Chapter 33 – My Waterfall

I do not know many people who have their own waterfall. For almost twenty years, I did. I didn’t own the actual deed to it, but it was “mine” all the same. I have many memories of that waterfall, but only a few photographs. My buddy called me after reading some chapters of love after I was posting them on social networks. He was a model, as was his girlfriend. The very first day I introduced them, they stole my waterbed and kept it for three weeks. When they came up for air, they got engaged and later married. They have kids now and have spent their lives together. We often laugh about the times they joined me at my waterfall. The reason we laugh is that it was on a very expensive piece of private property. I met the owner when I was lost, trespassing on his property without knowing it. We became friends. He said I could come back anytime I wanted. I went to that private waterfall for almost twenty years, until long after I found out he sold the property. That same waterfall became a robust local tourist attraction. But when it was just vacant land I would camp there, photograph models and fish where it met the Delaware River, lower down the mountainside. I even brought my children camping there when they were very young. Too young to remember it now.

Before I brought my friends and children to my waterfall, I would go there to take photographs. It was a few hour drive, north of Port Jervis, on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. I would drive along the river for about an hour and then hang a left at the railroad tracks, where they crossed the river on one of those, marginally safe-looking, bridges. I’d hang a quick right at a clearing in the trees. There was no real road, just dirt and gravel. Unless you knew it was there, you were not likely to find it.

Over the years, I probably brought a hundred different models to that waterfall. Often, I brought groups of models. One time I was there with my wife and another couple. The same couple I introduced who took my waterbed over for weeks. It rained heavily in the mountains. The roar of rushing water woke us just prior to the flash flood that wiped out our campsite. At that point I realized how dangerous camping on a waterfall could be. The flat area, where the tents could be pitched, was only ten feet from a fifty-foot drop.

I was playing guitar and singing almost every night. At the time, I enjoyed playing and singing very much. What I loved most about camping, was that my playing very often turned into sing–alongs. Everyone would join in. Herb was almost always present at these gatherings. There was something very primitive and tribal about camping on a waterfall. I would have loved to live there. Log Cabin, camera, fishing and of course a soul mate to enjoy it with. Yep, always dreamed of a simple life in the woods, until I would have to chop wood in the freezing winters!

In any case, for many years I had my very own waterfall. It was easy to fall in love there and coincidentally; it was only a short ride to where my parents went on their honeymoon and my father took me fishing as a boy. I always thought of Washington Lake and the Delaware Water Gap as my home away from home. It was where I would go for my quiet, Milky Way lit vacations, hoping each time to discover my next chapter of love.

I shared many romantic nights under the stars, by that waterfall, laying on the rocks covered with nothing but a blanket, singing in total privacy. Well not total privacy, as typically a woman was beside me. I probably played more guitars and sang more songs on that waterfall than I did anywhere else.

The mornings there almost always meant a freezing bath in the river, and later, if I was lucky, a smallmouth bass or pike on the end of my fishing pole. I loved to smoke fish and was very into the outdoors. That’s why when I had my home in Centerport I loved it so much. It was like being upstate while still living on Long Island. I just didn’t get around to building a waterfall. I did build a Koi pond and a seventy-five-foot staircase made of stone. I also built a three-hundred-foot wall made of almost a hundred thousand pounds of stone. I did that to try to build my heart muscles as well as increase the value of my property. I was always building something when I owned a house. For the most part it became necessary physical therapy.

I first met her on the streets of NYC and we shot a few times. She was the actress who introduced me to Centerport, even though I never told my wife that. I didn’t want my wife to associate Centerport with one of my former lovers. She was one of the cutest models I ever photographed. She was also one of my most memorable adventures. She went on to make many movies for Disney and modeled all over the world. Our first meeting was on Seventh Avenue. We stopped dead in our tracks and just stared into each other’s eyes, almost as if we were the leads in a romance movie. Everything seemed as if it was moving in slow motion as she walked directly towards me. We stopped, inches from each other, never once blinking or taking our eyes off one another.

The first thing I said to her was, “what agency are you with?” It wasn’t a line. I simply had to know, before I stepped to the side and let her pass. I was in a trance and didn’t know what else to say. She answered; “Pretty People.” I knew the agency, as well as the owner. It was a legit agency. She took out her portfolio right there on the street. The pics were more than sexy. She was half naked in the lingerie shots. She seemed more than a little interested, so I invited her for lunch. We had baked clams and one of my favorite cocktails, Bloody Mary’s. We then went back to my apartment on 57th street and within minutes we were making out and tearing each other’s clothing off. It was over in a flash. I was young and she was hot, so what could I do. She didn’t want to do it again, so I offered to take her home. I drove her back to Centerport. That was my introduction to the area. I fell in Love with it as much as my waterfall.

The first time I photographed her it was in Cold Spring Harbor at a park and then later at a hot tub rental place in Huntington she introduced me to. You could rent a private room with a hot tub for an hour or two. It was inexpensive and private. We took photographs in one of the suites and fooled around again. She teased me until just before our time was up. She knew how to get what she wanted; photographs, sex, pretty much anything with that beautiful body and innocent looking eyes.

When I took her to the waterfall the first time, we were alone. We made love under a full moon, all night. It was summer and the waterfall was almost dry. We made love as the water trickled by us. It was magical. We could hear the crickets and the bull-frogs. The most beautiful part of it was, I could see her and the moon reflected in the glass-like pool of water on the flat rocks of the waterfall. It was enchanting. So was she. It wasn’t soon afterwards that I became quite possessive of her, even though I was sleeping with many other models. There seemed to be an endless stream of beautiful women stalking and seducing me. I never really understood why. She had a boyfriend in Centerport. I found out later they were engaged. She never spoke about him, but it was apparent that he existed. She didn’t try to hide it and alluded to the fact she was ending it, but had to do so slowly for personal reasons. About a year later, we went back to the same waterfall, after they broke up. We brought a male and female model with us. I knew on the way there that something changed between us. She jumped the guy that night and the girl jumped me, literally right next to each other. We shared two romantic nights by the waterfall, but only one of them was together. It was strange listening to them moan while I was inside another woman, who I didn’t care too much about, but who was making a play for me for weeks prior to the shoot.

I don’t know how many people can say they had their own waterfall and were fortunate enough to make love on it. To this day I still want to go back. I hope it is still there. I’m sure there is a future chapter of love, that would like to join me. Many years later, after not seeing her for decades, I ran into her father at church. It was the one they invited me to the first time I met her family. I had been a guest of her family several times. Her father told me that my photographs helped jumpstart her career and that she enjoyed making the Disney films that followed.

I have not heard from or spoken to her since. I don’t believe she would be happy to read this chapter, as I believe later in life, she became a very religious woman and abandoned the entertainment industry. Quite possibly because she slept her way into many powerful peoples’ hearts. But, she was a very special chapter of love to me. Coincidentally, almost my entire family now lives in Centerport. As for my waterfall, it’s been about fifteen years since I’ve been back but I will one day search for it. How quickly life passes us by, it seems like only yesterday we were holding hands looking up at the beautiful Milky Way on a starry night.