Perhaps the gentrification of the Turnpike and its environs is inevitable — James Gambles, then the Bridgehampton Child Care Center’s director, said it was in an interview with The New Yorker’s Calvin Tomkins 41 years ago.
But if property values trump the other values we profess — neighborliness and good will, and the attentiveness to local history that strengthen those feelings presumably being among them — we will be the poorer for it.
Perhaps some day all will be prettified and mown and upscale and there will be no more to offend — or attract — the eye. Hedges will be clipped (shit, I just remembered, I’ve got to clip mine) and there will be attractive fencing as far as the eye can see. I don’t yearn for that homogenous day, though. When we will be buried, buried in beauty.
Poseyville’s fishermen lived in small houses. Who cared? They had the sea and the bays and the creeks.
I lived in one of them once — you had to stoop to get in — and loved it, just the fact that, as the result of Francis Lester’s neighborliness and good will, I found myself in close proximity with those who were in close proximity with natural beauty, not the man-made, manicured kind.
With the sea, with nature, with a roof that doesn’t leak overmuch, plumbing that works, and a good book, what more does one want? I don’t understand this deification of grandiosity.
But there I go again, biting, if not the hand that feeds me, the hand that feeds many here, and it is because of these hard-working men and women that we have at least the semblance of normality that attends a community, a community opposed, I’ll warrant, to being labeled or branded as “The Hamptons.”
I think that besides having some acquaintance with the history of this place, it also helps to talk to one another, even as we dance to the resort tune. (Speaking of which, we followed lively dance music we’d heard in our neighborhood the other night to its source down the street, a graduation party, where, once introductions had been made and assurances given that we were neighbors and hadn’t lodged a complaint with Code Enforcement, we congratulated the graduate and danced with the hosts.)
All by way of saying there is more here than meets the eye, that there are truths deeper than the facts.