Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Love A Fair! But is Heckscher Still Heckscher... or Reese?

Summer 2003: My old soul is not quite 2 years old but she's one of those... well... old souls. She knows and can do stuff that is waaaay beyond her 2 1/2 years. I love taking her to festivals and carnivals and any other great people watching events. So, this day, I'm on my way to Hecksher Park for a country fair. There are two Heckscher Parks on Long Island. One in Huntington, which is all the way north of here. And, one in Bohemia, which is pretty far east of here. The country fair is in the north country... so off we go. What should be a 45 minute drive is extended because of Long Island's beach traffic and then further complicated by lack of appropriate signage. You'd think, if you're having a country fair, that you'd hang a sign or two as to WHERE the fair is being held. Needless to say, I drive all over, I ask for directions numerous times, all to no avail. I am in Huntington but cannot, for the life of me, find Heckscher Park.

So I think, perhaps I got the town wrong and it's at the other Heckscher Park. After all, if I was having a country fair, I'd advertise it SOMEWHERE on the roadways in town. After hours of driving to and around Huntington, convinced there's no fair here, I finally head out to Bohemia. Significantly east as the bird flies, on Long Island during the summer it takes a dog's life to actually get there due to the aforementioned beach traffic... One of the many benefits of living on Long Island... the beautiful beaches, I mean... not the traffic (which, in truth, is there all the time we just call it something different for each season). Finally arriving in Bohemia, the man at the booth says, "Sorry, no country fair here. Must be Heckscher Park in Huntington. I can give you really easy directions to get to that park". Thank you but no thank you. I've been driving all morning with my poor little girl who still doesn't know what a country fair is (at least I don't think she does though as it turns out her old soul understood more than I knew at the time). So, I drive away frustrated and headed west... homeward bound. But wait, poor Olivia still has not been to the country fair. Nor out of the car for hours now. So, nearly home, I head south and pit stop at a lovely playground just north of Freeport's Nautical Mile known as Reese Park. We play for hours, enjoying the sun, sea air and playground equipment. We stop off for an ice-cream at the Hershey Ice Cream shop on the Nautical Mile before heading home... And a good time was FINALLY had by all.

Christmas 2004: Olivia gets a pair of guinea pigs as pets. She names one Heckscher after her favorite park... the one in Freeport! You see, that day last year as we drove all over kingdom come looking for a country fair we never found, Olivia caught on that we were looking for Heckscher Park. So, when we landed at Reese Park at the mouth of the Nautical Mile, her almost 2-year- old brain registered the park we finally visited as Heckscher Park. And so it was forever and ever. Until....

June 6, 2009: We're making our annual pilgrimage to the Nautical Mile's Summer Festival being held this weekend (as I said, I love a good fair and this one has the best people watching around... second only to events that happen in The Village). We drive right past Heckscher (Reese) Park looking for a spot near the amusement rides when I hear it, "Huh... MOM! They changed the name of this park! This used to be called Heckscher Park!" At 7, she reads well above the 5th grade level. Yes, my old soul is an avid reader and reads EVERY word on EVERY sign we pass. Needless to say, she didn't miss the sign that said, "Welcome to Reese Park"!

My mother and I were crying we were laughing so hard as I tried to explain that, in fact, this park was never called Heckscher Park... that she mistakenly THOUGHT it was all these years because of that one fateful day in 2003 when we couldn't find the country fair being held in Huntington's Heckscher Park. Olivia was indignant at never being corrected. Me? I'm wondering if that means we would have been calling her guinea pig Reese all this time instead of Heckscher?

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