A zillion years ago (1973 to be exact) I made my first trips out to the Hamptons, specifically South Hampton, and discovered an entire new and wonderful world very far away form land locked Missouri. In MO there were not places where one retreated to the country ( the Ozarks do not count!) – we were the country. There were no hedges of clipped privet, just country roads lined with a mix of tangled undergrowth, no monumental shingled or clapboard mansions with widows walks, or chic little stores selling the first incarnation of Lily Pulitzer dresses and wide whale corduroy pants in vivid colors. Where clams and lobster were served with South Sides or gin and tonics. In Missouri we had ponds and lakes, the only fish we knew were catfish and a few pond bass, people drank Pepsi, cream soda, iced tea or beer with the fried mud cats as we called them. We had to drive to St. Louis or K.C. to find Lily P., and forget the vivid cords….until much later.
But the South Hampton I first visited 40 years ago was very different from the one I returned to this weekend. It was quiet and charming something resembling a movie set of an idyllic world that was certainly much more sophisticated than poor old Missouri, but still had that small town feeling. The air sparkled and Silvers was the big eatery in town.
I went throughout the 70’s as a single gal, and then joined full time as a married summer resident in the crazy 80’s, rebelled and stayed away in the late 90’s and the turn of this millennium (yikes that sounds as if I lived in the Stone Age… kinda feeling that way as well!) before fleeing permanently to north western Connecticut.
I seemed to have grown allergic to “The Hamptons” but that said there are elements that are still so lovely ( if you can get over the traffic and the loads of people); I have a few friends there, the hedges and trees are still so beautiful, the gardening climate fantastic – and yes I am jealous of that! There are so many lovely old homes and the shops are a lot better and more plentiful then anything we have up here in the outer boonies. There is much positive to be said.
Blue Hydrangea – will always remind me of the Hamptons. Jealous I cannot grow them up here in the ice box!
The most beautiful trees and perfectly manicured EVERYTHING!
But the point of this post is not my Hampton’s history but to tell you about a book written by a very talented friend about her redoing of a cottage in East Hampton. Her book brought back to me the sense of charm, quaintness and sparkling air I experienced 40 years ago when I first went there. Frances Schultz with her new book The Bee Cottage Story – How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness makes you laugh, commiserate with, be enchanted by a very human story and wonderful prose. Having had the good luck to travel and spend time with Frances I know for a fact how charming, genuine, talented and (the best part) really FUNNY she is. You will not only love the book but learn from it as well. You pick up some great decorating tips but more importantly you will learn that everyone goes through difficult and down times. This is a woman who appears to have it all – great looks, a fabulous life, talent, a successful career, the admiration and love of both colleagues and friends, but it was not always that way. Through the great gift of humor and truth she teaches us to carry on though our own difficult times. By sharing her story she reminds us that most of us do not get a free pass on sadness, some bad luck, illness and tears. I know you will enjoy her book and it will make you laugh – which is just about the greatest gift one human can give another. So go buy it! We authors need your help! In the process you will be helped, inspired and have a great laugh. Happy reading–cr
Below are three shots from Frances’s Bee Cottage Story – all charming and instructive but it is the story that captivates.