Summer is a dilemma for One Percent New Yorkers. Where a person summers is something of a litmus test.
Growing up, my family summered in Nantucket. Problem is, Jews just didn’t do that.
My Jewish mother refused to follow a trend, any trend. Jewish New Yorkers summered in Fire Island or East Hampton. My mother wanted to spend summers in Nantucket. Never mind that only WASPS summered in Nantucket and never mind that my curly, frizzy, dark-brown hair marked me as an outside for life against the blond and straight-haired, long-legged and skinny backdrop of all the other girls on island. Never mind that we could not really afford it and that my father had to stay behind to earn a living to support the whole endeavor. Logic and other people’s feelings could not move her off her determined effort to leave New York and my father behind from Memorial Day to Labor Day
After disposing of my older brother by placing him in 8 weeks of camp in Maine, she and I drove and ferried to Nantucket.
Aphorism – As Groucho Marx said “I don’t care to belong to a club that would have me as a member.” Note to Yacht Club – if asked, I would join.
Takeaway – I appreciate my childhood friends more and more each year and recognize how lucky we are to have each other. We are the keepers of each other’s childhood memories.
Recipe – Wild Blueberry Cobbler
Nantucket was known for having wild blueberries, but in true Nantucket fashion, the location of the best low-bush-blueberry patches was a closely-guarded secret that only natives and long-time Nantucketers knew. When I was very small, our neighbor on India Street used to take me berry picking by car. I could never remember where she took me. Years later, I learned the location of some blueberries and blackberries. Naturally, I can’t share this information. Suffice it to say, there are very few berries left to be picked. I think all the blueberries summer in Maine now.
Preheat oven to 375
Four pints of organic blueberries (wild or cultivated but not frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Juice of one lemon
Mix sugar, cinnamon, berries and lemon juice and pour fruit mixture into either a 9 inch cake pan or a 9 inch pie pan. If there is too much fruit, make two cobblers.
For the topping:
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour (I use oat flour to keep this gluten-free)
1 cup organic whole oats
Mix topping together quickly with hands and sprinkle over berries. Do it quickly so the butter doesn’t completely melt.
Bake until topping is brown and fruit is bubbly – about 30 minutes at most. If topping browns too quickly, tent cobblers loosely with aluminum foil to protect the topping while tfruit continues to cook.
This recipe works with peaches, nectarines, plums and any berry.
2 thoughts on “Where to Summer in the Summer?”
Valerie – honestly, Fire Island was hard on a self-conscious, unhappy curly-haired kid as well. Jews or no jews, I seemed to be the only girl who 1) was forced by my mother to wear a straight hair hair-piece with a hairband that fooled no one 2) wore a low ponytail with frizz zooming out from every part of my head and 3) checked the humidity each day, every day before I even brushed my teeth – in those days there was a telephone number you could call for weather reports I think this is a fascinating and honest piece about a topic that everyone on the Northeast coast has a story to tell – summer, and what was wrong with it. A great read! Laurie Silver
On Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 10:15 PM, Diary of a One Percenter by Valerie Feigen wrote:
> Valerie posted: “Summer is a dilemma for One Percent New Yorkers. Where a > person summers is something of a litmus test. Growing up, my > family summered in Nantucket. Problem is, Jews just didn’t do that. My > Jewish mother refused to follow a trend, any trend. Jewish” >
Summer stories would make a great compilation. So interesting that you had similar issues on Fire Island. Was frizzy hair ever socially acceptable anywhere? I keep thinking of parental neglect versus active abuse in the context of decision making . Thank you for your comment!