, the hands of all clocks everywhere moved forward like lightning, to reach today. Good-bye.


New York Times
Septemer 7, 1964

BIG LABOR DAY ISSUE



Click on images to enlarge
1920's
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1954

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1964:




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Eugene Piper 1959


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1920's medals were awarded by Yacht Club


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LABOR DAY, 1946-1949 IN SALTAIRE: KODACHROME IMAGES BY THE LATE RICHARD GREER

















Pictures by Richard Greer
Pictures courtesy Sid Greer

(JO'H Ed. Note) : The promise of Saltaire from its very inception, to nurture “Healthy Happy Saltaire Youngsters” http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=Bungaliers was as much evidence in the post- World War II era as it is today. Kids here, kids there, kids everywhere.
Saltaire was never a resort where you went to get away from the kids—it was a place you went to live with the kids. And you never got to know just the kids: you got to know whole families. Bill Stillgebauer told us that his parents were close friends with the Greers, and Bill became friends with the Greers' kids, and grandkids and nieces and nephews. The Greers were cousins of the Glascocks who became good friends of the Stillgebauers, and so on. Growing up Saltaire, you knew people in the context of their families.
1950’s Mayor John Ludlow once said:
There is a word in our own language that I think has not been given due importance. The word is "sociability," which I'll take the liberty of terming "vocal, hospitable, friendliness." Sociability is friendliness of by word as well as by deed: it is when you enjoy having people in for supper equally as having supper at their house; when during a walk around the block you meet and have a friendly greeting from eight or ten people.Such is the type of life that we have at Saltaire. We are a small incorporated village of one hundred and ten cottages, a part of the Town of Islip,
---Mayor John Ludlow, 1954.

http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=polio

We are proud to introduce Richard Greer’s Labor Day pictures from 1946, 1947 and 1948 that show that sociability in context of a Village tradition carried on each year from the earliest years of the Village: the annual Labor Day races at the ball field and on the bay. Parents went down to the field to watch the kids run. And they got to do some running themselves—or at least jumping in potato sacks. The next day was on to the bay for the swimming races in the boat basin.

Then to watch the kids as they gore themselves, hands behind their backs, with blueberry pie, a tradition that goes back at least to the 1920’s in Saltaire, http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/2008/08/labor-day-in-saltaire.html

Finally, of course, came the great Labor Day awards ceremony at the Yacht Club. The Village turned out for what was Saltaire's version of the Academy Awards. The season's awards for sailing, swimming and track were awarded in a packed Yacht Club, topped off by the big awards: the Sailing trophies and "The Cup," a trophy given each year for the best kid in each particular class.

Greer's images capture a Village in an era of confidence: a Village that in the previous ten years had fought off the utter destruction of the Hurricane of 1938 http://saltairian.com/pages/history/1938/ocean-met-bay.html
http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=beleagured
http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=Joseph+Lynch
and then had seen its parents go off and fight and win the Big War.
http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=nancy+latham

48 -star American flags delineated the running course for the races at the field; red white and blue streamers hung on the Broadway fence.
And kids everywhere, and parents everywhere too: this was, after all, the earliest bloom of the Baby Boom. So thanks, Sid Greer, for saving your dad Richard's Kodachromes from that heady time: This was All American Saltaire at mid Century.
ALL PICTURES BY RICHARD GREER

CLICK ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE
THE LABOR DAY TRACK MEET, 1947



















Not many people remember, but there used to be a cinder track around the ball field, as seen on left. By the 1950's it was covered up, except for the northern end of the field between the right field foul line and the the fire house. The fire house was farther back than it is today. It was torture to walk on that part of the old track in bare feet: there were big, chunky cinders.
































Note: fire alarm gong on Broadway. In the early days, there were similar alarms in strategic locations throughout the village. They were manually operated: just hit 'em with a big hammer to summon help. There was no electricity or telephone service until the 1930's. See an earlier fire alarm here: http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=Fire+Alarms

Note here the clear view across tennis courts to houses on Marine Walk.























































Note in this picture: there used to be basketball backboards along the right field line, a double sided one shownher incenter filed, and another deep in center field.
The house in the background is on Pacific walk.







THE SWIMMING RACES AT THE BAY




The track meet was one day, the swimming meet the next.












These swimming pictures were taken in two different years, 1946 and 1948 .

Look closely: the old grey headed man in the scow on the right is the famous old bayman/hermit , Captain Baldwin. Kind of creepy to see him there. To follow his legend, click here: http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=Baldwin


















































THE PIE EATING CONTESTS:








There is a Saltaire promotional brochure from the 1920's that shows a line of kids along Bay Prom participating in a pie eating contest. http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/2008/08/labor-day-in-saltaire.html These 1948 by images by Robert Greer show the tradition was strong. See, for instance Hank Stillgebauer's images from 1957: http://saltaire38.blogspot.com/search?q=messiness The pie eating contests continued at lest through teh early 1960's. Why the stopped this this tradition is anyone's guess, but there is no reason why it cannot be reintroduced in 2010.









































THE CUP:

This was it. The ultimate; the Oscar; the top award for top kid in each goup. Real hardware that looked great on the mantle.

















THE REASON THEY DID ALL THIS:

We have lots more Greer photos from that era: beach scenes; sailing scenes, scenes with lots of people old timers may recall, and a series of pictures of a baseball game between Saltaire aind Pont of Woods at Point of Woods in 1950.

Trouble is, we have not received YOUR pictures yet.

send them to:

Monday, March 16, 2020

THE SALTAIRE POLIO EPIDEMIC OF 1954 IN MAYOR LUDLOW'S OWN WORDS


Editor’s note: the following is the complete text (in three parts) of a speech given by Mayor John Ludlow in the Autumn of 1954  to a civic group about the Polio epidemic of 1954 from his viewpoint as Mayor. This may be the only extensive contemporary account of one of the most significant events in Saltaire history, one that shaped a whole generation. The only editing is the headings, which we have added, the fact that we are breaking the speech into three parts. It was delivered as one speech. For notes on the provenance of the manuscript, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE





Part 1: “ Are the Polio Rumors True?”







By Mayor John Ludlow:







It is very nice to be with you tonight.

Mr.Werle, who, by the way is probably the smartest arbitrageur on the New York Stock Exchange, paid me a great complement by inviting me to speak here.

There is a word in our own language that I think has not been given due importance. The word is "sociability," which I'll take the liberty of terming "vocal, hospitable, friendliness." You must have much of it in this association or you would not be the success that you are. Sociability is friendliness of by word as well as by deed: it is when you enjoy having people in for supper equally as having supper at their house; when during a walk around the block you meet and have a friendly greeting from eight or ten people.

Such is the type of life that we have at Saltaire. We are a small incorporated village of one hundred and ten cottages, a part of the Town of Islip, to whom we contribute taxes yearly. We have our excellent water system, we have trash and garbage collection three times a week, we have a post office during the summer, we have a Yacht Club to which almost everybody belongs and which is the social center of the community. We have wide boardwalks and we have one of the finest bathing beaches in the world. Mothers let their children play without close supervision -- -- no child has ever drowned at Saltaire. We have a Director of Recreation with three assistants and a life guard. We have two large well equipped playgrounds and supervised classes with a membership of about one hundred children. And we have no public bars.

Into this Paradise for children came to the tragic disease of polio.

Upon my arrival at Saltaire on Friday night, August 6, women asked me "are the polio rumors true?"

I checked immediately with our Village doctor. He had treated no polio in the week he had been at Saltaire, but had been told that three and possibly four persons, one adult of 28 and three children had been found to have polio upon examination after their departure from Saltaire.

The symptoms of polio, according to our doctor, are a sore throat and a muscle pains, especially in the neck, sometimes accompanied by nausea. When the neck becomes practically rigid it is almost a sure sign of polio. However, no actual confirmation is possible without a spinal tap, and this must be done at a hospital. As the hospitals do not advise us, it is easy to see why we were not accurately informed at once.

At any event, the as the Mayor of Saltaire, the responsibility was mine.

A party at the Yacht Club was being held. I took the doctor there and explained to the people that I had just learned of the development of polio in several people who had left the island. I stated there would be no recreation classes for two weeks and no congregation of children would be allowed. I had the doctor tell the people the symptoms of polio and to urge that children have plenty of rest and no cold shock or violent exercise.

Precautionary measures were outlined in detail by letter the following day and sent to every resident. At their request 120 copies all this notice were also sent to the people of our easterly neighbor, Fair Harbor.

We reported to the County Health Commissioner. He had no reports of polio, but by contacting Meadowbrook Hospital he later confirmed one case.

There followed a subdued, apprehensive atmosphere. We had a water analysis made, shut off public drinking fountains, and ordered paper cups to be used at the Yacht Club and Soda Shop.

Sunday night in the early darkness a low siren sounded several times. As this normally signals the alarm for fire, the people ran out of their houses to be of help. I saw lights bobbing near our dock, and my heart sank. One of our nicest boys, a handsome 15-year-old, whose father in his day had been a famous runner at Notre Dame, had been under observation all day by the doctor. I knew this must be the Coast Guard boat to take the boy to the mainland. So it proved to be. The doctor told me the boy's neck was practically rigid, and we learned the next morning he had polio. That night I woke with a sore throat and an ache in my own neck and I learned later that the doctor also had slept poorly.


Continued tomorrow:



Tomorrow at Saltaire38: part two of the Ludlow speech: “The 1954 House of Needles.”

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Part II: The 1954 House of Needles


Editor’s note: the following is the second installment of the complete text (in three parts) of a speech given by Mayor John Ludlow in 1954 or 1955 to a civic group about the Polio epidemic of 1954 from his viewpoint as Mayor. This may be the only extensive contemporary account of one of the most significant events in Saltaire history, one that shaped a whole generation. The only editing is the headings, which we have added, the fact that we are breaking the speech into three parts. It was delivered as one speech. For notes on the provenance of the manuscript, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.




click image to enlarge



Part II: The 1954 House of Needles









by Mayor John Ludlow


Monday we reported our new case to the Commissioner and pleaded for gamma globulin. He promised to, and later advised us to prepare for inoculations Wednesday. A notice was posted immediately that all children below 15 and all pregnant women would be inoculated. The effect upon the morale of the people was electric. The thought that the children you love may become crippled for life is not pleasant. I myself have a boy of twenty-two, the Assistant Director of Recreation, and what with my concern over the health of the Village and my worry over his health, the following days were a somewhat dubious vacation.


Tuesday, Miss App, the medical supervisor for the Commissioner arrived and outlined the needs this for the inoculation program. We found her not only efficient but a very charming person.

We decided to use the Village Hall for the procedure, with three teams consisting of a doctor, a trained nurse, two trained helpers and a registrar within assistant for each team.

A wire was strung across the hall and this section was then divided into three cubicles by screens. Sheets were requisitioned and pinned over the wires and screens so that there was definite privacy, necessary for more than one reason. We used desks and tables, covered with blankets and sheets for the inoculations.



"...no mother hesitated for a moment to agree to my request for help."





I set out on my trusty bicycle to round up volunteers. Just remember, if you will, that no one is sure of how polio spreads and that an older person may be a potential carrier by association with children who may develop the disease. Having this in mind, I was very proud that no mother hesitated for a moment to agree to my request for her help.

We sent a private boat for Commissioner Rafle, Dr. Backer, three nurses on Wednesday morning and the inoculations started at 10:15 a.m. and continued until 1:15 p.m.



Benches were set out along the walk at the main entrance to the all area and a man stationed outside the door and gave each family a number. As this number was called the family and was admitted and the door shot so that the weeping and sometimes screaming children inside would not disturb too much those waiting their turn. Once inside each mother registered each child and he was weighed to determine how much gamma globulin to inject: i.e.: one CC per five pounds of weight with a maximum of a 20 cc per person.

I might say that’s a pretty hardy inoculation. A mother of , say, three children would take one child into the cubicle and women would shepherd the remaining two. After inoculation the child was led by a woman to the other side of the hall, given a lollipop, not only for his enjoyment, but to effectually block some of his crying, and was taken out the far door where additional women cared for him until his mother came until his mother completed her not too pleasant task.


Picture, if you will, two little girls of about six entering the cubicle, one tearfully, one serious but with almost a swagger. The latter emerged a minute later with a trace of a tear and just a suggestion of a strut. From the second cubicle came an agonizing scream "no, no, mommy not again.” Once during the morning a child let out such a high-pitched scream that it seemed like a fierce whistle. I learned later that even the attending doctor straightened up as thought startled.

Meanwhile, the cartons containing the packaged gamma globulin were being opened and the bottles arranged for easy handling and two women constantly washed the syringes for use in the inoculations.

At 1:15 p.m. the doctors took a break and the nurses had a light lunch at my home. Meanwhile, some mothers from Kismet appeared and pleaded for our help. The Commissioner, after lunch felt rested enough to tackle the added starters and by three o'clock the job was finished -- 183 persons were inoculated. Most of these had a two separate injections with a one refill for each needle. And that's really a lot of jabbing. The gamma is almost as thick as molasses and it takes considerable pressure to clear the needle.

There followed watchful waiting. The playgrounds were deserted for two days and most of the children limped around because of decidedly sore rear ends.


Tomorrow: part three of the Ludlow speech: “Tears rolled down his cheeks... “my granddaughter has polio”

Part III: Tears rolled down his cheeks... “my granddaughter has polio”

Editor’s note: the following is final section of a speech given by Mayor John Ludlow in 1954 or 1955 to a civic group about the Polio epidemic of 1954 from his viewpoint as Mayor. This may be the only extensive contemporary account of one of the most significant events in Saltaire history, one that shaped a whole generation. The only editing is the headings, which we have added, the fact that we are breaking the speech into three parts. It was delivered as one speech. For notes on the on the provenance of the manuscript, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.







Part III:

Saturday I had as my partner ex-. Mayor McManus, an expert Bridge player. His daughter appeared, talked with him, and we resumed our game. After one hand had been played, the ex-Mayor lay down the cards as tears rolled down his cheeks and he said in a choking voice "I’ve have bad news. My granddaughter has polio.” This was a 13-year-old girl who had been taken from Saltaire on Monday, had an inoculation in New Jersey on Tuesday and was proven indeed a polio case that Saturday.


We decided to have a short recreation class August 16 with the proviso that the children would definitely a get some rest each afternoon, and on August 30 we resumed full activities. During these days I kept thinking of St. Paul’s famous words “ faith, hope and charity and I must admit I did a little extra praying that we were taking the right action and that Saltaire had had its last case.

Meanwhile, several doctors told me that gamma globulin could not be considered really effective and that the only real answer to polio was the Salk vaccine, still in exploratory stage and at least two years away from confirmation.

Nevertheless, no further cases of polio developed at Saltaire. There were many cases of sore throats among the children in July and the doctors agreed many of these were probably mild cases of polio.

All of the Saltaire polio patients are making good progress but five are still hospitalized and at least three will need months of patient and constant therapy. It is in this field of therapy that the greatest progress has been made.

For reasons peculiar to myself I used to feel not overly warm towards the "March of Dimes." Having lived a little with the fear that fills in your heart when polio strikes I will never again failed to do my share to help those who so greatly help humanity.


John Ludlow, Fall, 1954
Mayor of Saltaire



Ed. notre: Thus concludes the Ludlow speech. The Ludlow speech and the polio epidemic were a lifetime ago. Please Post your comments, memories and reflections by clicking comments below.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Bill-Bob

The Poteats. They summered in Saltaire, the Poteats did, on Fire Island in the early 1950's. Their old man, Doctor Poteat was back from World War II where he was a surgeon for the Navy on an aircraft carrier. After the War,  Doc. Poteat  worked a hospital in Brooklyn for a few years. Those are the years that they summered in Saltaire. Billy and brother Bobby had a little boat in Saltaire.  It was a dinghy about the size of a tiny bathtub. And about as seaworthy. It was green, and the brothers painted the name "Bill-Bob"on the stern. 

Eventually, the Poteats would move back to their native South Carolina. After their last summer, they left the Bill-Bob on the beach of the Great South Bay. It stayed there for a year or two, as if waiting for their return. We just left it there on the shore. Seaweed, sand, crabs and water covered it and filled it. One spring when we came down after a long winter the Bill-Bob was gone. It washed out to sea, I guess. But for a couple of years, it had reminded us of friends we had shared wonderful summers with and wished that they would come back. Billy did come back, one day, in 2012. His Saltaire memories were as fresh as yesterday. All us Saltaire Ex-Pats remember the Poteats fondly.

The Bill-Bob:


JO'H


Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Saltaire Story

"That guy has everything."
I didn't say anything. I was just watching the sun starting to set.



"That guy has everything," he said for a second time.

Jack and I were standing at the bike rack in front of the Yacht Club, looking out on the bay. Jack was almost whispering as if he did not want “them” to hear.

The "guy" Jack was talking about was sailing his sailboat with his girlfriend about 100 yards out on the bay, so I doubt if they would have heard Jack unless he were shouting.



But it was quiet. Just a little bit of a breeze at the end of one of those perfect summer days.


"That guy has everything-- he lives in Saltaire, he has a sailboat, and sails with that girl."




Jack had spoken to  that girl a couple of times and she was really nice, but that was about it. He never learned a whole lot of social skills at the Catholic junior seminary that he went to for high school. And he definitely did not have a sailboat to take a good-looking girl out on the bay.

So the boat was sailing back and forth, back and forth. At first, it looked like they were practicing maneuvers for a sailboat race. But now with the sun setting things were slowing down. It looked like they were just quietly sailing back and forth. Like they had nowhere to go in the world. Nothing to do but sail together. They sailed a hundred yards west, turned around, sailed a hundred yards east.

Jack was just a visitor for a week or two in Saltaire that summer. Now that he had decided that he wasn't going to become a priest, he was trying to fit in. That was never easy for a new kid in Saltaire. He would carry an “old Goya” guitar around and sit on the beach or on the dock and play for anyone who would listen. I liked Jack and so did a lot of the other kids, but he never felt like he fit in. And he really wanted to. And he was really taken with that girl. From a distance.

The sailboat came back around and it crossed in front of the huge orange sun, which for a second was sitting on top of the horizon. They sailed past the sun, went on a ways and turned around. Every time they came back and passed in front of the sun, it was lower. Now the top of the mast was higher than the top of the sun.

It was a perfect scene.
It became so quiet that even Jack didn't say anything for a couple of minutes. Just one more "that guy has everything" after the sun was completely below the horizon. That's how the conversation ended. Just like it began: “That guy has everything.”

I never saw Jack again after that summer.

That was more than fifty years years ago.

I sometimes wonder: if I could travel back in time to that evening more than fifty  years ago, should I go back and tell Jack:

"Don't feel bad, Jack, that guy does not have everything. I knew that guy and that girl and I can tell you it is not going to last forever between them. It won't end up all sailing and beautiful sunsets and endless summers for them. Nothing's permanent."


No, on second thought, I would never tell Jack that. Jack might have believed me and run out on the dock and started shouting out to her: "Forget about him. He's not going to last. You are wasting your time with him. Come talk to me!"

I wouldn't want that.

That would ruin a perfect scene.








JOH

(first posted 4/17/08)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

SALTAIRE SECURITY


Don't you feel safer knowing this group was out protecting you?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Captain Frank: The Rumrunners Still Raced on the Bay Long After Prohibition Was Over

click image to enlarge


You can see why both of these ferries were originally built to be rumrunners. After Prohibition, they remained on the bay until the 1960's. The Artemis may still be running on one of the Finger Lakes today.

Captain Frank Mina tells the story below:

Fellow Saltairians,

This is the race that reputedly ended the era of slow and gentle crossings in the grand ferries of yesteryear. The year is 1948 and Captain Patterson has the Ocean Beach Ferry contract. The Zegels had taken Pat's route to Seaview while he was away at war but, in spite of laws that protected the jobs of those who served, Pat was content to take on Ocean Beach. What a good choice :-)

Patterson (foreground) races the Fire Island Miss (formerly "Vagabond") into OB while Snyde Zegel heads into Seaview on the Artemis" later renamed the "South Bay Courier". And therein lies yet another tale....

Capt. Frank


The era of the slower, and usually more elegantly appointed ferries -- many converted yachts, did not end with a particular race or even in a particular year. 1948 was pivotal for several reasons, most importantly Capt. Patterson was home from the war and back in the ferry business. It's not so much that there weren't a number of fast ferries (mostly rum-runners) in service before that time, but two other events occurred about the same time. The end of the war brought a steady increase in the number of passengers as well as homes especially the western part of Fire Island. The other factor was the sudden availability of surplus 63' Air-Sea Rescue boats like the Islander and the Belle, as well a huge supply of crated GM 6-71 and 6-110 Dieselsengines. The old slower boats were soon relegated to carrying freight or sold off the bay.
--Capt. Frank



JOH: Frank mentioned that some of the older ferries were converted yachts. Trivia question: What did the Ferryboat "Saltaire " have in common with other elegant Saltaire craft?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Track Meet on the Fourth of July

"Let me tell you how to win this race. You don't run. The key is, you just walk together, nice and slow. If you run, you will trip and fall."

Larry Lynch's father was telling Larry and me the secret to winning the three- legged race for nine-year-olds. It was at a Saltaire Fourth of July track meet in the field sometime in the 1950s.

“I won this race with a friend of mine when I was your age in the 1920s,” he said. "Just take your time, walk, and you guys will be able to walk clear into first place."

You gotta understand, Larry and I spent most summers running around like hyperactive wildcats as kids at Saltaire, so asking us to do anything nice and easy was asking the impossible. But we took a few practice steps with our legs tethered together with these huge, fat rubber bands. In fact, they were not rubber bands but cut up automobile inner tubes sliced crosswise.


They lined us up in the ball field, just like they do today, a straight course from one corner of the field towards the other.

“This is the same way they had it lined up when I was a kid. I know you guys can do it. Just walk together and you'll win.”

Now he was whispering to us so that the other entrants could not hear his secret “Remember, just walk. Nice and easy.”

There were maybe ten or twelve nine year-old boys in the village that summer, so that made for about five or six tandems.

We all lined up.

Bob Wright used to be the starter for a lot of the track and swimming meets. He had a starter’s pistol. He always seemed to wear white Bermuda shorts, white socks, loafers, and a navy shirt, and looked real official. And serious. Bob Wright didn't smile a lot when he was starting races.

Meanwhile everybody who was not in the race, which means just about every other kid in the Saltaire, and all the parents thereof, would be lined up along the sides of the course.

I am ready to go. Larry is ready to go. Once more from the sidelines: "remember what I told you. You will win easy. I did.”


At any rate, six pairs of boys, joined at their knee caps:

Bob Wight: "On you mark, get set,” and then the “BANG” of the pistol.

We start walking just like we were told. Nice and easy.

Five yards out, and there are four pair of kids ahead of us. Well ahead of us.

Just as I'm about to hit the panic button and shift to my natural sprint, I hear "you're doing fine boys you're doing fine.” “A fine last place," I am thinking, but then all of a sudden I notice kids ahead of us tripping all over each other. One pair tumbles to the ground in front of another oncoming pair who crash into them. Suddenly there's a pile of four boys on the ground.

But there was one other pair of kids still on their feet. They were maybe 15 yards in front of us, running briskly, in tandem. Doing just what we were told not to do.

But I stopped thinking about the guys in first place, because Larry and I were now carefully, methodically walking around a pile of four intertwined kids wriggling on the ground, laughing and trying to get up.

Now that we walked past them, I noticed the leaders up ahead were wildly out of sync, one guy's legs are going one way, the other guy’s the other. One kid is actually kind of flipped around, facing backwards. For a second, it looked like they were going around like a merry-go-round.

I noticed all that as Larry and I walked past them and we crossed over the finish line first.



Larry’s dad was jubilant. “You did it. Just like when I was a kid. Back in the ‘20’s.”

I think the three of us couldn’t stop grinning for about an hour.

But still, I couldn’t imagine time as far back as the “20’s” being part of the same village.

But that was back in the ‘50’s.




-JOH

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

 
 
 

                                                                      SURFIN O-BYE JOE
 
 
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water
 
 
No, this is not photo-shopped.  No, you are not having flashbacks.  Joe Scanlon surfing Maui 12/18.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Chris Wright

 
 
 
In Memory
 
Chris Wright 
 
1960-2018




Image may contain: 1 person, indoor


AN ODE TO A GREBE
By Cosmo Kipling

Of all them no good Dogfish,   
The finest man I knew
Was our team pitcher, Chris Wright,   
      He was ‘Ogre! Wee-Wah! Clarence!
   ‘You ugly old ogre, Clarence.’ 
So I’ll meet ’im later on
At the place where ’e is gone—
Where it’s an eternal Dogfish game.   
’E’ll be stealing bicycles,
Stealin’ drink and weed from poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Clarence!   
 
      Yes, Grebe! Grebe! Grebe!
   You Lazarushian-leather Ogre!   
   Though you mocked me, and played tricks on me, and stole my weed  
      By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
   You’re a better Grebe than I am, Clarence!