When Anna Mirabai Lytton, a 14-year-old from Springs, was struck by a car and killed in East Hampton on June 15, it was as if the community-at-large were bereaved. As a parent and grandparent, I can think of nothing so horrible as the loss of a child.
Having attended a batch of end-of-year school and dance programs in the last few weeks, I have become acutely aware of just how segregated the world is that my grandchildren inhabit. This is a topic that can make even the most open-minded citizens squirm; no one wants the world to be like this, but somehow we still shy away from talking about it. So let’s talk.
Call it de facto segregation, if you will: With only a few exceptions, my grandchildren live and play in near-isolation from those children who are so-called visible minorities.
I’m not alone, obviously, in being reluctant to submit to a party on my birthday. I haven’t had a real one since the year I turned 49 and threw one for myself, with a packed house and the kids helping prepare the food — a barbecued leg of lamb, if I remember correctly. That was the 1980s, when parties usually ended up with lots of noise and friends drinking to the music of early Frank Sinatra.
The pace is supposed to slow after Memorial Day, but I don’t see it happening. Could it be a portent of the busiest summer ever?
June has usually been a respite between the weekend that traditionally marks the beginning of the season and the madness of July and August. Although second-home owners have long since stretched “the season” into fall and spring (and for some the winter holidays, too), it seems that this year June is being swept into the maelstrom.
Let us now praise all things good about Memorial Day weekend. It goes without saying that those who live here year round usually stagger away from the first onslaught of the season complaining: “Oh my God,” or, “Help us! It’s begun,” or, yes, “It’s never, ever been worse!”
So what good things, you ask?
East End nightspots attract hundreds of 20 and 30-somethings like moths to light every summer, but a slightly more sedate crowd wends its way to more serene surroundings for classical music.
The highest notes come from the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Perlman Music Program, which sponsors a summer school for international students on Shelter Island, and Pianofest, a remarkable program of master classes and concerts for and by prizewinning pianists.
“Whose Garden Was This,” an evocative song by Tom Paxton, who lived in East Hampton for many years, came into my head this week after I drove through the railroad underpass on Narrow Lane in Bridgehampton and was suddenly startled, not by an approaching vehicle (although that is a real concern), but by a stand of some two dozen wild lupines. I had forgotten how stunning their blue-purple flag-like flowers are.
The provocative story of what happened when an Associated Press reporter broke the news that Germany had signed an unconditional surrender, ending World War II, came across my desk this week — by random coincidence, at the same time controversy was breaking out over the recent revelation that the Department of Justice had secretly obtained records of 20 A.P. phone lines.