This morning I've been thinking about the North Fork of Long Island. It's such a simple, slower way of life there, even as it begins to unfold to the tourists and money people who have long been on the south side.
I've always loved the towns over there....Southold, Greenport, even little Orient. It may have something to do with ancestry that I have in those places, but more likely, it is just the fact that it's a smaller, unhurried area.
In the early 90's I worked in a realty office with a woman who'd bought a small old house in Greenport. She made repairs and decorated the two story place very simply and with good taste. The tiny lot was not much bigger than the footprint of the home, but there was room enough for small gardens of roses and lilies and impatiens. It was lovely. She had a few cats, and a sweet, tiny, Yorkie, so when she would travel a few times a year, she would ask me to stay at her house so they would be cared for. Truthfully, I'm not wild about cats, but they were well behaved and as finicky as any cat can be. 'Archie', the Yorkie, was terrific company, however.
I enjoyed my time at that little house. It was a mini-vacation. I could go to Sterling's fish market and buy fresh fish and shrimp for dinner. I'd visit the vegetable stands that dot the Main Road that snakes the north fork, buying wonderful fruit and salad fixings. Sometimes I'd spend the day wandering through the nearby cemetaries, in search of family tombstones. Most often I would wander through the stores in Greenport, finding fun gifts and haunting Irish music at the Celtic store. My favorite spots where those that sold antiques! I usually didn't purchase anything, but it was always fun to look.
There was a time when I'd seriously considered purchasing a house in East Marion. I was so serious that I spent a few hundred dollars to have an inspection done and even got a job in a Greenport realty office. Of course, it would have been a little while before I would actually own the house, but I thought it would not be a chore to travel back and forth each day on the ferries from the south fork to the north. As it turned out, the old house needed a lot more work than it originally showed (which was plenty, at first sight, I might add.) I loved the house, it still had it's original, fully, wainscotted walls, wood plank floors, a great, big pantry, and some built in cupboards. There was a window in the front upstairs bedroom which had initials scratched into the glass. I was told by the owner that supposedly a young woman had etched her fiance's initials into the glass, using the diamond he'd given her. It was my type of home, simple, roomy, and untouched for years...a rustic farmhouse. Though the selling price was fine, the work needed would have been far more expensive for me than I could have found money for. It was with much regret that I walked away from the house, and another dream died. As a side note, I'd always known my grandmother was born in East Marion, on the Main Rd, which is where my hoped for house sat. I didn't know where her birthplace was exactly, and I found out many years later, that my Grandmother's home was actually across the street and down the road a few doors, from the one I was looking at.
I'm a believer that things happen the way they are meant to, even though we don't always recognize that at the time. I suffer pangs at times when I think about the old farm house, but I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be in this day. I
don't live in an old, money pit of a house. I don't even live on the North Fork. The comforting thing is, I can still visit both whenever I thumb through the memories. It's not such a bad thing, and I can honestly say, I have no regrets.