Erode to Knowledge

Leatherman has spent many hours looking for material at local historical societies and at documents from volunteers who have lived in the Hamptons their whole lives and have seen the coast erode before their eyes. Or from people who think they have useful information.

Last week, that was William Swan, an 83-year-old attorney who owns quite a bit of property in Quogue. He has some maps that he thinks Leatherman might be interested in seeing. "That's what he says," Leatherman says. "I guess we'll have to see."

Leatherman and his aide, Doug Christel, meet up with Swan to look at his papers, but Swan can't immediately locate the material and they all wind up going out to eat.

It turns into a very slow-speed chase after information. "We're not going to get those maps out of him," Leatherman mutters out of Swan's earshot, laughing nervously. "It may take several visits."

Soon Christel departs to report to work at his real paying job at a landscaping company, while Leatherman and Swan sit and talk. Evening falls. They eat lobster for dinner, agreeing to meet again. Yes, the life of a beach scientist can really be tough.

Research Lisa Chamoff

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