By Emily S. Brafman
Dolphins!!! I have waited 42 years to see dolphins on our Fire Island beaches, and this week they passed us by, not once, but two times. I can’t explain the feeling of pure exhilaration that overtakes me when I see them. If you ask the people that were around me on the beach at the time, they might describe me as the nutty woman pointing and running toward the water screaming “dolphins, dolphins!” It was a pod of about five. They swam past us about 20 feet from the shore doing their dolphin dance. My daughter has become quite the mermaid and if I had let her, she would have swam right out to her ocean friends. What a way to start off our August!
We arrived back on Fire Island on Sunday after a two-week hiatus to Manhattan. I have always said that the reason I love NYC is because I have never had to spend the summer there. Needless to say, I am glad to be back at our little house on Pine Walk. We are past mid-August, and I am holding on to summer tightly.
The nice thing about August is that old friends who do not spend their entire summers here tend to rent for a week or two. I am spoiled with the company of my mommy friends at the beach, dinner guests at our table and lunch invitations for my kids. My friend Cara Forray, her husband Patrick and their kids, Mia and Roan, were here for the week. Our kids became reunited quickly and were inseparable. Cara and I sat together on our beach chairs. Relaxing (something that almost never happens).
She remarked, “It is so nice to co-parent with another mom!” This is how my mom lived, out here in a time where no moms worked. There were groups of ladies on the beach watching all of the kids. We didn’t have babysitters and we bopped from one house to the next. The moms were in touch, and the system just worked. I wish it were like that now. I wish that my besties were here with me all summer long. But in August, I get a taste. My best friend Laura lives here for three weeks. It makes me so happy! We have coffee on my deck in the morning and meet for cocktails at sunset in the evening. We sit and watch our kids play together and we take turns watching each other’s kids. It is my definition of “the life” on Fire Island.
This week I made my way to the Saltaire Library to read my book. It was such an amazing event. Kate the Librarian has created such a wonderful program there and she welcomed me with open arms. I had over 60 kids come in their pj’s to listen to my book. It was so wonderful. I wish I could do the same thing in Fair Harbor.
It made me realize how we are really lacking a place for the community to gather in Fair Harbor. That’s the thing about a library. It is for everyone. As I sat there on a Thursday morning, drinking my coffee, reading to my kids and playing games, there was a middle-aged man (from Fair Harbor) working on his computer talking to clients. A guy in his 30’s strolled in to find his next beach read and a few teenagers were in the corner chatting and giggling. It was the definition of a community center. It is something Fair Harbor is lacking and would benefit from greatly. I’m not sure how we can satisfy this need but I think it would be great! In the meantime, I suggest a ride over to the Saltaire library. The programs are coming to an end but you can take books out or you can just chill, read some books or play a game.
I have loved writing this column and I have loved sharing my picture book, “I Know A Place: A Fire Island Story” with all of you. I might even call myself a writer now. As many of you know I self published my book 2 years ago and with that came about 1300 books. It is very bitter sweet to say that I have about 200 books left. When I sell out, “ I Know a Place” will be out of print.
I would love to speak to a publisher that might like to help me continue on my journey. There are so many wonderful, smart, and connected people on Fire Island that I want to come to you first. If you would like to contact me, my personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance!
Savor that last few weeks of summer. Sleep in, swim every day, read one more book, make sure to watch the sunset every evening. Most importantly, laugh and celebrate with your friends and family!!