Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When Eddy and I moved to The Hamptons, we had no idea we would be living next door to an eccentric fiction writer, a ninety-eight year old psychic, an ex-con, and a lake with a mystery of its own. Supposedly, a once famous Broadway singer/dancer drowned herself in the lake, after a bullet ended her dancing career. Eddy and I have never seen her dance along the water’s edge, as others claimed to have, but on occasion, we hear a woman’s voice serenade an otherwise quiet night.
The fiction writer’s name is Jack. We feel sorry for him, because he’s trying to get published, but he gets nothing but rejections. He asked Eddy and me if he could write stories about us and submit them to a magazine. We said okay, only because we didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He won’t let us read anything he’s written about us until he post it, something about spoiling his creativity. Jack assured us his stories will always be in good taste.
The neighbor on the other side of Jack is a ninety-eight year old psychic. Zelda still gets around, but she doesn’t drive anymore. She owns an old car Jack calls the Phantom. It was manufactured by a company called Rolls-Royce. Jack volunteers to drive her wherever she needs to go, and occasionally he or Leon will get her old car out and take her for a drive.She is one of the most amazing people we have ever met. When our neighborhood gets together down at the Yacht Club every Spring, she predicts the future of the lucky person whose name is drawn from a hat. So far, she hasn’t drawn mine, nor Eddy’s. I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for us. She amazes everyone with her predictions and she has a good sense of humor.
The Yacht Club has thirty-one members and we meet in a small building next to the private lake that’s walking distance from the twenty-two cabins that border the lake on the north side. Surrounded by another 220 acres of trees, evergreens, and wild flowers, The Hamptons Mobile Home Park and Yacht Club is secluded from view until you pass the gate that that marks the entrance to our little piece of Heaven. There is only one road into our private community. It is gravel and turns off the main two-lane highway that leads into the nearest town. No signs are posted and you have to know where you’re going, or you’ll think you’re lost soon after you turn off the paved highway. The Hamptons is private and there's a waiting list to get into it. You have to write a letter explaining why you want to live there. A committee of seven makes the decision. Eddy and I got in because Jack vouched for us. He didn’t know us at the time, but later said he had a good feeling about the young couple who wrote they wanted to live close to real people with an interesting history.
You must be a resident of our little community to be a member of The Yacht Club, and every member of the club must own a yacht. Jack’s yacht, THE USS SIEVE, is an old rowboat about twelve feet long. We’ve seen Jack and his wife, Linda row out on cold winters nights. They’ll drop anchor and lie down all bundled up to watch the stars for hours. He was kind enough to give us his old boat, his first yacht as he called it. It’s an old multicolored eight-foot aluminum flat-bottom boat with no motor and no oars. We keep it on the bank the vast majority of the time.
Eddy works for my father at the Co-Op store in town. I’m a middle-grade school teacher’s assistance and work part time as a lifeguard at the city pool during the summer months. I’m taking night courses so I can become a classroom teacher. Eddy and I don’ t have much, and things are a little tight right now, but we hope to be able to move into one of the bigger cabins some day. Our small home has a big front porch and a small back porch. That helps a lot and gives Eddy a place to store his traps and tools. We have a garden beside our house so Eddy has to catch critters and take them elsewhere. I won’t let him kill anything. So far, he’s been nice about having to carry them off.

All of the trailers, expect for the one Zelda lives in, were removed years ago and replaced by cabins. Each cabin was custom built during the eighties. We don’t know who owns the mobile home park and yacht club. Jack told us it’s someone who lives in The Hamptons, but it’s a secret and he isn’t allowed to say who it is. When we got a month behind on our rent our first summer, no one threatened to evict us. We did receive a letter that read please pay when you can, or mow around the south side of the lake during the month.
Eddy borrowed a tractor and mower from my father. He cut the grass around the lake that July and really cleaned the area up. Everyone thanked him and several people brought food over. The following month, we were able to pay catch up on our rent. A few days later, we received a check in the mail. It was for three hundred dollars. The note said for services rendered at the Yacht Club. It was drawn on a bank in New York and signed by someone we never heard of.
Eddy thinks Jack owns The Hamptons, but I don’t.  I’m pretty sure Zelda owns it and all the land around us. Jack and Linda live in a large cabin with a beautiful back deck overlooking the lake, but he said that doesn’t mean he’s the rich one in the bunch.
 Zelda, on the other hand, lives in an antique trailer with a human hand, palm out, painted on the side of it. The trailer looks brand new, but it’s not. It dates back to the thirties or forties. Someone said it costs over eighty thousand dollars to refurbish it to its original condition. According to Zelda, she’s made a living out of it for over sixty-four years. Jack says Zelda sleeps more than she’s awake. She once predicted she’d live to be a 102, and not one day longer. That was fifty-two years ago. Diagnosed with lung cancer, the doctor gave her less than six months. She walked out of the hospital, quit smoking, and climbed to the top of La Dame Blanche, a mountain 15,782 feet above sea level, to die with dignity at the age of forty-six. After spending five days and four nights alone on the mountain, she came back down and said death wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The tumor started shrinking and eventually disappeared. It’s all documented. Jack showed it to us one night. Although married five times, Zelda only gave birth to one child, and that was after she came down from La Dame Blanche. I sometimes wonder if Jack is that child, but he claims to a lot older than fifty.
Jack and Eddy drink beer on the back porch on Friday evenings about once a month. Eddy’s father died when he was young and I think he’s adopted Jack as a fill in. Eddy and I were married right out of high school. Eddy appears to be growing up and trying hard to be a good husband. He told me Jack helps him out on things like that. Eddy never opened a door for me until he met Jack. I really like that old fiction writer.
I’ve sought advice from the man a few times myself. At first, it was hard to tell if he was being serious or not. He has a tendency to joke around with you. After a while, I realized he’s always serious when it comes to giving advice to me and Eddy. He can’t predict the future, but he’s sure learned a lot from the past.
Since Jack is writing about us, Eddy and I decided to write about him and our other neighbors. Thank you for reading our blog. I hope you will come back to learn more about our neighbors and our life in The Hamptons.Our names aren't really Eddy and Darla, but Jack asked me not use our real ones. Something about him and Leon being on the lam. He was probably kidding about that.