Geismar met with Bill Toedter at the North Fork Environmental Council’s office in Mattituck before the group’s board of directors monthly meeting. Toedter has a house in Southold but his grandfather owned a house in Mattituck, which is where Toedter’s father grew up and he has fond memories. Geismar talked to him about his connection to Mattituck.
Community association: President, North Fork Environmental Council
What are your memories of Mattituck as a kid?
They stem from my father, really. There was a pharmacy on Love Lane. It’s Barth’s Pharmacy now, I think. My father was a soda jerk there when he was a kid -- that’s the 20s or 30s. For me, there’s just a lot of family history here.
I remember we used to take the Sunfish out on the sound and there would be these beautiful bunkfish and porpuses coming up all around the boat. That’s one of the things we lost over the years, just these great schools of fish that used to be everywhere. Hopefully, we’ll see that again.
What made you stay connected to the area?
The natural beauty. I have a great appreciation for it. The cottage I live in is on the beach. I developed a love of marine biology early on from living out here and I ended up going to college for it. I didn’t stick with the major, but discovering that as an interest was a guiding light for me.
What did you end up doing instead?
When President Reagan was elected, funding for marine biology sort of dried up. I thought, ‘Well, I want a job when I get out of college, so maybe this isn’t the best thing.’ I went into economics and business, and now I’m a business communication consultant.
What are your favorite things about Mattituck?
The thing I love about Mattituck is the small town atmosphere it’s maintained. There’s so much here that is the same as it was many, many years ago.
It’s also a place that’s on the edge between progress and building but maintains that natural beauty.
How would you define the character of this community?
Each hamlet in the Town of Southold has it’s own sense of being. Mattituck is still very much a place where people really believe in fundamentals basics and an aspect of life and natural beauty out here that they work to maintain.