Our drive to Amagansett is supposed to take two and a half hours, but on Friday of Labor Day weekend it takes much longer. Everyone is heading to the Hamptons for the last weekend of the summer. As we finally drive through Southampton, my mom opens the window as she does every other weekend drive out. The air smells crisp, like the air that surrounds the first day of school. I hate thinking of school this weekend, because I can no longer deny it’s just around the corner.
I know my grandpa waits at the house, ready for us to arrive and for the weekend to take flight.
The weekend is always bittersweet. A three-day weekend filled with back-to-school clothes shopping and tons of time spent at the beach. But the beach is often cold on this weekend, reminding me of the beginning of the summer. On Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the beach is crowded with people piled under umbrellas stuck on their side in the sand to block the wind. Sweatshirts and blankets are wrapped around swimsuits.
You can smell the salty ocean water and hear the waves crashing on the shore. For most it’s too cold to go in the icy water, but my mom and I have a tradition. In order to properly open and close the summer, on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends we swim in the ocean, no matter how cold it might be, to say hello and goodbye to Indian Wells Beach every year.
The weekend is full of goodbyes. Goodbye to the sandy beach and the ocean; goodbye to the shack filled with locals buying lunch. Goodbye to the pool with the cover that always gets stuck — hopefully open instead of closed. Goodbye to the fresh summer corn that we always eat for dinner. Goodbye, Grandpa and Margie; goodbye, my aunt and uncle and my cousin Sidney. Goodbye to the home that houses a family of many generations.
We have to pack up all our summer clothes to take home. Goodbye, the village of Amagansett, and goodbye, the town of East Hampton. As we drive away, with the new clothes for school that we’ve bought, with all our old clothes from the summer, and with tons of summer memories, I try to think of next year and the fun times that we will have at the beach and in the pool. Goodbye, summer.
But this year was a little different. Although goodbyes were still said, we didn’t have to say goodbye to everything and everyone. My grandpa has decided to hold Thanksgiving in the Amagansett house, so although it will not be summer, we will be back here in November. Back to the beach with the icy cold water that we will not go in — instead we will visit with sweatshirts bundled on top of our T-shirts. We will again see the village of Amagansett and the town of East Hampton. All of the generations will be back at the family home, sharing meals and hoping it will never end.
Sophie Miller is a ninth grader at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. She is an avid distance swimmer and windsurfer.