Around the Island

A walk down memory lane

This week Richard spends time in his old stomping grounds.

spent last Friday going back in time.

I had told my daughter that I’d pick her son up at school at 12:30 p.m. and take him to various appointments he had scheduled that day. He goes to school in Bridgehampton and I was going to Sag Harbor anyway. So we had the afternoon in front of us to see the orthodontist, visit the Main Beach surf shop and finally get to drum lessons.

And we’d have to fit lunch in there somewhere, even though he had already eaten at school when a chef from a local restaurant made a great curried chicken in the school’s dining room. Twelve-year-old Leonardo is always ready to eat.

I began my afternoon with a visit to Apple Bank. They have some good interest rates that I wanted to take advantage of. The last time I was in that bank it was called Sag Harbor Savings Bank and that was when I worked in the Village some 40 years ago.

It was a very different town than it is now. There really were not any boutiques. The pizza place had just opened and provided a good spot to go for lunch. As I recall I could get two slices and a Coke for under two dollars. And after my slices I could enjoy a cigarette. I was teaching at Pierson High School and we had almost an hour for lunch so I’d always walk downtown for a bite — always running into students who also had that time off to eat.

There was also a very good German deli that had the best clam chowder and fried flounder. And I also recall that there were loads of saloons. The supermarket and the 5 and 10 were also there and there was a store that sold electric parts right on Main Street. Gristedes also had a large store where 7-Eleven is now. Montgomery Ward even had a catalogue store on Main Street.

After the orthodontist visit and the stop at Main Beach we had to kill some time before the drum lesson. We wound up having a great lunch at the Golden Pear (it’s right near where Hans’ Deli was).

We then walked up and down the street making a visit to Flying Point and noticing all the galleries and the burned out movie theater — which is on its way to being restored. People were lined up waiting for the Jitney to take them to the city. I did not notice any kids “hanging out” but maybe they just don’t do that anymore.

On the way to the drum teacher’s for the 3 o’clock lesson, I took in all the renovation and restoration that’s being done in the historic district. Each house looks better than the next. Little jewels. Forty years ago they were just old houses where working families lived.

During my walks I would take in all the architectural details of the 200-year-old homes because I was in the process of renovating my own house here on the Island. Back in those days Islanders referred to Sag Harbor as “Dodge City” because, I guess, of its rough and tumble reputation. Writer John Steinbeck, a resident, was also not very complimentary in his novel “Winter of Our Discontent.” Nor was Herman Melville in “Moby Dick.”