Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
January 28, 2015

“It seems like nothing much has changed,” I said to Mary as we were watching “To Kill a Mockingbird” the other night, though I know it is frequently said in connection with Martin Luther King’s birthday that we have come a long way.

For the young people who pro­tested in cities throughout the country on Jan. 19, and who claim­ed that the import of the holiday was being hijacked, it was not just a day off.

Janis Hewitt
January 28, 2015

When I was a kid — and how many people hate hearing that from their parents? — I didn’t walk 12 miles to school in a snowstorm, I didn’t wake at 5 a.m. to deliver newspapers, and I certainly didn’t eat tuna casserole because the children in China were starving.

But growing up on City Island in the Bronx, there was nothing more exciting than waking up to a quiet, still morning and sensing that snow had fallen through the night and school would probably be closed that day.

David E. Rattray
January 28, 2015

From an upstairs window Tuesday, as snow continued to fall fast, I could see a dozen sea ducks riding it out on the bay in front of our house. Seagulls of some sort flew on the driving wind above the water’s edge as a flood tide pushed and clawed at the dune.

Helen S. Rattray
January 21, 2015

Because I am a doubting Thomasina, I went to Google to check out a statement in Tony Prohaska’s “The White Fence,” a memoir that was the subject of last week’s “Connections.” Tony reported that Jackson Pollock had a pet crow. The Internet is wonderful; I not only found references to the crow but also saw images of it taken with the artist in 1947. It was named Caw Caw.

Jack Graves
January 21, 2015

How we react to suffering is one of the questions raised in David Margulies’s arresting play, “Time Stands Still.”

That it is a fact of life we know, something we all must endure, to varying extents. Should we embrace it? Should we avert our gaze inasmuch as we are able? Should we accept beauty and suffering as the opposite sides of the same coin?

David E. Rattray
January 21, 2015

When I got into the office around 8 on Tuesday morning this week, there already was a message on my voice mail. It was from a woman who wanted us to remove the names of her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé from a 2013 letter to the editor that remained on our website.

Helen S. Rattray
January 14, 2015

Tony Prohaska’s memoir, “The White Fence,” which he introduced at the East Hampton Library in October, is a mother lode of local history, anecdote, and opinion. Imagine a coming-of-age story set here in the second half of the 20th century, as a boy grows up amid expatriates and Bonackers, artists and writers, and the families of fishermen. 

Jack Graves
January 14, 2015

We were talking the other day about attaining a balance between the ways of the West and East, a discussion that sort of dovetailed with my reading lately, which began some months ago with William Blake and has wound its way through Lewis Thomas, who thinks everything’s connected, George McGovern, who thinks every child in the world should be fed and that we can afford it (what a radical thought), and which has now alit upon D.T. Suzuki, whose “Essays in Zen Buddhism” Northrop Frye had mentioned in a book of his, “The Great Code,” about biblical language.

T.E. McMorrow
January 14, 2015

“Ya never know.” 
                 
That was Burnsie’s credo.

Johnny Burns was a bookmaker on the West Side of Manhattan. He looked like a frail, little old man. But I remember once tapping him on the back, feeling his body stiffen as he turned, relaxing when he saw it was me.

David E. Rattray
January 14, 2015

Winter is hard on Leo the pig.          
  
For those of you who may not know about Leo, he is a 70-pound pet pig of the white, perhaps English variety, that is, distinct from the Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs that were all the rage a few years ago.

Helen S. Rattray
January 7, 2015

Two of my grandsons, one on the cusp of 5 and the other already there, have discovered each other and become fast friends. Although one has been growing up in a small town in Nova Scotia and the other right here, they are peas in a pod — even if they aren’t cut from the same cloth. (Sorry, I’m feeling cliché-ish.)

Jack Graves
January 7, 2015

Well, you can’t go to heaven again, as I found out these past two weeks in Southern California. While, I’m glad to say, we did as good a job as we’ve ever done in escaping Christmas, we couldn’t escape the human condition.

I tried my damndest, but even I, who washed my hands almost continuously, and who cradled babies only under duress, could not duck the bullet.

To have been the only one to have done so would not have been commendable. I’m glad to say, then, that I too got sick, like everyone else.

Morgan McGivern
January 7, 2015

An old religious statue goes missing from a Village of East Hampton bird sanctuary. A piece of a medieval suit of armor located in an East Hampton mansion walks off with an uninvited winter visitor. A 70-pound steel propeller vanishes from the corner of a village property.

These events all happened in East Hampton: One might guess the soil itself is the culprit, or maybe a salty sea wind from the south. A person might conjecture amusing mysteries are part and parcel of the place.

Religious Statue

David E. Rattray
January 7, 2015

If real estate outfits were likely to make new year’s resolutions, I would want them to try to hew more closely to the traditional, if fuzzy, lines of delineation among place names. It is a pipe dream, of course, but it would be nice.

Helen S. Rattray
December 30, 2014

Boxing Day was The East Hampton Star’s 129th anniversary. We haven’t made too much of these anniversaries lately — not since we celebrated the 100th anniversary in 1985 with a 28-page supplement entirely devoted to the community’s history as seen through the pages of The Star. 

Jack Graves
December 30, 2014

We will have returned from Palm Springs by now. When last we were there, at this time two years ago, I described it as heavenly inasmuch as we’d been able “to take delight in each other and to remember why we were magnetized from the start.”

“. . . It’s been a week in which everything’s been more than all right. No appointments to keep, no need to strip the bed because the cleaning women are coming, no urgencies, no duties of any kind. Ah, I’m telling you, to do nothing is to progress wonderfully.”

Mark Segal
December 30, 2014

Christa and I made a quick trip to New York recently. As we turned east on 34th Street after emerging from the Midtown Tunnel, we saw at least 50 Santas heading west toward Herald Square to take part in SantaCon. I noticed that every costume was the same, down to the cheap black plastic belt, the white faux-fur trim, and the ludicrous beard. And I recalled my own experiences, many years ago, as a St. Nick imposter.

David E. Rattray
December 30, 2014

East Hampton has seemed especially crowded for this time of year. With Christmas on a Thursday, many in the summer house and weekend crowd must have decided to head east and stay here through the New Year’s holiday.

Not that their being here is something to complain about, but there’s a difference. Drivers on Main Street, for example, have had that certain, uh, tentative quality since Dec. 24. Those of us here on weekdays during the depths of winter will know exactly what I am talking about.

Helen S. Rattray
December 23, 2014

The clamor among some Democrats, those who used to be known as liberal but now prefer to be called progressive, for Elizabeth Warren to run for president makes for fascinating politics. Like Barack Obama when he took on his first successful presidential campaign, she is a freshman senator. 

Jack Graves
December 23, 2014

I’ve read that the greatest Christmas gift is the knowledge that one is blessed, and I know that that is not a frequent occurrence.

Janis Hewitt
December 23, 2014

’Twas a week before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even the dog. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a vision of Jesus sketched into my morning peanut butter toast.

He wore not a red suit but a ragged white robe, and wore not a silly hat but a crown full of thorns. His belly was slim, not jiggling with jelly, and He didn’t look jolly but solemn and troubled.

He left me a message each day for a week and said he’s dismayed at the havoc we’ve wreaked.

David E. Rattray
December 23, 2014

So what has happened with that good old-fashioned word “it”? You would think that so useful a word would not go out of style or be forgotten. But, if listening to such well-regarded sources as National Public Radio news is any illustration, it has been almost fully supplanted by “they.”

Helen S. Rattray
December 18, 2014

The death of a friend is dreadful. A gathering of friends who come together to show how much they cared about the one who is gone and to support a family in their grief is, on the other hand, a lesson in living. 

So it was this week when a large crowd of people whose lives had been touched by Ed Hannibal visited the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, and so it was at the funeral Mass the next day at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton, where the liturgy and a moving eulogy reminded all there of what a fine man he had been.

Jack Graves
December 18, 2014

“Where’s the brief?” I asked Mary after we’d seen a somewhat long film about Stephen Hawking, who wrote “A Brief History of Time,” which I’ve taken the time to peruse again in an effort to constantly expand my consciousness, just like the universe.