Today we have summer memories brought to you by a guest writer. Thanks for the memories
I have so many fond memories of Hampton Bays (HB as we lovingly refer to it) the way it was in the mid 50’s- mid-60’s. Although I was only a child, we had heard of “pick-up corner” where Dardy’s used to be on the corner of Montauk Highway and Ponquogue Road
.The Fishnet” was our standard, favorite family place to go when we were young. It was small, intimate, the food was good and fresh and delicious. Many memories. We were all sorry to see it change hands. I also loved the old canal….there were some trees near the locks. My mom would pack a lunch and we would picnic there and my father would fish. He made us “drop-lines” from left over molding from building the cottage and that would keep us kids busy for a little while. I guess we must have taken our naps there too…although maybe we didn’t spend “the whole day” there.
As we got a little older we would go crabbing at night. My one uncle was a car mechanic for a taxi cab fleet in the city. He brought an extra car headlight and hooked it up to his car battery (I guess….although wouldn’t that have drained it??) and he would use that light to lure the crabs to the surface. I remember my grandmother taking the meat out of the cooked crabs…I can still see her standing at the sink in the kitchen. I thought the canal at night was so romantic…the different colored lights, the boats slowly going through it. There were always boats tied up along the edges of the canal. We would walk along during the day or night, and look at the fishing boats to see what they caught or peer in at the luxury pleasure house boats. Even seeing the lights on in the houses and cottages that were on the street made me curious as to who lived there and what did it looked like on the inside.
I caught an eel one time and it was pulling so hard I was calling for help. My dad and sibs and cousins came running, but I, in the end, wanted to do it myself. We caught two eels that day, and my grandfather, who was a chef, cleaned them and froze them for my aunt to take home and cook. I caught a baby flounder one time and my father tried to convince me to throw it back, but it must have been my first catch and I wanted to keep it. Of course, it died and I buried it on our property and drew a heart in the sandy soil to mark the grave. One uncle had just bought a new fishing pole and reel and cast in to get the line wet for the first time (something I was led to believe one should do….) and for some reason, he absentmindedly let go, and watched it disappear below the surface of the water. My youngest sister dropped the crab net in the canal too…. So many funny, sweet memories.
Those were the days…..