Sheltered Islander

Sheltered Islander: Relivin’ the Good Ol’ Days

Shelter Island Historical Society recently had an event at Haven’s Barn. The theme was “Shelter Island in the 1930s.”

“Sally, let’s go to the 1930s dance. We’ll wear ’30s-style clothes. Ever see the classic movie Dinner at Eight? All the clothes are unstructured and drapey.”

“Drapey is good…”

“It hid the fact that after Coco Chanel got women out of big dresses and corsets, there was nothing to hold things in place until the bra was invented in the ’40s.”

“Bra-less is not good. In fact, at our age, it could be dangerous. We could turn too fast and clear a table.”

“You’re right. We’d better put on all the usual rigging, the last thing we want is the natural look.”

“You know, Joyce, Prohibition ended in 1933. Everybody was making bathtub gin. Why don’t we make some. We could carry it in flasks, in our stockings. I’ll find the recipe on Google.”

“Great idea, we’ll be so authentic!”

“Okay, Joyce, recipe says we need a gallon jug, alcohol, juniper berries and orange peels. It takes a week to brew, so it’ll be ready for the party.”

“Do you think a week is enough time?”

“Sure, it’ll be nice and fresh. Where can we find juniper berries?”

“My neighbor has juniper bushes, I’ll call him now. Hello? Mike? It’s Joyce. Listen, can I pick the berries off your junipers? To make bathtub gin. For the 1930s shindig…It’s Sally Flynn’s idea…yeah, I know, but she’s a good kind of crazy…the party’s a week away…oh, c’mon, it’s not gonna burn through the flasks…make sure we use grain alcohol, not rubbing alcohol, why? …because we’ll go blonde? …oh, blind, we’ll go blind…how come you know all this about homemade hooch? …your grandfather was a rum-runner in the Hamptons? …okay, then we’ll see you there. Thanks, Mike.”

The night of the event:

“Sally, these outfits hide everything. Let’s try the natural look, no bra, no Spanx.”

“Okay, Joyce, we look in the mirror together, on three. One, two, three!”

“Oh, God, Sal, this is just sad. There’s no way you or I would’ve left our houses if we lived in the ’30s.”

“There would’ve been an order to shoot us on sight.”

“On what charge?”

“Violation of the female form. This might be a good time to test our gin.”

“I guess we should try a sip, Sal, I’ll drink, you drive. Alright, to your health and l’chaim!”

“Hold on, Joyce, I’ll get you some water. Here you go.”

“Mike might’ve been right, this needs to age more, like a few years I think. Mike’s right, this is gonna burn through the flasks, our stockings, our legs….”

“Oh, it’ll be fine for one night. I’m filling the flasks.”

At the venue:

“Mike! You made it. Yeah, Sally and me both have flasks. No, you can’t have them! You can have a sip. C’mon, we’re not going to kill anybody, you’re so dramatic.”

“I’ll get you a cup. What do you think? I told you it wouldn’t taste like keroscene. It’s nice, fresh gin, it’s organic, what else do you want?”

“Have you actually tasted it?”

“Of course I tasted it. It burned a little. Okay, it burned a lot, but that’s what makes it authentic! Hey, it’s vegan.”

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