By Emily S. Brafman
Today I sit in the roof of my NYC apartment building writing to you from my repaired computer! It is not my usual spot but the morning air is cool and the sun is shining bright. It will do until I am back on my deck in Fair Harbor a week from tomorrow. When I return from my two-week hiatus in the city, a new pack of visitors will be in Fair Harbor and I’m sure the island will be buzzing. Welcome to those of you who are settling in to your summer houses. Fair Harbor has been beautiful this summer and I know your time here will be glorious. For those of you with children, please take advantage of the activities that are available. Swimming lessons at the Fair Harbor bay, sailing at the Dunewood Yacht Club and of course movie night on Wednesdays at the Fire House. There are signs up all over town with phone numbers and details about all of these activities.
I would also like to invite you to a couple of upcoming events. First, on Thursday, August 18 at 7 p.m. there will be a pajama party at the Saltaire Library and I will be reading and signing my children’s picture book, “I Know A Place: A Fire Island Story”. I suggest dinner on the deck of the Saltaire market before.
On Thursday, August 25 at 8:30 p.m. Susan Chadburn will be showing her film, “Partition Lot 6” at the Fair Harbor Fire House. For those of you who read my article regularly, you will remember that I spoke to her about the history of Fair Harbor, and she has a lot of amazing pictures and information to share. She spoke about the Hommels. Mary and Cornelius Hommels owned the restaurant and liquor store for 20 years. Sadly, I received and e-mail from their daughter Ingrid telling me of the passing of her mom Mary on July 13, 2016. My condolences go out to you and your family, Ingrid.
Another family that I want to tell you a little about is the Whitney family. They have owned the Pioneer for as long as I can remember and they are some of the most wonderful people I know. As a kid, I used to go down to the store every morning and hang out with Bob and Frank on the bench. Now my kids spend the mornings eating bagels and hanging out with Frank and Frankie just like I did.
Jules is one of the newer faces at the Pioneer, but he is front and center and such a kind man. He has also become a grandfather for the second time. I was so happy to hear that he took the weekend off to see his brand new granddaughter, Savannah Grace in Florida. Congrats, Jules!
In the back of the store we have Robbie. He and I have been pals for a long time. He makes the best sandwiches in the deli, and the guys who help him are always attentive and friendly. Lou can always be found near the soda area and he always has the answer you are looking for. I was thrilled to see that his son has joined the family business and is stocking the Pioneer shelves this summer! Back to the front of the house we have the sweet Anne; she takes care of the register girls and our groceries. Most of all, she always has kind things to say and a beautiful smile!
Unfriendly’s right next door celebrates 40 years of ice cream this year, and Lynn has been there for the duration. She is a wonderful woman dedicated to giving the kids of Fair Harbor cold summer treats. In my thoughts is Bob, a man that is dearly missed and was the “Mayor” of our town and loved by the community. It is really wonderful to see the whole Pioneer family carry on his name with pretzels for the kids, small talk for the old timers and great food for everyone.
My last weekend in Fair Harbor was a glorious one! The ocean was a playground for kids and adults alike. As I stood on the shore and watched my daughter jumping over the large smooth waves, I realized that she was one of the youngest people in the ocean. It occurred to me that the ocean is a place where all people get to play. Watching the older members of our community diving under, jumping over, and riding the waves to shore was spectacular. The ocean is such an invigorating place. It heals your wounds; your heart and your mind so make sure to take a dive. It will make your day!
Finally, I want to wish my little boy Nicky Wyatt a Happy Birthday. He turns 9 years old on August 12 and we are so proud of him. I hope you all have celebrations in store for August. As always, feel free to send me pictures and details of your summer celebrations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at the Beach! –Emily