Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Part three of Nostalgia week continues-

It was a summer of firsts. I was seventeen and just like the song by the Stray Cats, I needed to let off a little steam. I wanted to be on my own so bad and yet I had no idea how in the world I was supposed to get out of my little village of a town. To top it off E was taking a job as a nanny (seriously E? What was that about?!) in the Sag Harbor/East Hampton, NY area and we would be apart for most of the summer. I thought I was going to just curl up into a dried ball of debris and die. The summer yawned before me a in a dull, hazy way that seemed to float on forever with absolutely no point if I didn't have my partner in crime. That is until it was decided I should take a few weekends to visit E up in NY. Now the taste of freedom was on the tip of my tongue and suddenly everything looked brighter.

That summer, not only did I take the ferry for the first time, I also found out what it was really like to be on my own, to budget myself and to learn the lesson that with such freedom can come a whole lot of confidence that I never knew I could possess.

It was that summer that I bought my first pack of cigarettes, deciding that, "Hey! I'm 17 and I've never smoked! I'm going to walk into that corner store and buy the first pack of kill sticks I see!" Thus my love for Winston Lights was born. I smoked the whole pack that night. I bought alcohol for the first time (did I mention that we forgot our money because um.. you can't put money in a bikini, but the old guy at the liquor store knew we were good for it and we could pay him back later. Later when his wife was there. She? Was not too pleased.), I stayed out until dawn for the first time, killed a mouse by drowning and then freezing it, took care of my first drunk friend and vice versa. I also experienced how painful it can be to sleep in your car.

The weeks in between my weekend jaunts were rough. I felt chafed at having a curfew and not being able to come and go as I pleased. I had to eat what my mother made for dinner again and not what I felt like. I spent my days toiling away at CVS in my oh-so-fashionable red smock too.

When I think back to those weekends it is a mess of memories all tangled up together. I remember the blazing hot sun and sand, the wild nights with my best friend who liked to dance with a vacuum cleaner when she was drunk and climb trees. I remember dancing to Enya in the moonlight with the ocean as my backdrop. There was tasting pasta primavera for the first time, drinking coffee in the morning or should I say the 90s staple, cappuccino and creating my own schedule. Everything I did was magical and fun. Every moment was golden.

In September, when school started up again, I felt invincible. I had a self-awareness and confidence that I never had before. I dubbed myself 'Super-Girl!' (she was a lot like Wonder Red) and I felt that nothing could stand in my way. If my parents had known what I was up to I'm sure they would have put a big ol' kabosh on my weekend trips to visit E but looking it back, allowing me the access to experiment and do all those things gave me the power to know that I was stronger than my 98 lbs. I needed that more than anything. The summer of '93 was one of the best in my life and it wasn't just because I found out I could drink like a fish.

By the way, the song is 'Downeaster Alexa' by Billy Joel. I traveled to many of the places he sings about during that summer of firsts and every time I hear it I feel as if I'm being transported to that youthful, carefree summer. I can't think of any other song that makes me feel more nostalgic than that one.


  1. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Oh my God!! What a great summer,I am seriously going to listen to that song now. I remember waking up after that first night we smoked an entire pack, getting in the car, groaning at each other and mumbling, "F*&k! I need a cigarette!" What jackasses we were, and how much fun we had....remember dancing in the dunes for that photographer? Or that beautiful kiss we just gawked at? Oh I miss you, V!!!!

  2. I just wanted to tell you what a great story this is. It takes me back to some of the summers I have had. You really are a gifted writer!

  3. Wow, Stacy! Thank you so much! That is very heartening to hear and has totally made my week. Thank you for reading too!


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