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)

Friday, June 27, 2008

THE RETURN OF THE MCMANI

THEY WERE ONE OF THE OLDEST SALTAIRE FAMILIES.

THEY WERE ONE OF THE BIGGEST OF THE SALTAIRE CLANS.

THE MCMANI WERE AMONG THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTORS TO SALTAIRE HISTORY, GOVERNMENT, PERSONALITY, FRIENDSHIP AND WELL BEING.

THEY HELPED SHAPE SALTAIRE INTO THE BEST OF WHAT IT WAS AND STILL IS.

AFTER FLORENCE PASSED AWAY THERE WAS A VOID, BOTH FOR SALTAIRE AND FOR THE MCMANUS CLAN.

BUT ALL THAT WILL CHANGE- CHANGE UTTERLY AS WE HAVE RECONTACTED THE CLAN AND THEY PROMISE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ALL OF US AT SALTAIRE38.BLOGSPOT.COM


WELCOME BACK MCMANI


HERE ARE THREE POSTS: POSTS: FIRST FROM DIANE, THEN FROM RICHARD, THEN FROM STEVE:
DIANE McMANUS WRITES:
On 6/28/08, Diane McManus <dpmcmanus50@yahoo.com> wrote:
Hi all--The Saltaire blog is great--cool pix and a gold mine of memories! Thanks, Jim for doing this! And thanks, Pat, for alerting us to it! I too see Saltaire as a kind of home. I remember a quote from Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (can't remember which novel it was in). Clea asks the old sailor Scobie, "Do you miss the sea?" And he says, "Every night I put to sea in my dreams." I always somehow connected that sentiment to my feelings about Saltaire.I have a hard time narrowing down a single story...Below is my contribution...Jim, feel free to edit if too long!good memories to all...Diane***Coming homeI'm another of Rich's younger sibs--second of the three sisters.It's hard to pick out any ONE memory because there are so many to choose from... This more a collage of memories, in no particular order:--Saturday night dances at the Yacht Club w/ kids bunny hopping out at the appointed time so adults could have some adult time (and we won't ask what they did with that time, heh heh!)--Watching the ferries come in and seeing people get off still wearing their "inland" clothes instead of swimsuits and bare feet--Eating ice cream on the dock and checking out the sailboat races... I actually got to be a crew member in one... can't remember the details, but as with Rich's story, I think I was a last-minute thing... someone said, "you want to join a crew?" and I thought "why not?" The boat I was in won, but I remember very few details about this--my goal was to stay out of the way, enjoy the trip, and do whatever the skipper told me to do. I can't say I contributed to the win, but perhaps I was a lucky charm or something.--After leaving the "classes" as the recreation program was called when we were kids, one day I took off with Deedee O'Shea--just the two of us... and spent the day at her place... just hanging out, making cookies with her, nothing too intense, just fun friend stuff, but I learned that my family was getting more and more worried because they didn't know where I was.--Charge accounts at the Saltaire market and candy store that didn't involve plastic cards--Hours on the beach with extended family, sometimes taking a dip, sometimes reading, sometimes talking....--Walking with Mom and Aunt Dot (Standard) to Ocean Beach--we had a wonderful time shopping and having lunch... then it started to rain... hard... so our trip back was by lateral ferry. Uncle John met us with rain jackets. (I forget how we contacted him... this was before cell phones. Maybe a stray gull?)--Speaking of rain, who can forget that sailing picnic (I seem to remember 1965)... scarcely any wind going out, lots of running aground until we finally reached Robert Moses State Park (was it called that at the time? I forget). The weather started to turn ugly as we headed back, and it was all we could do to hold on while the boat heeled so sharply that I thought we'd spill into the water... We made it back just barely before the sky opened up, the wind turned into a gale, and, safely inside, we watched as boats got pitched all over the place, including that tiny "Flitefish" Dad won in a raffle at the Yacht Club. That little boat didn't sail too easily, I remember, but its broken hull became useful as a raft after it broke apart.--Eating freshly caught fish on the deck of the Keegan house we rented... Dad was an avid fisherman!--Learning to swim... I was something of a scaredy-cat, but I think it was the desire to pass the treading water test for sailing that finally motivated me to get into deep water, first w/ a life preserver (and I thank whoever thought of that idea) then without. I knew how to swim at the time, but always had this crazy thought that the water would swallow me and I'd forget everything I learned once in deep water. Not long after this life preserver exercise, I decided to venture into deep water on my own (well, not entirely... it was during regular swimming hours in the bay). Some boys were on the dock near where I was swimming and yelled at me to stop splashing their friend who had a cast on his foot. Then one of the boys jumped in, shoved me underwater and held me there for what felt like an eternity. You would have thought such an experience would keep me out of deep water for good, but it had the opposite effect. Instead, I realized that I wouldn't automatically drown when swimming in deep water--even when, it seemed, someone was trying to drown me. I don't remember putting all this in words at the time, but the sense was that if I could survive that, I could survive anything the water could throw at me. I came to love diving under and looking up at the sun-dappled surface from below. I even made my peace with some ocean swimming.And the swimming memory was what motivated my participating last year--yes, I was on Fire Island that recently... time didn't allow a visit to Saltaire, unfortunately--in the 5.25 mile Maggie Fischer Memorial Cross-Bay Swim. I heard about the swim two years earlier during a visit to Saltaire for a memorial service for David Standard. I had done a one-mile ocean swim in NJ, and when I first heard of the cross-bay swim, I was put off... way too long. But the idea took root, and again (as when I was invited aboard to crew in a sailboat race), I thought "why not?" I was fit, I had run marathons, why shouldn't I be able to do this swim?For me, it was like a homecoming--and yet a whole new world--swimming across a bay I'd crossed so many times by ferry. (Rich teased me... said, "you CAN take the ferry, you know.") ;) Interestingly, the whole time, I was never afraid. Seasick the last couple miles yes, but not afraid. After the swim, I wrote my story about it for the Fire Island News. Those of you who departed at the end of August may have missed the story b/c it was published in the last issue of 2007 (Sept. 3[?]). An unabridged version appears in my (needing to be updated) blog, You might find interesting also another Fire Island related blog being kept by Rob Roos, another cross-bay swimmer and Saltaire resident: http://crossbayswimforum.blogspot.com/This blog contains some very interesting material not only on swim history but on Fire Island history.As for me, although I'm not doing the Cross-Bay swim this year, I do hope to do it again within the next few years. It's a truly amazing experience! And I definitely hope to make many more visits to SaltaireThanks again for this blog that's awakened so many memories!
Diane

RICHARD MCMANUS WRITES FROM MASSACHUSETTS:

Great blog! Great memories!

Thanks for doing this. My family all feels to this day as though Saltaire was our home. The fact that we never go there any more is a bit weird, but there it is. Without Florence it has never seemed the same to any of us. I still have Jane, Florence's last cat, who still thinks she is feral though she sleeps on top of us and runs around 'cloaked' so as to torture our oversize German Shepherd.

Here's a memory, but I will have to hunt some to find any pictures. We DO have them somewhere, and Pete has digitized many of my Dad's pictures, which like Stilgebauer's, were truly excellent.

I recall a sailboat race sometime in the early 60's when my regular crew--the very beautiful Leslie Dunsieth--was unable to crew. Had to go back to America or something awful like that. Someone else was going to sail and couldn't, and Larry Pfoh, who was my crew for several years must have been away.

So I got to the dock with the boat and realized there was no one around who I had ever sailed with--and also no one who COULD sail. Some reasonable person (an adult of all things) mentioned that Jimmy was on the dock and might be willing to sail. I pouted for a while, but of course I was going to be happy to sail with JOH even if he never had sailed before. Mostly sailing is pulling ropes after all, and by that time it had become clear to me that being strong enough to pull ropes properly was more important than advanced education.

But by the time my tantrum was over the other boats were sailing off and down the course and we were still getting aboard the Mercury to race. We must have started four minutes (or more) behind the others.

However the boat was an excellent boat and JOH did a great job of learning the 'ropes' and we moved pretty quickly along. However it was clear we would need more speed to catch up. I decided that JOH would have to drive the boat so I could set the spinnaker. So we switched roles and I set the red spinnaker and JOH steered the boat. There was a very lively breeze and we kept moving up on the other boats. It was a great feeling as the Mercury is NOT usually a high performance boat but with the spinnaker it had possibilities.

After we took the spinnaker back down the boat seemed possessed and we kept catching up with the others, outpointing them to the next mark and going MUCH faster. We passed them without ever getting near to anyone else, and we wound up winning the race quite comfortably. It was great fun and JOH turned out to be an excellent helmsman.

I don't think we ever sailed together again (Leslie was much cuter) but it was one of the most enjoyable sailboat races I ever sailed. I was so hooked on sailing that I often missed everything else going on in Saltaire. I played a little basketball and some mediocre softball when anyone needed a player, but it seems to me I did play some serious hearts with JOH, Johnny Glasscock, Beaver and Danny.

A couple of summers I taught sailing and one summer I worked for the town burning trash at the incinerator and hammering nails as needed. Start the incinerator on a rainy day by throwing a couple of tires in there first....

more to come. You said one story is needed as a basic contribution.
RICHARD MCMANUS

NOT TO BE OUTDONE, STEVE CHIMES IN:

Awesome! Thanks, it's great to see and read all that.

I am Rich's younger brother (everyone seems to know or remember him), Florence's nephew, Charlie's cousin...One of the multitude of McManuses that have wandered onto the Saltaire stage over the years.

You asked about memories. The best ones are hard to put a time or event onto - sitting by the bay, watching the sun set, letting the surf wash up on your ankles and having your feet gradually settle into the sand, wasting a whole day sailing, things like that.

But I do have a few vivid recollections. I was at the bay helping to scrape the bottom of someone's sailboat the day the water tower was demolished. We were half way watching it, we looked away, looked back and it was gone.

Another was the very windy day that a sea plane tried to take off into a cross wind and flipped over right off the dock out past the swimming area. That was a sight to see - it was obvious that the pilot was struggling and maybe not real experienced in taking off from that area. He was way to close in, a gust just flipped him right over in less time then it took to write this.

Another fun memory was a time that me, Charlie and Rich spent the day body surfing when the surf was up and rough, maybe in the early/mid 90s. Waves were running six to eight feet tall and we could not make ourselves leave the water, but after a while we were just too tired to do any more. Rich headed back to the house; Charlie and I hung for a while, standing right where the soft dry sand ended, and a steep drop off back to the water started. As we were looking out on the ocean, we saw two freak waves coming in. They must have been 15 or 20 feet tall. People in the water were in a panic - most of them swam out to meet them (much smarter than trying to get to shore). The waves broke and water shot up the embankment, the water getting airborne and flying all the way to the base of the dunes, at least 75 feet or so behind us, ruining cell phones, Sunday papers, books and magazines and soaking everyone. The second wave followed right behind and gave a repeat performance of the first. I'm 54 and have been going to Saltaire and beaches in general since I was a newborn and I never saw anything like that before or since.

But the best memories were the people. Florence and Ted - I still think of them almost every day. All my friends from when I was just a young child - when we happen to run into each other, we talk like we just saw each other last week. And of course my parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles...
And of course my parents, brothers and sisters, my wife Jan, my kids, cousins, aunts and uncles...

Great times.

Steve McManus







1 comment:

Frank Mina said...

Richard,
Great to see your post. Most of us appreciate Leslie in much the same way, but in my day there was also (The)Mary Kate :-)
Regards,
Capt. Frank Mina, Patterson's Navy (Ret'd.)
PS: Pat would NEVER let the Fire Islander have radar until your uncle Charlie talked him into a Plessey.