I call myself a “flipper” because I move from my East End world to my “up island” world, living on the city border. My heart is in both places, and on Sunday, I touched both.
On the sunny, bright and warm morning, Todd Shapiro and I had breakfast on the outside patio of Eckart’s Luncheonette, a landmark in the Westhampton Beach community serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
I had never met the owners behind the sign until Todd began talking with what turned out to be the grand dame of the Eckart family: 95-year-old Shirley Eckart — who is still driving!
I loved how she was smartly dressed in a purple print top standing with an almost matching purple print cane. Her welcoming smile enchanted me as she spoke about her life living above the “store,” located just off the traffic circle on Mill Road.
Shirley shared how she met her husband, who was born above what was once a bar and grill, when she lived in East Hampton. Her husband’s family bought the free-standing building in 1911 and a family member has worked there ever since.
Shirley’s daughter Dee works the kitchen with her daughter Danielle, so it’s a true multi-generational family affair. I felt the friendliness upon entering the old-fashioned environment, which feels and looks like the decades-old place it is.
One wall holds racks of old Life magazines and objects the family has collected over the years. I really felt the history with every step inside the space, which has a long, ice cream parlor-style counter with stools and wooden tables.
I walked through the restaurant to sit outside, because during the COVID-19 pandemic, their contiguous parking lot was divided up to make an outdoor cafe with tables sporting umbrellas. It was the perfect place for a perfectly prepared old-fashioned breakfast!
Then I was off, going “up island” to watch my grandchildren play in their individual flag football games.
Although I love being in the Hamptons, I miss being so close to my marvelous kids. With all of our busy lives, if they can’t come to me, I go to them!
It was a perfect day to be a spectator sitting on the sidelines as Morgan and then Blake played their hearts out. Sadly, Blake injured his leg, but it didn’t stop his being on the winning side, as was Morgan.
So joy reigned. I don’t know who was happier — me or them!
There’s something about love that warms my heart more than anything else.