It was my second visit, and much more interesting than the first, in part because this time we had a docent to tell us the many stories of each part of LongHouse.
He was James Zajac and was exceptionally well informed - not so surprising if you know that he is also a Trustee of the foundation.
The venue was well chosen for a mini-reunion, one of several Wellesley mini-reunions in the run-up to the class's 50th Reunion in 2015-2016.
|James Zajac, our Docent|
and a LongHouse Trustee.
|The Gateway Bell (#4). Susan Ritten-|
house '66 wields the Docent's mallet.
Professor Takaezu was named a Japanese "national treasure" for her work with ceramics before she went to Princeton to teach in Visual Arts for 25 years. She died in 2011 at the lucky (in Asia) age of 88. She won Princeton's three highest awards in the humanities, and an honorary doctorate. One of her students was Brooke Shields, who complied with the course requirement that ceramics students keep their nails short.
|Peter's Pond (#16), Ground Level.|
On the LongHouse map, Peter's Pond is shown in blue but in fact it is almost entirely covered by lily pads and other green plants. The view we had of the pond at ground level is shown at right.
|Alice Tepper Marlin '66 looks at our docent who appears|
giant-like in the Red Garden (#17).
The photo at left captures the effect, but it would be clearer with 3D or with multiple photos showing the change in size as a person walks toward the smaller posts.
Among the sculptures, the story behind Yoko Ono's colors-be-damned life-size Chess Set (#26) was particularly inspiring once the story behind it emerges like Brigadoon from the mist.
If you look at the photo, note there are no black pieces and no black squares on the chess board.
|The Yoko Ono Chess Set (#26) is about half the size of a tennis court. Why no black pieces? Why no black squares?|
Yoko Ono is hammering home the point that war is about establishing identities and territories and then fighting over them.
As soon as we recognize that walk under many different colors - we have many IDs - we can deal with attempts to dehumanize other people based on a single ID that they share.
As soon as we understand that we can share our square, peace is possible.
Easier said than done, but... Imagine.
(Losing the colors, by the way, also happens to be an effective way of waging war by the defenders. If the defenders are out of sight or hard to identify, the attackers don't know what to do. That's what Edward II and Edward III found out when they tried to attack Robert the Bruce's Scotland. The outnumbered Scottish defenders under the "Good Sir James Douglas", as he is known on the Scottish side of the border, melted into the woods. They pursued what they called a "secret war". The musclebound American military machine has been subject to the same quandary in the face of a guerrilla or terrorist enemy that has a hidden identity. Where do we go to punish those responsible if we don't know who they are? Do we "round up the usual suspects"?)
|Torii-like Sculpture in front of Peter's|
Pond (#16), viewed from the terrace
of the Pavilion (#34).
|Features of a Torii.|
We were not permitted to take photos of the interior of the Pavilion (#34), but I was allowed to take a photo of Peter's Pond from the large terrace. It shows the torii-like effect of the two sculptures at that end of the pond.
As one would expect of a famed collector of fabrics, the house has an unusual collection of interesting fabrics - and also ceramics, furniture and other objects.
|The map of LongHouse sculptures and sites, available at the entrance (#3).|
Call the number and instructions for use are provided. Stories about each of the sculptures and other features of LongHouse can be listened to via cell phone.
Each story is linked to the number posted at the site, in front of the sculpture or other feature.
|The Dial-In Docent, available 24/7.|
There were countless different forms of seating, most of which could be utilized for a break in the walk. There is a rest room at the entrance (#3), to which one can return if necessary during one's visit.
Don't miss this gem of a place. It is rated by Trip Advisor as the #1 attraction in East Hampton - but then the Atlantic Ocean is not included in the rating (Main Beach is, and ranks below LongHouse).