Since Hurricane Irene visited New York... I am relieved to report that Cherry Grove is still there, but the phone lines are bad and my cousins are busy moving back to Manhattan. I have no other details. As I was saying... It's hard to explain how I felt when I first visited Cherry Grove 15 years ago. Then I found this charming graphic by Fire Island resident and artist Susan Ann Thornton titled "Fire Island Boardwalk." It's from her series of children's books called Adventures of Baby Cat in Cherry Grove and it captures my perception of the ethos and spirit of this heavenly little summer place.  It's magic transformed me back then, temporarily, and it did, again, a few weeks ago. As conflicted I am right now about my body and my eating, in Cherry Grove, I found myself wandering about in shorts and halter tops and engaging easily with lots of people, especially those with dogs. My psychiatric 'history' doesn't exist. Nobody's does. People let each other "be" and this total acceptance and inclusivity is utterly liberating.
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