Jenifer’s Journal: Nineteen – Shelter Island Reporter

All nature is but art, unfamiliar to thee:

All chance, path, which thou canst not see:

All discord, harmony not recognized

All partial evil, universal very good. — Alexander Pope

This is my 19th Jenifer’s Journal column — but who’s counting? — and heading into the shank of the year, it is place me in thoughts of my 19th summer season.

Oh, newborn.

Whether I bear in mind it precisely or not, who understands, but my memory has selected it as “the” summer months of my youth, possibly for the reason that, at 19, I believed the prevailing hippie knowledge that I only experienced a couple superior several years still left. In any case, my inaugural salvo into the year associated breaking down on the Northern Point out Parkway on my way to a weekend on Shelter Island in my to start with car or truck (a very small Fiat of indeterminate age painted Earl Scheib’s “Cherry Red,” $29.95) which I blithely abandoned when provided a ride the rest of the way by the two not-unattractive younger adult men who ended up the to start with to arrive to my assist.

They were being on their way to Mattituck, they claimed, but they’d be pleased to get me to the Island, hop in (who could say no to these an invitation?) Seems like an episode for Dateline now, but, turns out, we all put in the evening and the complete hilarious, hectic weekend on Shelter Island in an previously-entire property with my mom and dad, my brothers and their close friends.

That entire summer time shuttling back again and forth, dwelling for weekends though trudging by the operate week at my parents’ store? Wild occasions. The Chequit was the Mecca where by individuals wild instances grew, with tunes blaring, glass breaking, bell bottoms and bare midriffs and the promise of summertime love quite bursting from each corner. The only detail far better than one summer months really like was two. My 1st, chronologically, was a be-speckled intellectual who would test, and fail, to instruct me how to slalom drinking water ski. The other was the operator of a British Racing Eco-friendly Austin Healey (the correct object of my affection), which, immediately after realizing me 90 minutes, that outrageous boy allow me generate to Silver Seaside generally in overdrive at 1:30 a.m. 

There were being those people periods waking up with the sun, obtaining put in the night time on the beach, and the notorious launching of my mother’s Valiant into West Neck Harbor. In my defense, obtaining been born without a perception of path, it was a in close proximity to miracle that if there’d only been a bridge between Montclair Colony and Silver Seaside, I would’ve designed it house in two minutes. These were some milder escapades. What a summer. In retrospect, hair-elevating.

Maybe I had a premonition that the “wild times” wouldn’t very last for extended. Guaranteed adequate, 3 decades afterwards I was married, two many years later I had a child, and then an additional, and then poof, by the summertime of 1974 I was a one father or mother. Now, which is hair-boosting. 

It’s possible it was a tacit indictment of my parent’s laissez-faire parenting model that I turned a single of people helicopter sorts, seeking to act interesting and relaxed whilst currently being hyper-vigilant about my kids’ just about every transfer. As they grew into their teens, I considered I realized where by they were being going and who they were with, but not often. Turns out, that all through substantial faculty and higher education, for all my well-intentioned uber-attentiveness, my kids nonetheless had their share of frightening “wild instances,” issues and problems, way too.

Since they’ve married and come to be mother and father themselves, far more than once they’ve taken me to endeavor for my “parenting design and style,” and I’ve remembered individuals occasions I dragged my mother down Memory Lane with me and how she would say, “I did the very best I could.”  It generally sounded quite lame.

Today my older granddaughter — tall and lovely as a Sequoia, an artist who can pitch a mad-quick softball — is arriving on the Jitney with her pal to devote the 7 days with me.  She’s turning 15 upcoming thirty day period and her big brother — tall, handsome, outrageous for physics, who’ll be a captain of his ski crew subsequent 12 months — just turned 17 in June. All issues becoming equal, they’ll continue on hurtling towards 19 themselves, having their possess “wild instances.” 

Recognizing what I know, which is a frightening imagined, but now I also know one thing that I hardly ever could’ve identified again in 1966: My young children, those stubborn, sneaky rebels, and the gentlemen they would marry, would switch out to be these fantastic moms and dads of these kinds of, so far, great youngsters, just by doing the “best they could.” 

Like me like my moms and dads, I guess.

There are no guarantees (write that down). It’s hard enough to increase tomatoes allow alone human beings, so there is no telling how something will convert out, seriously. That now I, a author, would be crafting a piece about my 19th summer for my weekly column?