[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

I met my second husband on the right-hand side of East Hampton Main Beach, facing the ocean, early in July 1963. This was before summer rentals soared to $20,000 a month and up. A girlfriend and I found a one-bedroom cottage  that cost $1200 for the whole season.

The left-hand side was attached to the Maidstone Club, allegedly only for white Christians. You could buy a drink at the Maidstone bar, and even walk across the Maidstone part of the beach, but no one I knew had ever put down a towel or blanket  on it. Who would you talk to? All the marriageable Jews were on the other side.

I was there in my pink modified bikini, on the right-hand side, because I was nearly 32 and my Hungarian therapist kept saying, “I don’t mean to insult you, honeybunch, but you’re not getting any younger.” He meant I’d been divorced long enough and if I wanted a baby, I’d best get off my ass and start working on it. The first husband had been a white Christian who would have fitted right in on the left-hand side. I thought I’d do things differently this time.

Future second husband was there, on the right-hand side, to get out of the city. (He said.) He stayed at a bed and breakfast. The sun went down, the right-hand side was emptying, but I sat on, conveniently alone. (My house-mate was in New York with a cold.) Future second husband, on a towel not too far away and still a stranger, needed a match.

Yes I did have a match. He moved his towel closer. We smoked and chatted together. Then came a drink at the nearby Maidstone bar. He asked what brought me to East Hampton.

I said I was looking for a father for my unborn children.

He said that sounded like a good idea and how would it be if we saw each other till I found him.

Is the point of this story that it always pays to tell the truth? Or that the part of themselves men think with isn’t always the head?

East Hampton Main Beach: July 1963

July 1963. (Not wearing modified pink bikini)


[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

The opposite of never not thinking is to not think at all, to be entirely sensate. It would be wrong to say that both are equally hard. You can try to never not think, even if you keep failing. You can’t make yourself entirely sensate by trying. (Experienced meditators may claim otherwise.) Either it happens, or not. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that apart from orgasm, for most people both are equally rare. You’re entirely sensate when you’re coming. Once the floodgates of pleasure open, you are only that pleasure.  It’s involuntary. But otherwise? Whatever else you feel, there’s almost always a low rumbling in the head about something else.

The only time I can remember being entirely sensate was on Prince Edward’s Island. I’d  been given an unexpected four weeks of paid summer leave from my job while they found an office for me in a different department. (They were planning to fire someone I would replace but had to give her notice.) It was too late to make overseas travel plans. I got in my car and drove north towards Canada. I intended to tour New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia, returning home to Boston via Campobello. It wasn’t bad, but not great. I was alone and sometimes lonely, especially in the evenings.

On Prince Edward’s Island, I went to a beach. There were almost no people. When packing, I hadn’t thought to bring a suit. So I lay face down on my arms between two low outcrops of reddish rock which shielded me from the occasional stroller along the shore. The sand was silky, the sun gentle on arms and legs and upturned cheek. Fear and worry melted away. I had no thoughts at all. I was one with the ground beneath me. Cradled in warmth, I drifted slowly into sleep.

When I woke, it was over. And it was only the once. I doubt I could ever again find that beach, with its protective rocks. But  I’ve never forgotten how I felt there.

Animals know how to just feel, just be.  Sometimes I envy them.