ERNEST R. MALER ESQ.
Of The Law Firm of Maler & Maler Patchogue, NY
Caretakers Son & Caddy At The Original 9 Hole Bellport Golf Course
Word reached me this morning via Marty VanLith that Ernie Maler passed away on New Years Eve 2005. Ernie would of been 101 in April. I didn't meet him until he was 99 and that was via a video tape that Marty made of Ernie, and several other Brookhaven - Bellport area whippersnappers Bud Corwin, Dick Richardson and Bob Lyons in April of 2004.
Marty arranged this oral history session taping for the Post Morrow Foundation in Brookhaven Hamlet. PMF chronicles the history of Brookhaven, Southaven and Bellport areas. I played a small role in this taping by prompting Marty with my inquiries about the era that the Knapps lived in Bellport and especially asking about the original Bellport Golf Course and Yacht Club of which J. P. Knapp played a major role in creating in 1899. The history that Ernie gave that day chronicles Bellport, Hegerman and Patchogue from 1896 when his mother and father moved there from Little Italy in NYC up through the 1950's. He had an incredible memory for details and even though he didn't know the Knapps , ( they had left Bellport by 1912 when Ernie was just 7 years old) his tales of life back then and his own personal life story is a true treasure. I would hope that copies of this tape will also get archived in the Bellport and Patchogue library because history as seen through the eyes of one who lived it is priceless.
BELLPORT GOLF LINKS Circa 1905-10
A rare color view of the course Ernie would follow two of his older brothers onto as a caddy. Caddys had to be at least 12 years and Ernie wasted no time in going to work there in April of 1917.
LAD OF THE LINKS
Circa 1902 This unidentified caddy could well be on of the Maler Brothers.
Ernie was one of 12 Maler Children. 11 boys and one girl "KATE" who according to Ernie ruled the roost. Although he spoke and returned to speaking about his time on "The Nine Hole Course" and the "rich people" who played there, repeatedly through the taping, Ernie's recollections of going to school in Patchogue, the trolleys, his father working as a caretaker for the Durkee Estate in East Patchogue for $1.50 a day , Going shopping in Patchogue, Going to law school at NYU in the 1920's the Klan on Long Island! and just life in general in the early 20th Century was remarkable. One of the highwater marks for me was his story of watching Lawrence B. Sperry "Gyro" himself tieing up his hydro-aeroplane at the Bellport Yacht Club dock and flying off in it of course. This would of been around 1917 when Gyro was spending time in Mastic with Dodi Knapp's 3rd Aero Squadron Ernie's older brother Charlie who was also a caddy was at Camp Upton in 1917 with Walter T. Shirley and Irving Berlin and a few other guys........
THANK YOU ERNIE ....... YOU WILL BE MISSED SIR