Paradise on Long Island by Marc Taub
In 1981, my grandparents Muriel and Paul, along with aunts, uncles and other assorted family members, purchased the Sunny Atlantic Beach Club. The rest, as they say, is history. My time at the club can essentially be broken up into three separate periods: terrorizing the members as a little kid, serving them as a cabana/locker attendant, and finally, watching my own children have the time of their lives.
My first year at the Club, I was only six. What I remember is playing with friends, swimming in the pool and ocean, having birthday parties and spending time with my family. A huge part of my experience involved Mace Teischer, or “Uncle Mace”, as thousands of kids referred to him. Every Saturday and Sunday, Uncle Mace led Arts and Crafts, and Fun and Games. The art projects that this man came up with were a kid’s dream. In Fun and Games, we played steal the bacon, knock hockey and kickball. I loved every minute it. The highlight of the weekend was the Treasure Hunt. Uncle Mace would toss a bag of change into the pool, and the children would dive in after the “treasure”. Nowadays people are more safety-conscious. But for us back then this was genuine treasure: money for ice cream on a hot day, or to fill up our piggy banks.
As long as I could remember, I wanted to work at the club. I finally got my chance in the summer of 1989, when I was fourteen. I spent the next nine summers taking orders, dragging chairs to the beach and playing with the member’s children. I did almost every job over those nine years, including taking care of lockers and working as a cabana boy on the Ocean Front and Pool Court. Some of the members still say I was the best cabana boy they ever had! One benefit of my grandfather’s owning the Club was being able to get my friends jobs, making it even more fun to work there. On slow days we would play baseball or volleyball on the beach and make runs for pizza and subs. I learned so much from working at the Club—customer service and time management; financial independence and conflict resolution. While I always had my grandfather as a sounding board, over time when issues cropped up I was able to manage them on my own.
In 1998 I got married, and life restricted summers at the Beach Club. I went to graduate school in Philadelphia, moved to Florida and then to Memphis. A few dispiriting summers, I even missed getting to the Club at all. But my latest chapter has been watching my own children enjoy many of the same things there that I did growing up. For one week every year, they take over the club and run around like I once did. They play and play and play until they drop. The scary thing for me is that some of the little kids that I took care of when I worked at the club are now taking care of my own family!
As many know, I have a lot of family. I am just one of Paul and Muriel’s nine grandchildren. Growing up at the beach club afforded me the opportunity to spend summers with so many of them. Most, if not all of us, worked at the club. Every Sunday morning we would have a bagel feast, and most weekends we would have dinner together. These meals included my immediate and extended family and other adopted family members we picked up along the way. Now, a new generation has picked up the mantle. Already two of Muriel and Paul’s great-grandchildren and Eileen and Joe’s grandchildren have worked at the club, and there are plenty more yet to come. Seth, my oldest son, will be taking his spot on the line in 2021.
I grew up at Sunny Atlantic Beach Club in more ways than I can even comprehend. I have played there, worked there, and now I watch my children play there too. I feel wealthy with all I have experienced and been a part of through the years there. I truly would not be the person I am without Sunny Atlantic Beach Club, a paradise on Long Island!