Last year, while I was buying my dad his Father's Day gift (a 1928 framed postcard the Amagansett dunes) at A Little of What you Fancy in East Hampton, the shop owner told me about the rich history of Amagansett. I told her I had a rich history of Amagansett of my own; my family was one of the original settling families of Amagansett. She was impressed. I was kidding; sort of. While my last name is not GARDINER (have you heard of Gardiner’s Bay??) and I am not exactly Hamptons multi-generational legacy, the Marshall Family was one the first families to inhabit the Amagansett dunes in the 1970's (I'm talking about before there were paved roads down in the dunes AND before I was even born). Many years ago, a gentleman named David Marshall (who would one day become my lucky father) came to check out ‘the hamptons’ and fell in love with the beautiful beaches, lush farmlands and laid back life. I’m not sure he envisioned what the South Fork would one day turn into (the epicenter of Manhattan’s social scene for weekenders in the summer with SUVs and flashy cashy behavior) – but he invested wisely in a house that was an escape for him and his friends from good old Gotham.
Of course he was single at the time! So the house became a dating asset, because as you know having a place out east qualifies you as “a catch”. This investment paved the way for many marvelous memories to come –
family, friends, lobsters and sunburns. David brought a stunner named Gigi (who would one day become my lucky mom) out to the house on their third date – they had some romantic dinners by the fire, did some gardening, a few walks on the beach, etc. It eventually became clear that Gigi was the one.
After the two were married, the swinging bachelor pad became a home suited for a family that was to come. First there was Nancy. Then came Doug. Between the four of us, extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) and many many friends – we’ve built a rich history of our own in Amagansett by filling that house in the Dunes with many characters, many stories and many laughs.
Does this a Hamptons legacy maketh?? I think so!
I get nostalgic for all I’ve experienced out east. Amagansett is where I learned to swim, learned to build sand castles, learned to play tennis, learned to sail and learned to love the outdoors. It's also where I first highlighted my hair, first got drunk, had my first R rated sexual experience and got fired from my first job (as a bus boy at the Lobster Roll - can you imagine??). I have enjoyed my innocence out east and lost some of it here too. Some people call "the hamptons" their summertime playground, I call it "home".
As we embark upon another Father’s Day out east, aside from wondering what gift I’ll get Dad this year, I try to think of what special way I can thank him – not only for being my dad - but for giving me all that I have been given. For when I think of the memories I have of Amagansett, I realize the Hamptons aren’t just where we hang our J.Press hats on the weekends, it’s where our roots have grown.