Friday, August 13, 2010

Goodbye!

You can still find me around the corner!
I know, I know...
it has been one year now. Actually a bit longer than that.
And we'll be staying some more months. But I am not a fan of extended projects; this has to end. Now.
Also, I am not a fan of goodbyes.
But this is a secret.
As mentioned here and there, I need to take care of another little writing project with a friend and as much as I like reading couple of books at the same time, I am not able to concentrate on writing more things at a time.
Some other things that were happening (or not happening) made me take this decision. I got to go. I will go.
I will miss writing about Long Island, but there are such wonderful people writing about this island and me, I am kind of a "part-time lover" to use the words of Stevie Wonder.

Before I go, I really need to say: you should read the blogs I put in my blogroll. On the left-side; the other left!
I am very selective, so just expect to find la "creme de la creme".
Do you have tissues?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cutchogue - A Pacifist Memento

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
 
Albert Einstein 
 
 
Einstein must have been really besorgt when he said that. 
Certainly, back in 1939, he was preoccupied with the situation in Europe, where - he knew - Germans were working on a new lethal device, the atomic bomb.
In Cutchogue he wrote letters to the President Roosevelt who, taking Einstein's words seriously, decided to launch what is known as the Manhattan Project*.
What was Einstein doing in Cutchogue though?
He was on vacation, sailing on the Tinef; but he was a sailor who couldn't swim.
You might read more in this article about Einstein in Cutchogue.
 
 
 *I don't need to explain more about the Manhattan Project, but  today  (August 9th) I want to give a personal contribution: I have been to many places related to WWII: Hiroshima, some concentration camps in Europe, the lab (and now Museum) where Oppenheimer was working in Los Alamos, NM, not to talk about Berlin.
Also, there are some strange coincidences in my life related to WWII.

I don't know if it means anything, but I grew up as a pacifist, I can't even stand people arguing, let alone using weapons of any kind.
If you ever happen to be in one of the above mentioned places, try to survive the emotional shock to remember that there is no end to brutality, as much as there is probably no end to technology.
Certainly, once we destroy everything, there will only be sticks and stones.

Cutchogue's English Past



The Old House in the Village Green

After the little disappointment for not being able to see with my eyes  what's left of Fort Corchaug - now property of the Peconic Land Trust - I moved to the other historic spot of Cutchogue, where the English house stands.

This house was built in Southold in 1640 - and is therefore the oldest English style house in the State of New York - to be moved to Cutchogue in 1660.
I have written in a previous post about my fascination for the history of some of the villages in the North Fork. 
Not only am I a big lover of things east, here in the little village of Cutchogue I found an incredible concentration of what is the history of Long Island, of the US but also a  little piece of world history: starting with the American Indians, to proceed with the English settlers, other immigrants from Eastern European countries, Italians...and one well known scientist who had - it seems we are never able to learn from our past! - to leave the Old Continent because of his religious and political views.



to be continued...

Cutchogue - a Dive Into History

After writing a post about the beaches, I knew there was a part of me that wasn't completely satisfied.
Truth is that I am a very curious person and my first time in Cutchogue was NOT driven by the search for a nice beach. That just happened.

In fact, what I was looking for were the rests of an old ruin, namely that of Fort Corchaug: the gathering place for the Corchaug, one of the Algonquian tribes, which lived on Long Island before the English settlers set foot in the East End (in the mid 17th Century) and which was decimated either by weapons or disease.

Even though I am not an expert, I find Native American history very fascinating.
Sure it has been a succession of genocide and killings in the past. And in the present it is characterized by a difficult struggle in order to keep alive minorities with their traditions and laws, without creating a group of individuals isolated from a society that - in turn - doesn't recognize nor respect these traditions and laws.

Anyway, if you are interested in knowing more about Fort Corchaug, I suggest you read this article about its history and the cross-cultural history of Cutchogue and Long Island in general.

In Southold you will also find the Southold Indian Museum dedicated to the Algonquian Indians. It has a nice section with traditional toys (which my kids really loved!).

Another must read about the Algonquian people on Long Island today is the book "We are still alive" by John A. Strong.


Cutchogue - beaching around...



View of the Bay from the New Suffolk Park








Houses in Cutchogue are very pretty, I am totally envious...

Sweet memories of my childhood are almost all related to summers spent at the beach (back in Italy).
My nose memory recalls the smell of sunscreen, granita alla menta (crushed ice with mint syrup), watermelon, seaweed...
Growing up, the thing became a little wilder, with a "gang" of cousins my age, poetry, bonfires, the guy with the guitar and the dark eyes, a good amount of fun and very little sleep.

Now, sleep has become more important and I can do without the guitar guy, but one thing didn't change:

I still like sitting on the sand and staring at the horizon. Don't need anything special (although crosswords would be a fantastic companion), just to let the thoughts float.
This kind of pastime, which is close relative with inner peace and absentmindedness, is something I am always looking forward to.
Why?Because now I am a mom who's taking care of two kids who are, hopefully, having their fun.

Before the fun begins, I have to wake up early to prepare some lunch, snacks, collect toys, sunscreen, hats, bathing suites and so on, but it makes me very happy when I find a nice spot where everybody is having a good time.

One of these places is in Cutchogue, in the town of Southold. It's a quiet, clean and very relaxed place.
The little playground from which one can enter the beach is perfect for a shady rest or a picnic (yes, there are some tables!)

Of course you can also meet some nice friends there...

 
who knows if the duck ever turned into a princess after the kiss?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Design Connections


Admittedly, I love design and home design magazines.
But this one is more than just about design; in fact the cover is by a friend of mine, Elena, who - hopefully - will be visiting New York in October.

I haven't seen her in ages, but I definitely connect her with a positive moment of my life, having a good time during (and after) school.
And also with a special sketch (she was always good in drawing) of me and my beloved one (better looking than in real life of course!) engaged in a kiss,  subtitled "I need to do some experiment", as the philosopher Hume would say.
That was hanging on the classroom's wall for a while, triggering some interesting question from teachers!
Do you remember that, Elena?

btw HAPPY  BIRTHDAY!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Berliner Schnauze, mon amour!

Talking to my friend Ilka, a German girl my age whom I consider part of my family, I always have to complain about how I am pissed and mad at people in Berlin. She always agrees.

By now I know enough nice and friendly people and I like them  very much, but there is always the "public place experience" which leaves me - almost everyday - in discomfort.
People complain a lot. Doors do not get opened for you (me, usually pushing a stroller and carrying more than one bag), nobody gives you his or her seat in the train, queues are not respected and if you ask for an information, most probably you will receive a bad look.
Let's don't talk about kids: someone would always tell you they are too loud or would give some unwanted suggestion - and if it comes from a man, I can tell you I get totally upset!!!

So, with all the pretty things to see and do there are, the one I never missed is this attitude.
The sources of which are still obscure to me; is it the stress of being always on time?The perfectionism?Or is it pure selfishness?

I know at this point I would make my German readers unhappy, but I believe it is time to change!What about a friendly smile?What about a more positive state of mind?

This, believe it or not, can make the difference in one's life.

My husband, himself a born Berliner (but generally a lot friendlier than the stereotype described above) would always tell me to complain directly to the people who cause my unhappiness, but - as in the best cases of bad communication between man and woman - while I would try to make him feel sympathy for my dissatisfaction, he would get angry because I don't do anything to solve the problem.

Point is that, apart from being myself, kind and caring and smiling, I can't do much to solve the problem, aside from having these long dialogues with Ilka and - if in total despair - yell something like "go to hell", revealing that my inability to pronounce the letter H at the beginning of words is not because I am a sweet French girl, but rather an angry Italian one.